Oh, how I wanted to hate you.
Oh, how I wanted to see you get hurt.
Oh, how I wanted your team to lose. ALWAYS!!
Oh, how I wanted to…………
Oh, who am I kidding!!!
It’s time to quit being in denial and just admit it.
Oh, how I wish you had played for the Red Sox.
I have been a die hard Sox fan since birth and an equally committed Yankee hater. I remember being a little kid and watching the local 9 on TV every Friday night on channel 38. Back when there was no NESN and you couldn’t watch every game. So it was always a big deal to sit down with my Dad and watch Jim Rice, Dwight Evans, and Carl Yastrzemski kick ass against whoever their opponent was that week. They were my sports heroes. The guys I wanted to grow up to be. Conversely, the Yankees were the enemy. A team with players like Reggie Jackson, Don Mattingly, and Dave Winfield. Dudes I friggin’ despised. There wasn’t enough bad shit in the world that could happen to this team, or these guys. Especially Jackson. Probably my most hated pinstriper of all time.
As I got older, and wiser, my “hero worship” understandably faded and was replaced by respect. This respect was not just reserved for Red Sox players either. It carried over to virtually every solid, gritty player in the league, no matter which team they played for. Well, except for the Yankee players, of course. Those guys all sucked, as far as I was concerned. They were all lucky. Pure and simple. Fortunately, from the mid 80’s to the mid 90’s, the years when I was really learning all the in’s and out’s of the game, they weren’t especially dominant, so I never had to suffer through repeated post seasons. That all ended in 1996.
Along came Joe Torrey. Big deal. Who the hell is he? I didn’t even know he used to be a player. Oh well, who cares. The Yankees need more than a new manager. They haven’t won shit in years. All their most well known players are gone and the new players are nothing special. “Oh, you got a rookie SS that’s supposed to be real good? Laddy-freakin-da!!!! We got a guy comin’ up next year that is waaaaay bettah.” That pretty much summed it up for me, and likely all Bostonians. “Suck it, Jeter” was about to be a new favorite chant of mine, and I couldn’t wait. If our guys name wasn’t Garciaparra I would have made so much fun of that name…. JETER???…….DER!!!
Seasons came and seasons went and the Yankees were winning titles. All the while, that guy Jeter just went out on the field, game after game, year after year, and played his ass off. Consistently doing his job well, and in the most crucial situations, doing his job better than anyone else in the game. If the Yanks were in need of a big hit, there was nobody they wanted up to bat more than him. NOBODY. Bases loaded with 1 out for your team? Don’t hit it anywhere near Jeter. No matter how deep in the hole you hit it, it won’t be enough. EVER!! Although I have always believed that he was overrated defensively, he wasn’t when the money was on the line. Then he was Ozzie freaking Smith.
I could fill this blog with all his accomplishments, but I won’t, because the list would be exceedingly long. I will mention a few though. 1996 AL ROY. 5X World Champ. WS MVP. 13X All-Star. 5X Silver Slugger Award winner. 5X Gold Glove winner. .312 career AVG. (7th in NYY history). 3316 Hits. (most in NYY history and 9th all time). However, all these stats, and the many I didn’t cover, pale in comparison to what type of leader and class act he was. I have said on many occasions that he was overrated as a SS, underrated as a hitter, but perfectly rated as a captain. He couldn’t have fulfilled that role any better and I don’t think there is a knowledgeable baseball fan out there that would dispute that. With that said, I will end this by repeating what I said at the beginning of this blog………..
I am a huge Derek Jeter fan, and the only thing I hate about him is the fact that he forced me to like a Yankee player. Damn you, Jeter!! Jeter?????…….. DER.