Derek Jeter has watched the players he came up with through the Yankee farm system retire one by one. First, Bernie Williams, then his best friend Jorge Posada and finally both Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte last year. The Captain has played more games in a Yankee uniform, 2602, and has more hits, 3,316, than any other Bronx Bomber. He also owns five World Series rings. According to Jeter, he is not retiring at the end of the 2014 season because he is going to turn 40 in June. It’s also not because he is worried that the injured ankle that cost almost the entire 2013 season will not be strong enough.
The Captain is simply ready to move on. We first heard of his retirement news via his personal Facebook page on February 12. Today was the first day of spring training for position players. Jeter had his normal press conference this morning, but even though he didn’t seem to really want to talk about retirement, the media needed to know why.
So, for 26 minutes, Jeter sat at the press conference, stoic, nearly emotionless and simply explained why his 20th season playing Major League Baseball would be his last. “Because I feel as though the time is right. There’s other things I want to do. I look forward to doing other things. This is a difficult job. I put everything into it each and every year. It’s a 12-month job. It’s not a six-month season. This is 12 months. And I look forward to doing other things — not yet — but the idea of doing other things is something I look forward to.” He added, “I’m in the greatest shape of my life. But who’s to measure that? I know I worked harder than I ever worked before, but I feel good.”
— EJ Dionne (@EJDionne) February 13, 2014
— Bernie Williams (@bw51official) February 12, 2014
Everyone knows that Derek Jeter is a winner. He is a player who somehow has the knack to remain calm in big moments, to make the enormity of the game seem compartmentalized and manageable. Nothing ever seemed to matter to Jeter except winning. “You work out the entire year and the ultimate goal is to win. That’s the bottom line. When we win, those are the memories that stand out for me. I’ve done a lot of things personally in my career that I appreciated and mean a lot. But if you ask me what stands out the most, it’s winning.”
— Megan (@M3gann11) February 12, 2014
Jeter and the new-look Yankees will take the field this year with a chip on their shoulders. They missed out on the post season last fall for only the second time in 19 years. They added several key pieces via free agency this winter: Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran, Brian McCann, and Japanese sensation Masahiro Tanaka.
The Yankees opening day is set for April 1. They will begin their season with a three-game away series against the Houston Astros.
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