Derek Jeter’s got to slow up one day….right?
Quite often, we get really big into memories and appreciating folks when they say it’s over. Quite often, that means we’ve somehow forgot who they are, or more importantly, what they were. In the Bronx, Derek Jeter has decided that path doesn’t work for him; we are going to remember him NOW for what he’s still doing. And somehow, at 37, he’s playing like its 10 years ago still every night.
This shouldn’t be a surprise, because really, he’s never left. His 3,000th hit showed the consistency that’s been there since day one. That steadfast level of greatness is really what defines him, not the rings, nor the big moments that get put on replay regularly. Without it, none of those moments happen.
But at this point, it’s a victory lap he’s on…and he’s taking his time. There’s nothing more for him to do that will take him to any higher level of greatness, so he’s just decided to act like declines don’t exist. He caught a lot of flak for putting the proverbial gun to the Yankees’ neck a few winters ago, and demanding a deal that was suitable for who he is. Folks at the that time said, he was getting paid “Just to be Derek Jeter”, like he’d been dipped in bronze and placed in Monument Park already, instead of actually still getting dirty on the infield. It was all rather insulting to watch go on to a man that’s not only cemented himself as the greatest shortstop of his generation, but also a legit claim at all-time.
Instead of wasting away, in year two of that new deal, he’s come back with the type of vengeance that would make Bruce Wayne nod in approval. Every time he takes a swing it’s like ‘Forgot About Dre’ is beating through the sole earpiece in his helmet, and he’s eating up every word of it. So far in 2012, he’s outplaying every shortstop in the game, many of whom were still sitting in booster seats when he started his run in the Bronx in 1995. Today, he’s sporting a .383 average and leading the Major Leagues in hits. At THIRTY-SEVEN.
This late career maintaining he’s doing has him ready to get pretty high up the mountain of the baseball gods; and for a change, as an individual. The ultimate team player, if he averages only a 150 hits per year for the rest of his current contract, he’ll sit at just over 3,500 for his career. That places him in some pretty good name dropping company, just behind Pete Rose, Ty Cobb, Hank Aaron and Stan Musial. What’s more? Those 150 hits would be 59 less than he’s averaged per summer over the last 17 years, so generously estimating, let’s go ahead and say he’ll hit that mark easy. If he stays at his average pace, he lands at fourth all-time.
It just goes to prove, everybody’s gears don’t grind to close. And you can appreciate excellence while it is still going on. The way The Captain’s going, there should be a good amount of time to come for any ceremonial love. Right now, he’s got work to do. Catch up youngins.
For more on the day to day wonderings of my mind from foulpole to foulpole, follow me on Twitter at @CheapSeatFan.