Monday, May 28, 2012

Derek Jeter climbing baseball history's ladder

New York Yankees Captain Derek Jeter keeps climbing the ladder of baseball history, showing no signs of slowing down even as he nears the age when shortstops traditionally get pushed to another position.

It seems like every day Jeter is passing another Hall of Fame baseball player on the all-time hits list. Yesterday, it was George Brett, who was gracious and effusive in his praise of Jeter in his congratulatory statement and obvious in his admiration for the Yankees shortstop when he made a guest appearance on a YES Network broadcast last week when the Kansas City Royals were in town. Brett could not decide what he admired more: Jeter’s on-the-field skills or his ability to weather the New York spotlight with barely a bad word written about him.

Eventually, Jeter will join all the players he is now passing in the Baseball Hall of Fame. But people are already pondering the bigger question: will Jeter play long enough to surpass Pete Rose as the all-time hits leader (something that Bud Selig and MLB surely would love to happen). Given his hitting resurgence since he smacked that home run off of David Price for #3,000, Jeter has seemingly quieted all the critics of his ability. I think the real question is will Jeter want to stick around long enough to go for the record. The Yankees Captain has stated that he will keep playing as long as he is having fun. Judging by watching him on the field, particularly his playful interactions with opposing players and his gentle mocking of his own teammates, it seems like Jeter is still having a lot of fun.

Try being the guy who eventually has to replace Derek Jeter at shortstop for the New York Yankees. It’s almost as bad as being the guy who has to replace Mariano Rivera (although I still think David Robertson has the chops for the job). But hopefully a Jeter retirement is far off into the future and we can just keep watching him climb that ladder. 

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