One might ask, why in the world is this news? Well if you’re the New York Yankees and you’ve won championships, while playing in the biggest media market, you have a single digit number (2), you have model-type looks and you’ve earned over $250 million dollars in player-salary and off-the-field endorsements.
The 6-foot-3, 195-pound Derek Jeter, who turns 37 in June, is pretty much used to the scrutiny that comes with his position and title. The position of shortstop for the Yankees comes with its privileges and perks, along with its punishing microscope. Before a recent game against the Texas Rangers, Jeter was batting a meager .270 as opposed to his usual .300. He had very few extra base hits and zero homeruns. Needless to say, Jeter was struggling to find his rhythm at the plate. A few smatterings of ‘boos’ and a firestorm of media scrutiny were the norm for the past few weeks.
It must’ve been the pink-colored bat he used. Jeter, in honor of breast cancer awareness and Mother’s Day, used a pink bat and went 4 for 6 at the plate and smacked two homeruns in the Yankees 12-5 win. A former Yankee teammate and now ESPN television commentator tweeted: “Baseball is a funny game, Jeter goes eight months since his last homer (including off-season) and then hits two in 45 minutes.”
Baseball, like golf, is a very humbling game. In golf, you can shoot a blazing round one day and then the next day you’re hitting the ball in the water. In baseball, you’re said to be doing very well if you fail to hit the ball 70 percent of the time. So if a batter goes to the plate and hits safely (doesn’t get an out) 3 out of 10 times, the player is a great hitter.
But Jeter, being the glorified professional that’s he’s been over his storied 15 years of Major League Baseball, is held to a higher standard – a standard that has allowed him to win five world championships, with one recently as 2009, and multiple all-star game appearances that included winning the Most Valuable Player award in the mid-season classic.
When it’s all said and done, Jeter, who this past offseason signed a three-year $51 million contract that will make him a lifetime Yankee, will be enshrined into the Hall-of-Fame and the number 2 on his jersey will be retired.
Follow Jerald on Twitter @JerryHoover65