The day every New York Yankees fan hoped would never come finally arrived today as Derek Jeter announced that the 2014 season will be his last. The 20-year veteran will join a list of recent MLB retirees in Chipper Jones, Todd Helton and Mariano Rivera to play his entire career with one team.
However, none of the aforementioned players managed to go out on top. Jeter is of a different breed. It is in Jeter’s DNA to write history in Hollywood style, and the stars seem to be aligning for him in 2014.
Looking at the roster that has been assembled this offseason, it just makes sense why the Yankees’ front office spent the amount that they did. Jeter has a knack for producing fairytales, and the organization is playing that card though the free agents they brought in.
They surrounded Jeter with team players and people who do nothing but work tirelessly, and it began with Brian McCann. McCann’s persona fits in perfectly with what is takes to be successful in New York. Now with Jeter leaving, it makes sense that McCann is there for his final season to see first-hand how the captain runs his team as he could very well be the next Yankees leader.
Carlos Beltran is the next puzzle piece. Not only did the organization bring in arguably the best postseason hitter of all-time, but the Yankees got a man who has yearned to play in the Bronx his whole life and admires Jeter as much as anyone in the league. Beltran will be key to lifting the Captain to a sixth and final championship.
Finally, Alex Rodriguez is gone. Reports have stated that Jeter and Rodriguez have texted in recent days, hinting that they still hold some kind of friendship. In the end, Jeter should be elated that A-Rod was suspended as his absence only helps write the end to Jeter’s story. The distractions won’t be there all season, and the team will be clean if they are to win the World Series.
A final picture of Jeter and A-Rod winning a ring in the captain’s final game wouldn’t feel right. Their relationship never seemed stable and the focus of this year deserves to be on Jeter, not A-Rod.
The team as it sits right now is incomplete on paper, but it is exactly what Jeter needs to finish his historic career with an exclamation. He is surrounded by players who were brought in not only on their ability, but because of their desires. I believe Brian Cashman and Hal Steinbrenner knew what they were gearing up for when this offseason began, and they specifically built this 2014 team around Jeter’s character.
Everything the 39-year-old shortstop has accomplished was always done with class, reverence and drama; which is why his retirement announcement makes the 2014 Yankees even more dangerous.