Monday, April 5, 2010

Captain Jeter's longevity truly amazing

There's nothing Derek Jeter hates more than losing so he must have been bitterly disappointed with the opening night loss of the New York Yankees to the Boston Red Sox. But a silver lining for Yankee fans was that we got to watch the Yankee Captain make the 14th opening day start of his big-league career for the Bronx Bombers.

Jeter's longevity is truly amazing. As the Daily News points out, the Red Sox have had at least nine shortstops rotate into and out of that position during that timeframe. But Jeter has been the constant for the Yankees and New York City, during the good and the bad times.

Last night's opening game surely was not the start to the season that the captain was hoping for, but it was nowhere near his worst opening day experience. That day came in 2003 when he dislocated his shoulder hustling to take an extra base in a scary collision with then-Blue Jays catcher Ken Huckaby. The memory of that accident still makes me cringe. But it made Jeter even more famous, in part because of how gruesome that injury was. When I dislocated my shoulder a few years later and went to the hospital, the attending physician told me I was lucky not to have a Jeter-type dislocation. And I thought, wow, now he is an adjective.

But mostly the Yankee shortstop became known for what was a remarkable recovery. That was the only period Jeter has ever spent any extended time on the disabled list, and that was just six weeks for an injury that could have ruined his season and possibly his career. Doctors still shake their heads in awe. Jeter is well known for playing through all kinds of pain, even to the detriment of his personal statistics, which he cares nothing for. But to be able to heal that quickly and not feel any ill effects from that shoulder injury later on in his career is a testament to Jeter's devotion to maintaining his health.

So Jeter has made the 14th opening day start for the Yankees. Certainly it won’t be the last despite his expiring contract. Will he make it to 20? It would be a nice personal goal for a player who cares nothing about personal goals. But it would be great for Yankee fans and the city that worships him.

No comments:

Post a Comment