A Yankees icon has moved on to bigger and better things from his playing days at Yankee Stadium. No one should fault him for that. But there are some troubling questions that arise now about the man who hid behind a facade that is no more. And perhaps, we are seeing the real person for the first time.
Yankees shortstop, Derek Jeter, manned his position for nearly two decades and is a sure-fire first-ballot Hall of Famer. He collected more hits than any player who ever donned the Pinstripes, and he was the focal point of everything good that happened to the Yankees during his years with the organization.
It could have been different
Jeter gave, but he also received from the Yankees. And when he retired in 2014, it was like a light switch was shifted from on to off. It was almost like he said, I’ve done my duty, and now it’s my turn. Presumably, the Yankees would have found a home for Jeter in his retirement as an executive with a full range of responsibility and power, and not, by far, the bouquet of roses the Yankees threw to Alex Rodriguez.
But Jeter had ideas of owning a team, which again, could have been the case if and when the Steinbrenner family decided to sell the team. Jeter didn’t wait, though, and the Steinbrenner’s, who without George, lack the conviction and commitment to the Yankees the old man had, could very well have seen Jeter as the person George would have wanted the torch passed to.
Jeter bought the Marlins, and he’s already invaded the Yankees with his hiring of Gary Denbo, the Yankees Vice-President in charge of player development. The move is not destined to kill the Yankees, but as one of the first hirings by Jeter, it is symbolic of the fact that Jeter has pulled off one of the ultimate cons in New York baseball history.
Derek Jeter, the con man?
Seeing Derek Jeter as a con man is hard to digest for most Yankees fans. And yet, when you strip everything down to its bare bones, this writer, for one, can’t help but feel I was taken for a ride with an end that leads to a disillusionment about the player I once revered.
Let’s be clear, Jeter owes the Yankees nothing. And he has every right to move on to a new life. But there’s something about his separation from the Yankees that just seems a little “off.”
If and when he is invited, for example, to the annual Old Timer’s Day at Yankee Stadium, will he attend and how will he be received? This is a question that was never in the realm of discussion. Until now.
The ultimate Hollywood production?
Was it all an act to begin with. Probably not, but if you think back to how guarded Jeter was during his time with the Yankees, things start to fall in place leading one to suggest at least the possibility it was all a Hollywood production supervised by the man himself until his playing days were over. And from there, it was like a man released from prison after serving twenty years.
And yet, the magic moments Jeter provided will never be forgotten. It’s just that that was then and this is now. Here’s another look at what I’m talking about.
The point is Jeter never revealed himself when he was with the Yankees organization. We can judge the man only by his actions, and from what he’s showing now, the divorce is final, and it should work both ways.