Friday, August 6, 2010

Jeter's 3,000 hit will be worthy of salute, even in Beantown

Sometime next year, Derek Jeter will smack hit #3,000, the one that guarantees his admission to the Baseball Hall of Fame (although in reality, he's already headed there).

Jeter smacked four hits to pad his career total to 2,872 on Wednesday and raise his season batting average seven points to .280. Most importantly to Jeter, he scored three runs that helped the New York Yankees avoid getting swept by the Toronto Blue Jays. Despite what has been at times a rough year for the Yankee Captain, Jeter is well on his way to achieving his 3,000-hit milestone, one of the few baseball accomplishments that still means something, that hasn’t been tainted in the steroids era.

Unlike with the Alex Rodriguez pursuit of 600 homers where I intentionally avoided the stadium, I will do my best to watch as many games as possible to make sure I can participate in the celebration of a genuine accomplishment by Captain Jeter. Hopefully, the Yankees shortstop will be surrounded by an adoring crowd at home as he was when he broke Lou Gehrig's all-time Yankees hits record last year.

But I bet that even if he is on the road, Jeter's accomplishment will be celebrated by non-Yankee fans, by people who love baseball and want to celebrate the best of the sport, all of which Jeter wonderfully represents. I think he could get a standing ovation wherever he gets the hit, even in Boston where Jeter is universally hated. Boston fans and the organization have shown a lot of class recently in honoring their hated rivals, most notably a thoughtful moment of silence when George Steinbrenner passed away. Despite their hatred of the Yankees Captain and his representation of the late 1990s dominance of New York over Boston, Jeter will likely get a warm salute if he gets that milestone hit in Beantown.

Again, unlike with ARod, I would be willing to follow the team on the road as he neared his quest for the purpose of being present to contribute to the well-deserved celebration that Jeter has coming to him, even if he does it in Boston.

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