I’ve enjoyed sports since I was a kid. All sports. At one point I even thought I might have a decent football career, but my passion waned and I stopped playing. I think I could have at least played college football, but that’s fine.
My true love was baseball. I wasn’t really any good at organized ball, but I have fond memories of the sandlot when I was a kid. When I was around the age of 10 or 11 I would go out front of my house Detroit with my glove and a Pinky ball, turn on my radio and listen to Al Kaline and George Kell call the games while I toss the ball against the front stoop. Neighbors would walk by and I’d hold the ball so they could pass, some would stop and ask about the Tiger game I was listening to. It’s one of my fondest memories and to this day I love listening to games on the radio, only now I listen to the Yankees.
I started following the Yankees when I moved to NYC 27 years ago. Why the Yankees? Because they were awful. The Mets were the “good” team in town and I didn’t want to just jump on the bandwagon. It’s easy to follow a good team, but if you follow a team that is struggling, you grow to love them.
I’m not loving the Yankees this year. Not just because they’re losing, but because they’re losing bad… they’re hard to watch. But I still watch and/or listen… and this year it’s different. Derek Jeter is retiring. I’ve seen his whole career. I remember when they wondered if he could even play shortstop for the Yankees. Now he’s not only THE Yankee icon, but the face of Major League Baseball. For those of you who think all the hoopla is a bit much, trust me… it’s not. I’m not just speaking as a Yankee fan, but as someone who has raised a daughter in the time he has played and seen an amazing person thrive in NYC. My daughter is sad as she’s only known the Yankees WITH Derek Jeter.
As much as I will miss seeing Number 2 next year on the field, rather than be saddened he’s gone I am happy to have been able to watch him all these years. He truly embodies not only the qualities of a Yankee, a true Yankee captain and a role model, but a good person.
I doff my cap to you Captain.