Monday, May 9, 2011

Derek Jeter calms all fears, just for a day

Everyone in the New York Yankees universe can breathe a little easier. Derek Jeter's power made a surprise appearance in Texas, proof that it has not left him completely. But is yesterday's 4-hit, 2-home run performance a sign of more good things to come or an anomaly?

Are you an optimist? Joe Girardi sure is, at least publicly, so he is very happy about Jeter’s day. He’s been praising Jeter’s hard hit balls and predicting a breakout for several days now. So Girardi believes the Yankees Captain still has something left in the tank. And they are plenty of signs that he’s right like Jeter’s solid play at shortstop, including a terrific defensive game on Friday chock full of signature Jeter plays that showed he still has some skills, despite what the stat geeks say.

But if you’re a pessimist, you’re probably thinking that Jeter was overdue for a good game, one that even the worst baseball players occasionally have. You’re probably very anxious to see what happens with Jeter on Tuesday when the Yankees return to the stadium for a few warm-up games against the Kansas City Royals before they take on their embattled rival the Boston Red Sox and division foe Tampa Bay Rays.

I choose to be an optimist. Jeter's confidence has never wavered although he has seemed frustrated at times. A day like yesterday can be all the proof that he needs to remind himself that he is just as good as he ever was. A couple of more games like that and all this Jeter chatter could even fade into the background, a distant memory that we can laugh about come October.

Jeter managed to calm fears for a day. But the media and fans will not rest until they see him repeat his positive performance several more times. Then they’ll go worry about someone else.

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