Nothing Out of the Ordinary

Derek Jeter spoke to the media on Wednesday for the first time since his retirement announcement, but as usual he remained guarded. (USA TODAY Sports)

Derek Jeter spoke to the media on Wednesday for the first time since his retirement announcement, but as usual he remained guarded. (USA TODAY Sports)

TAMPA, Fla. — Deter Jeter’s press conference to discuss his impending retirement at the end of this season was what you’d expect.

Nearly 200 media members were on hand in the Yankees Pavilion at George M. Steinbrenner Field on Wednesday, the day the full squad reported to spring training. Jeter’s teammates also attended along with the Steinbrenner family, general manager Brian Cashman and manager Joe Girardi.

And, of course, the man of the hour said nothing of note.

In fact, it might have been the most unemotional retirement press conference in the history of professional sports. Jeter’s voice never wavered in 25 minutes of taking questions. He not only never came close to crying but was so composed that it was doubtful his eyes would  have watered if he had been poked in them.

It didn’t matter that he was officially beginning his 20th and final season in pinstripes. Jeter stayed true to himself and almost certainly will do so until the end.

“I know I’m not always as open as you guys would like me to be,” Jeter said. “I decided to be that way when I first came up in 1995 because I thought it would be the best way for me to survive in New York. Taking that approach has served me well, I think.”

It has. Jeter has never been connected with an even a hint of scandal despite dating some of the most famous and beautiful women in the world. So that leaves us to report the more practical news surrounding him.

After being limited to 17 games last season by a variety of leg injuries, the most serious being the re-breaking of his left ankle that he originally suffered in the first game of the 2012 ALCS, Jeter says he is  healthy and ready to be an everyday player.

The Yankees believe Jeter will be productive in his final season, a necessity for their hopes to contend in the American League East. There are no sure things in a Yankees infield that includes declining first baseman Mark Teixeira — who played just 15 games himself last season before succumbing to wrist surgery — always-injured second baseman Brian Roberts and second baseman-turned-third baseman Kelly Johnson.

“I think shortstop is less for a question for us than second base or third base,” Cashman said. “Derek is in great shape, as he always is, and we expect him to be our shortstop and have a good season.”

Two seasons ago, Jeter played in 159 games and hit .316/.362/.429 in 683 at-bats. He also led the AL with 216 hits and belted 15 home runs.

However, there are a number of factors to consider before Girardi can think about writing Jeter’s name on the lineup card 159 times in 2014 and receive anything near Jeter’s 2012 production. Chief among those factors are his age and recent injury history. Then there is the case of reserve Brendan Ryan being a far superior defensive shortstop in the estimation of every advanced metric in the sabermetric world.

Would Girardi consider using Ryan as a late-inning defensive replacement when the Yankees have a lead? Would he give Jeter more time off in order to get Ryan’s glove into the lineup for an old team that is defensively challenged? How would Jeter, long sensitive to chatter about switching positions, react? And what about the balancing act of giving Jeter enough rest but making sure he is in the lineup enough for fans to get one last look at him?

“It’s my job to get the most out of every player and the most of the team,” Girardi said. “I’ll try to do that with Derek just like I would any other player.”

Thus, Jeter wasn’t the only one who was unrevealing.

20 thoughts on “Nothing Out of the Ordinary

  1. I suppose then that you didnt read Emma Span’s piece on Jeter just a few days ago here at SOE? More than a couple links were provided to disprove your contention that no scandals have been accrued (or were they attained to;) by Derek Jeter!

    • There is a big difference between allegations and proof. Nobody in the public eye these days is immune to criticism and attacks. But none of the mud thrown at Jeter has stuck because there has been zero proof AND because he has handled himself in public with great class for 20 years now.

      • I’m a huge sox fan but you sir are correct jeter is mr. Baseball how can you not respect the guy same goes for mo

    • I read Emma Span’s piece dated February 12 and nowhere within does it make any reference to whatever delusional scandal you may be referring to. About the only thing that comes to my mind, and I’ve been around Yankee land since the days of The Mick and Yogi, is when The Boss didn’t care for Jeter’s late night partying at the very beginning of his career. Few athletes in the history of professional sports personify what it means to dedicate themselves to their sport with the dignity and grace of a Derek Jeter. Few athletes in the history of professional sports epitomize what a solid All American role model for our young men and women should be as a Derek Jeter. When you live your life righteously it is reflected outwardly and does not go unnoticed. Thank you Mr. Jeter, for being a beacon of integrity and decency for all to see and learn from.

