Monday, August 9, 2010

In passing Ruth, Jeter milestone praise worthy

Filip Bondy of the New York Daily News was apparently bothered by the fuss over Derek Jeter passing Babe Ruth on the all-time hits list. He argued that Jeter's milestone should be celebrated, but not compared to Ruth. Bondy completely missed the point.

We applaud Jeter's milestone, and every other one he will achieve for the rest of his hopefully long career, because we know that the day the New York Yankees Captain decides to hang up his pinstripes will be a sad day for baseball. We celebrate every accomplishment of a player we know to be pure and incorruptible whose greatest achievements came during a tainted era.

So what if Jeter is more of a singles hitter than Ruth. It doesn't diminish his accomplishment or Ruth's career. It is exactly because the Babe is so iconic that it makes a player passing him on any list worthy of celebration and applause. In congratulating Jeter, we're celebrating the career of a man who will someday join the legendary Yankee in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Jeter deserves every standing ovation he receives for the rest of his baseball life, even if he is being compared to the Babe. It's not as ridiculous a comparison as Bondy suggests. It's celebrating the greatness and contributions of two very different kinds of players with a core feature in common: their love of baseball and the Yankees.

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