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Jeter’s Misbegotten Season Is Over

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Our pal Emma on DJ’s 2013 season:

Derek Jeter’s near-magical ability to hit his mark in the big moment, to rise to the occasion, has been the subject of some of this century’s worst sports writing, and sparked an understandable backlash in baseball fans who got sick of hearing him slobbered over. But even those who rolled their eyes when the sports media went off on one its over-the-top paeans to Captain Clutch would concede that Derek Jeter deserved a large percentage of that slobber.

So this season — a “nightmare,” as Jeter has repeatedly called it — has been jarring, even though we all know even the most larger-than-life stars are just people, and that people age and their bodies change, and that the end of the road for athletes is rarely neat or easy.

When Jeter came off the disabled list for the second time this season on July 28 (after just a one-game return earlier in the month), he did it yet again: In the very first pitch of his very first at-bat, he homered. “He’s back!” crowed the headlines. But he wasn’t; Jeter strained his calf four days later. Determined to help the Yankees with their tantalizing playoff hopes — only one game out of a wild-card spot, going into Thursday, despite everything — he came back in late August… this time for all of 12 games.

That makes 17 total games played in this lost season. And Jeter is 39. The number of players who have performed at a high level at that age, let alone those who’ve come back from very serious injury to do so, is not very large.

[Picture via It's About The Money]

Categories:  1: Featured  Baseball Musings  Emma Span  Yankees

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4 comments

1 MSM35   ~  Sep 12, 2013 11:03 am

I was glad when Mickey Mantle retired because as he said, "I can't go from first to third anymore." Derek still has life in his body but he should be planning to step off the stage soon. Do a Mo. next season and leave with something left. He has money, fame and a great future he will have to get on with it soon.

2 GaryfromChevyChase   ~  Sep 12, 2013 12:57 pm

(1) Totaly with you on the Mick, and totally want to see the Captain back for another try. If not SS, than 3rd. If not 3rd, DH. No sin to move off of SS - think of all the HOFers who moved off their "regular" positions after age 35.

3 Bronx Boy in NC   ~  Sep 12, 2013 1:11 pm

[1] I'd even make next season contingent on an expectation-beating response to offseason rehab. (An honest one, not the usual "I'm fine.")

If the ankle never gets right, all he can contribute to the team next year is the aura of a victory lap. Yes, blasphemy: But do any of us honestly see a headline 13 months from now that reads "JETER CAPS .320 MVP SEASON, LEADS YANKS TO TITLE"?

Yes, lots of people have done amazing things in reduced roles after age 35. Jeter's turning 40. With an injury that won't heal and that he can't play around.

I love the guy to death, but I'm afraid there's nothing but downslope left in him. And if aura is all he can deliver in 2014, wouldn't the sight of Mo, Jeter and Andy all hanging them up together at the end of 2013 be spectacle enough?

4 BobbyB   ~  Sep 13, 2013 10:11 am

I remember Mickey Mantle in the late 50's and early 60's. What a phenomenal player he was. His last four years,however, were terrible to watch and I believe he regretted hanging on as long as he did. Now, I was there when Jeter first played shortstop, when he dove into the stands against Boston, when he flipped the ball to get Giambi at the plate and witnessed so many exciting plays, too numerous to recall, back in the old stadium when I still had season tickets. It looks to me that his ankle will never heal properly, he's 39 and he's already had a hall of fame career. Personally, I'd like to see him retire now, along with Andy and Mo. Another 'Mo type final year in 2014 won't help the Yankees one bit except to put people in the seats in a season that promises to be mediocre at best.

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