Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Oh Captain, My Captain

Although an easier route would be to complain about Ernesto Frieri blowing YET ANOTHER win for the Angels last night, I feel like the only thing I've done this season is complain about the bullpen (which is pretty much the only thing I have to complain about this Angels team so far), and tonight marks a very special occasion.

Tonight is, in all likely-hood, Derek Jeter's final visit to Angel Stadium as a professional baseball player.

Sure, there is an off-chance the teams meet in the playoffs, or hell freezes over and the Yankees trade Jeter to Detroit at the deadline, but neither of those are really all that likely.

So, with perhaps the most important player of the last 20 years making his final trip to Southern California, it's time to reflect a little bit on Mr. November and how he has impacted the game.  If you are at all uncomfortable with someone speaking fondly of the Yankees, now would be a good time to back out of this article.  I know it will be rough for some of you, but the Yankees aren't all bad.

Growing up, Jeter wanted to be a Yankee.  He got his wish when he was drafted by the club in 1992 right out of high school.  He made it to the big leagues by 1995 and won Rookie of the Year (and his first of 5 World Championships) in 1996.  After winning a title in 4 of his first 5 full seasons in the big leagues, things began to slow down for the Yankees but Jeter always stayed faithful.  In the Free Agency era, most guys never make it more than a few years with the same team, let alone their entire career, and Jeter never once even hinted at the idea of leaving New York.

Jeter got his fifth World Series ring in 2009 and has had roughly a billion other accolades during his time in the big leagues (not limited to, but including 13 trips to the All-Star Game, 5 Silver Slugger awards, 5 Gold Gloves and the Roberto Clemente award).  He has been team captain for the Yankees since 2003 (his 11 years as captain are the longest in team history), and although most of his career took place during the Steroid Era, his name has never appeared on any list, he never failed a test and his name has never really ever been associated with any kind of performance enhancements.  By all accounts, Jeter has always played the game the right way, always has had the right attitude, and always says the right thing.  A sure-fire Hall-of-Famer, Jeter is the best player of his generation.

So I hope those lucky enough to be in attendance tonight are gracious enough to understand the importance Jeter has had on the game of baseball the last 19 years, and give him one hell of a send-off.


Also for those lucky enough to be in attendance: If you are seated in left field and they begin to warm up Frieri... I'm not encouraging you to throw things at him until he sits down, but I'm also not not encouraging you to do so.

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