Thursday, April 3, 2008

Jeter Has A Statue In His Future

From Newsday comes the story of a young man from Kalamazoo, Michigan who wanted to grow up and become the starting shortstop for the New York Yankees. Sure enough, the kid made his dream a reality and now has several others coming true as his playing career winds down.

According to the piece, there is only one question to answer pending Derek Jeter's retirement, much like paper or plastic:
At this stage of his career, which is to say his prime, there is only one question left about Derek Jeter: monument or plaque?
Jeter couldn't escape history's tap on the shoulder. He was asked about the impending move on Monday, before the originally scheduled Opening Day was rained out. He had agreed to appear at a rare pregame news conference because what he thinks matters. At 33, he is too young to be an elder statesman, but he has been around long enough to be the face and heart and soul of the most famous team on Earth.
He has simply done too much unforgettable stuff to deny him getting his career etched in granite. The home run that broke the Mets' back, the backhanded relay flip that doomed the Athletics, the face-busting rush into the seats for that foul ball against the Red Sox.
There also is the Jeter that most people don't see. At 3:40 yesterday afternoon, before the Yankees' 3-2 win over the Blue Jays, neophyte first baseman Shelley Duncan was taking ground balls and practicing throws to second. Only one other infielder was out there, serving as a target, encourager, teacher. It was Jeter. He even helped pick up the practice baseballs and put them in the bag.

"It wasn't the first time," Duncan said. "Aside from Derek being made into some sort of character, when you're actually working with him, he's amazing. He's an amazing teammate."
If only he could get to groundballs up the middle, he would be completely infallible.

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