Relax, because as quick as everyone is ready to put this team in last place, with every major news outlet smashing everything about the team, it is time to remind the world that this can still be a quality team. The Yankees still have really great players; the team may be long in the tooth, but another way to look at them would be as an experienced team.
A major topic going into Spring Training has been the health of Derek Jeter. Jeter is the rock of the Yankees, he is their leader and having him healthy, leading his team against hated rival the Boston Red Sox on April 1, is bigger this year than in any other.
Jeter is the leader of this team, the captain, the heart and soul of the pinstripes. Having a team give a player the title of captain, in any sport, is a special honor; being the captain of the Yankees is iconic. Few men have carried the title and with it comes a large amount of pressure, not only because he is the captain, but he is the captain of the New York Yankees. The great Yankee captains before him set the foundation and all are legends and some even Hall of Famers. They were all amazing players, but Jeter is the best Yankee captain ever.
It isn’t the numbers or titles he helped win, it isn’t even totally about baseball, it is the man he is that is so important to the Yankees. Recently, it seems many have questioned the one area about Jeter that seems implausible to question – his heart.
The Yankees as a whole have been under the microscope more than usual recently, because of a foolish mistake made by a foolish, egotistical man. In addition, the Yankees have already been given no chance this year, as if it is a given that they will just lay down and be horrible, without a pitch even being thrown yet in Spring Training.
It is one thing to question the Yankees, for the age of the team, the lack of quality off-season moves, but to question Jeter; really, question the man that is everything right about baseball, the man MLB needs now more than ever, especially in a time when there is so much wrong with the game is criminal.
Jeter has accomplished so much in his 18 seasons, with the Yankees, one would think no one could question his ability between the lines, but oddly many have.
Often, people say the 13-time All-Star, five-time World Series Champion, is overrated; that comment is so ridiculous it is funny, but it is understandable because with success comes those who are what many refer to as “haters”, add in the fact he plays for the best franchise in MLB history and there will be critics.
What is very bothersome is when Jeter was batting over .300 last season, and having one of the best years of his career, it was actually brought up on a nationally televised game that maybe he was using PEDs. With MLB needing a star that performs on the field as well as off and does it the right way, no matter what team a fan roots for, how could anyone say this about Jeter? The only answer is people disliking the fact he has been so successful or know nothing about the man.
Jeter is everything that is right about the game of baseball; he loves the game, he respects the game, he goes out every night and gives 100 percent, plays hurt and is the leader in a locker room full of millionaires.
Jeter is coming off an injury he supposedly suffered in the playoffs, but if anyone watched him play, they could see he had been playing hurt for a while. Jeter went out and put his body on the line to do everything he could to help his team win, until he literally had to be carried off the field.
One thing that no Yankee fan has to worry about is Jeter giving up; he will fight to the end. So before fans jump off the Yankees bandwagon, remember who is the captain of this ship; as long as No. 2 is playing, the Yankees always have a chance.
Nik Swartz can also be followed on Twitter https://twitter.com/Sweetnesz13