Sidelines: Under pressure, are the Yankees handling the captain’s retirement appropriately?

Sidelines: Under pressure, are the Yankees handling the captain’s retirement appropriately?

Michael Morgan

By Drew Friedman ‘16 and Mike Morgan ‘16
Collaborative Writers

Photo Courtesy of www.highsnobiety.com

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It’s Game Seven of the 2014 World Series, and there are two outs in the ninth inning. The Yankees are looking for a record twenty-eighth world championship.

There’s a high pop-up, soaring above the facade in the Bronx and floating slowly across the late October sky. Just past the infield dirt, the ball begins its descent back down to earth. As it falls, it is camouflaged by a bombardment of flashes, bright enough to see from miles away. And just like that the ball lands soundly, like it was expected.

Waiting patiently beneath the ball, with a patch on his sleeve commemorating his great career, and a Rawlings glove resting above his head with the game-winning ball in his clutches, was sports icon Derek Jeter.

As reality sets in among the Yankee faithful, it becomes clear that this fairytale ending of Jeter ending his career with his sixth World Series ring will likely not come true.

Fans have hoped for, envisioned, and perhaps even prayed for this scenario–where Jeter joins the likes of John Elway, Pete Sampras, and Ray Lewis by finishing a Hall of Fame career with a championship.

But sitting well behind Baltimore in the American League East, and trailing by 5 games for the second Wild Card spot in the AL, it seems unlikely that these prayers will ever be answered.

The phrase “riding off into the sunset” is often used in sports to describe situations like these. But barring a late-season run by the Yankees, Jeter will walk off the field on September 28th in Boston with nothing more than a plane ticket, destination Florida, recognizing the beginning of his life as a retiree.

Mike Morgan: Since I started watching baseball, I have chosen to ignore that this day would arrive. Not willing to accept that watching any of the “Big Four” of Posada, Pettitte, Rivera, and Jeter will become a thing of the past. It makes me feel old, and I would love nothing more than to see the Yankees pull through, make the playoffs, and delay the inevitable of Jeter finally hanging up his cleats.

All that aside, the Yankees need to realize that they are still contenders in the playoff race. They need to do whatever they can to ensure that they will have games to play in October. If that involves putting Jeter in the designated hitter spot to tighten up on defense, even if it deprives the fans of seeing him play shortstop for the home stretch of his career, I do not have a problem with it.

Drew Friedman: 20 Years. 1994. The year I was born. Jeter has been in the league for my entire life. Baseball without him is simply not baseball to me. Yes, I agree that I miss hearing “Enter Sandman” in the late innings of a Yankee game, or Posada’s gritty attitude, and clutch moments, but nothing hits home more in sports to me than Derek Jeter’s miraculous, masterful career. And it is not only me who feels sadness and emptiness thinking that these last two decades are coming to an end. A person doesn’t get a farewell tour from every single baseball club, and a sign off commercial with the likes of Michael Jordan, Billy Crystal, Tiger Woods, and New York’s finest that appears worldwide unless he is recognized on a global scale. While Jeter’s talents on the field are as prestigious as any that has played the game, his humble approach on the field is what makes him who he is.

I truly believe the Yankees are not ending his final season in “Jeter” fashion with the addition of the memorial patch the whole roster will wear. Famed sports writer Rick Reilly once described the Yankees captain as “the man with all of the talent and none of the jerk.”

Mike Morgan: Even through all the scrutiny the game of baseball has taken in years past, Derek Jeter has been the golden boy who has escaped all of the negativity of the steroid scandals and league sanctions. He is respected by everyone–even his foes. If you don’t believe me, watch the highlights of the Yankees playing in Boston this year. Even the Red Sox fans give him a standing ovation every time he steps to the plate. You mentioned the sign off commercial. Did you notice the two grizzly bearded guys with Boston hats tipping their caps? I don’t have a problem with the Yankees wearing the patches to celebrate his career. As a matter of fact, I think every team should have to wear these patches. Jeter is not only an icon in pinstripes, he is an icon and a delegate for all of sports and deserves recognition across the league.

Drew Friedman: The fact that they Yankees even thought of creating these patches is a sympathy card for Jeter’s farewell tour. This team historically hates the idea of advertising their names on their jerseys, so why are they starting now? Regardless of whether he is arguably their most legendary player since Babe Ruth, attempting to commemorate Jeter is exactly what he would not want them to do.