Monday, August 13, 2012

DEREK JETER: ROYALTY IN ROYALLY MESSED UP SPORTS WORLD


Nobody has really paid much attention to Derek Jeter this year. He's hitting .318 at the age
of 38, but has gone largely unnoticed in a season dominated by the wonder kid, Mike Trout.
The Yankees captain is marching towards another 200-hit season, yet, has been camouflaged
by a flurry of no-hitters and perfect games. As others like Alex Rodriquez, Mariano Rivera,
and Andy Petitte fall down around him, it is Jeter who remains standing, the jewel of the most
spectacular franchise in professional sports. But for some reason, Jeter's star is hardly shining
the brightest.

Perhaps, many of us have become unimpressed by greatness or fail to truly appreciate it. In
this Facebook,  Twitter, and Boo-Yeah ESPN world, its easy to become enamored with what
is trending, whether it be one great catch or a spine-tingling walk-off home run. We don't seem
to appreciate what a player has done over the course of a 20-year career, but rather what an
athlete has done over the last 24-hours. I know, that's what our A.D.D. society has become.


Just over a year ago, Yankee fans thought Jeter's bat was toast and were calling for the
franchise to acquire Jose Reyes to replace him. How'd that work out? This year, those same
fans have gone radio silent as the veteran shortstop has been remarkably consistent,
tying Hank Aaron's record of 17 consecutive seasons with at least 150 or more hits. In his
next game, Jeter will likely catch and surpass Nap Lajoie for 13th on the all-time hits list.
By the time the season is over, Jeter should vault over Eddie Murray (3,255) and Willie Mays
(3,283) to move into the 11th spot on the all-time list. Jeter will have more hits in 18 seasons
than Mays had in 22 and Murray had in 21.

Jeter enters Monday's night game 1,016 hits away from breaking the all-time hit record (4,256)
held by Pete Rose. He's a long shot to get there, but when it's all said and done, Jeter should
surpass the likes of Honus Wagner, Tris Speaker, and Stan Musial on the hits list. That is baseball
royalty. After a position shift to the outfield and more games at DH in the future, Jeter has a
better than good shot of finishing with the most career hits behind Rose, Ty Cobb, and Hank
Aaron. The leaderboard in hits is not stained by allegations of steroids or other PED's. Unlike
home runs, the career hit total means something. To those who say the record is "tainted"
because Rose was betting on baseball when he surpassed Cobb's mark, I say, give me a break.


In this Lebron, Lolo, Solo, Tiger, Tebow, and Chad Johnson head-butting world, Jeter is pure
vanilla. He doesn't call out teammates, run around with his shirt off for the cameras and say,
"Look at me!" He rarely says anything of substance when the cameras are rolling, that's the way
he wants it. He's not out partying until the wee hours of the morning and never mails it in. Derek
 Jeter is all class and pure greatness. He should be appreciated and not buried beneath the
scandals, selfishness, and silliness that seems to permeate the sports world today.


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