“Listen,” Jeter says, “I’m not just saying this to say this. But if you don’t win it’s a waste. It’s not enough to win your division, it’s not enough to say you made it to the League Championship Series and you battled. Or that you lost the World Series, but boy, did you battle. That’s not why I play. It shouldn’t be why anybody plays. Here’s the deal: You start working out in November, and you keep working, through spring training and into the season, and the whole time, there’s only one goal, and that’s to win the World Series. Not win the division. Win the Series. And if that’s not the way you look at things, then you shouldn’t even be here.”
Watching Jeter on the bench two nights ago, I was struck with just how blue the guy looked. I know I have a hard time taking good care of myself when I’m sick, but looking at Jeter I thought, “Man, dude looks so bummed. Just what is he going to do with himself when he can’t play ball anymore?” Jeter’s got the Michael Jordan red ass. You know, the whole Pat Riley thing–you either win it all or you are miserable. It may not make for great mental health on his part, but as a Yankee fan it’s comforting to know that the captain of the team has that kind of competitive attitude.
I’ve never felt as good about a big Yankee loss as I did back Cleveland, 1997. When they lost that series, I remember several members of the team stading around, red-faced in the dugout as the Indians celebrated. David Cone stands out. I recall thinking, “Wow, these guys are as upset than I am, maybe even more so…cool.” Jeter is still one of those guys.