Derek Jeter released a statement this afternoon:
“Out of my great respect for Mr. Torre*, I have refrained from comment until he had a chance to address the public.
“In my eyes, Joe Torre is more than a Hall of Fame manager. He is a friend for life, and the relationship we have shared has helped shape me in ways that transcend the game of baseball. His class, dignity, and the way he respected those around him – from ballplayers to batboys – are all qualities that are easy to admire, but difficult to duplicate.”
This is classic Jeter. Scripted, predictably bland, but not phony. You get the sense that Jeter really does knows how fortunate he’s been, and you know the bond between him and “Mr T” is genuine. Here’s the beauty part, which gets to the heart of the matter:
“I have known Mr. Torre for a good majority of my adult life, and there has been no bigger influence on my professional development. It was a privilege to play for him on the field, and an honor to learn from him off the field.”
I think that’s the truth right there. Jeter, Posada–their baseball father is gone now. I often wonder how Jeter’s career will play itself out. I could see him aging poorly, like Cal Ripken in his later years. I hope I’m wrong. Regardless, it will be fascinating to see how he goes about getting along with a new manager next spring. Not that it will necessarily change his game much (and it’ll be easy for him if it’s Mattingly of Girardi who takes over), just that it will be so new, so different.
Aren’t you curious?
* For those of you with HBO, Joe Torre is being interviewed by Bob Costas tonight at 9.