      • Maybe I shouldve said read the article and all of the comments! This post copied below rom Emma herself came to a reply by me at the top of the responses. There were a couple others blogged by posters but the point reallyis, who knows what in the media is true and what isnt these days?

        emmaspanMod> Wayne P. • 8 days ago

        Well… mostly…. http://nypost.com/2011/12/13/j

        1 △ ▽

        • You like ice cream… That’s an allegation there is no proof to the general public because you chose to maybe eat it in solitude… You can’t knock jeter… Times have changed and there won’t ever be an unegotistical player like him again… GO SOX!

    • Wayne P. Must be a Red Sox fan,only they would find the time to try and make Jeter look bad in the eyes of his adoring fans! Good luck with that one pal! Ain’t gonna happen!!

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  4. Mark’s comments are my exact sentiments. I’ve been a Yankee fan
    since the mid 50’s, my idol has always been “The Yog”. But, there’s
    never been a better face of the Yankee’s than Derek Jeter!

  5. Been a true Yankee fan since 1965 and have never seen nor read of another Bomber was carried himself with great class and dignity with the possible exception of the Yankee Clipper. Different men for different times but class acts both!

  6. Pingback: Nothing Out of the Ordinary | SD Yankee Report

  7. As the mother of two sons ages 23 and 19, Derek Jeter is a role model for young athletes and how they should conduct themselves. He is the face of hard work and giving it 110 percent at all times. Derek is definitely one of the greatest players of MLB. I am sure history will agree. We will definitely miss watching him play.

  8. I think he’s a role model for being a great baseball player and teammate. I don’t know how any of us can claim one way or the other that he’s a role model for how to comport yourself as a human being — unless the only criteria is whether you are able to date a lot of celebrity or model women who don’t dish on you after the breakup.

    As to being the greatest face of the franchise since JoeD, Yogi, or Mickey: what about Thurman Munson? What about Don Mattingly? Let’s not get carried away. And don’t go all “he won 5 world series” in rebuttal. Jeter would not have won five in the 70’s (a hugely competitive time in the AL East and baseball generally) or in the 80’s (when the Yankees were being royally wasted by The Boss).

  9. Derek Jeter has been a refreshing superstar — clear of scandals and allegations of improper behavior. While many ballplayers choose to use illegal or banned drugs, Jeter excels on and off the field.

  10. One way to define “role model” by listing common characteristics of highly regarded athletes who do NOT match up to Jeter ( who has avoided these trappings), such as: (1) Steroid use, (2) Dissing his opponents, (3) Dissing his manager and coaches, (4) Blaming his teammates for losses, (5) Blaming the umpires for bad calls, and (6) Complaining about field conditions, weather conditions, or anything else that may impact the final score. On the flip side, Jeter established the Turn 2 Foundation in 1996 to help children and teenagers avoid drug and alcohol addiction, and to reward those who show high academic achievement. He treats his teammates, his opponents, the media, and the public with class 100% of the time, stays in shape, is a student of the game, and always hustles — which is a pretty good definition of a “role model” in my book.

    • My main contention about Jeter as role model is that we don’t really know how he treats people in his orbit. But of course you’re right that the Turn2 Foundation has done good work and that’s a testament to him and his family. And that he handles himself on the field with unsurpassed calm and cool.

  11. I’ve been a fan since I fell in love with Joe D. and trying to watch the games this season R going to be hard, BUT if Derek doesn’t marry Minka Kelly, I’m going to N. Y. in my wheelchair and smack him!!!
    Luv U Derek and will miss you terribly. Happiness in whatever you choose to do.

  12. can only say thank you Derek Jeter for 19, soon to be 20, years of dedication to your sport and to your team; for the hits, the wins, the championships. i don’t need anything else