The Captain, Derek Jeter

For those who missed it -for whatever reason – do yourself a favor and find a tape of the Yankee/Tampa game played at the Stadium yesterday in the afternoon. Then play it and watch carefully – you will learn more about baseball than you think.

It is an example of how to play the game right as you’ve been playing it for 17 years. That’s Derek Jeter. The one who made history yesterday afternoon and filled the Stadium to the limit as he passed the 3000 hits mark. He really is a role model for all kinds of people both on and off the field. There are rules for baseball and he plays by them. Win, lose or draw – he plays by the rules.

Jeter finished 5-for-5 with a go-ahead RBI single in the eighth inning, a double and a pair of runs scored to lead New York to a 5-4 win over the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium.

Off the field he’s the same guy – he still represents the Yankees and he never forgets that. In fact, he spends a lot of time doing things for his team that have nothing to do with playing baseball. It’s living and working in New York, for a team that has been in existence for over a century – and making sure that the Yankees are good neighbors and good citizens.

However, yesterday he was at work on the field at Yankee Stadium. At 2:00 PM he notched his 3000th hit – a home run into the left field bleachers. A young man, Christian Lopez recovered the ball and asked if he could present it to Jeter. He didn’t ask for a ‘reward’ he just wanted Jeter to have the ball for sure. These are the kind of fans Jeter has.

For me, a life long baseball fan – (thanks, Dad) – it was the afternoon that I just couldn’t leave my chair in the living room. From 1PM to 6:30PM I watched and listened and learned. I’ve seen or heard every game that Derek Jeter has played for the Yankees, and he’s grown up with them. Not sure who is having what effect on the team/game or vice versa, but this game stays as a model of baseball played the right way.

Before long, after the game was over, messages started arriving at the Stadium from those who really love the game – the players who have already been inducted into the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. It’s interesting to note that at age 17 Derek Jeter was in the hands of an agent who just couldn’t believe his luck. All the other guys were saying that Jeter was going to the University of Michigan, so don’t be surprised if he doesn’t sign. However, Dick Grouch just smiled and said, he’s not going to Michigan, this kid’s going to Cooperstown.

And so it will be.