“I got my pride.”
Joel Sherman has an interesting piece about Derek Jeter’s looming contract talks and the Hall of Fame shortstop’s pride:
Even his most loyal supporters — and [former manager, Joe] Torre was as loyal to Jeter as anyone — recognized a position change might be necessary. There had been some sentiment to make Jeter the successor to Bernie Williams in center before Johnny Damon came aboard in 2006. And by the time the 2007 season ended, the issue could not be ignored any more.
So Cashman took Jeter to dinner in Manhattan and told the Yankees captain that his side-to-side actions must improve. Jeter has an outsized athletic arrogance. He believes in himself completely, which allows him to deftly block out criticism and negativity. This trait enables him to thrive in the cauldron, but also prevents him from seeing personal shortcomings the way others perceive them. Still, to his credit, he agreed to try a new way.
With the Yankees paying the bills, Jeter enlisted Jason Riley, the director of performance at the Athletes Compound in Tampa. Riley formulated a plan to increase Jeter’s first-step quickness, particularly in fielding grounders to his left. Power lifting was diminished, agility — especially in the hips — was empha – sized , weight was lost. The results came slowly at first in 2008 and in a wave last year when Jeter had one of his finest defensive seasons.
“The player Derek is, he took to it and said, ‘Watch, I will prove you wrong,’ ” Cashman said.
There is no telling how Jeter’s career will play out from here. It could get ugly, as it does for so many of the great ones. One thing is sure: He’ll sign a big contract with the Yankees after this season. Jeter is more than a star, after all. He’s a Legend.