There were several scenarios that one could have come up with regarding how New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter’s 2012 season was going to end. He could have missed the post-season all together for only the second time in his 17-year career. His Yankees could have been eliminated in the American League Divisional Series or the American League Championship Series(ALCS). Or perhaps he could have led the Bronx Bombers to their 28th World Championship. But no one could have imagined him being carried off the Yankee Stadium field.
That was the last sight that Yankee fans wanted to see. It was bad enough that their beloved Bombers were on their way toward being down 0-2 in the ALCS to the Detroit Tigers. It bad enough for Yankee fans had to endure several of their best hitters batting well below .200. Now they have to come to the realization that the Yankees would have to dig their way out of that 0-2 deficit without their captain, who is their heart and soul of their club, one of the few everyday players
who was actually swinging the bat well.
Coming into the playoffs, most fans were concerned with the Yankees pitching. CC Sabathia, Andy Pettitte and Hiroki Kuroda have all been stellar thus far in the post-season, so you can’t fault them. Pettitte and Kuroda definitely deserved better. The glaring problem is the Yankees hitting or lack thereof. That is what’s killing Joe Girardi and Company. If it was not for Jeter, Ichiro Suzuki and Raul Ibanez, the Yankees would be sitting home like the rest of the baseball fans in the Tri-State area.
The Yankees came into the postseason tearing the cover off of the ball. Robinson Cano was hitting .670 for the month of September. Curtis Granderson hit 43 homeruns this year. They are both batting .000 for the ALCS. They have not gotten a single hit against the Tigers. Most of the focus has been on Alex Rodriguez, who is only batting .147, but at least he has gotten a hit. Girardi took A-Rod out of the ALDS to pitch hit Ibanez for the struggling $30 million star. That controversial move made the Yankee skipper look like genius. Then Girardi sat Rodriguez. That move has not panned out as
well. Now he is going to have to make some tough decisions if the Yankees are going to make a run at this series.
Those decisions are going to be even tougher with Jeter in civilian clothes. Jeter suffered a fracture in his left ankle trying to make a diving grab up the middle in Game 2 Saturday night. Perhaps it was the accumulation of him playing on his gimpy foot for the past month and the ankle just gave way. Or it was father time finally catching up with him. Remember he aint that baby face kid that made his Major League debut some 17 years ago.
At first it didn’t appear to be that bad. But when Jeter didn’t get up right away, you knew something was wrong. Jeter is the type of player that refuses to show any sign of weakness. Even as he got up, he told the medical staff not to help him. But as he tried to apply pressure on the ankle, he realized that he couldn’t. You know that accepting help off of the field had to tear the Captain apart inside.
For the past two decades, Jeter has represented all that has been right with baseball. He owns just about every Yankee batting record with the exception of home runs. He has several Gold Gloves and five World Series rings. And the amazing thing is that he has accomplished this while avoiding any negative publicity in the fishbowl known as New York City. He deserves the Noble Peace prize for that alone. Derek Jeter is a once-in-a-lifetime player. Hopefully he will bounce
back from this setback, but if he doesn’t play another game, he has provided baseball fans worldwide enough great memories to last a lifetime.
Perhaps his teammates will remember how to hit and get another ring for the Captain. But one thing is for sure: the team is not only going to miss his production, but they are going to miss his leadership. Get well soon Mr. Jeter.