We’re nearly two months into the 2011 Major League Baseball season and Derek Jeter has a grand total of 9 extra base hits in 227 plate appearances, along with career lows in slugging, OBP, OPS and almost every relevant offensive statistical category. Production that would banish say, a Cristan Guzman to somewhere besides hitting leadoff for a team with championship aspirations, isn’t nearly enough to alarm the New York Post’s Steve Serby, who argues “any and all rushes to judgment on Derek Jeter must cease and desist immediately,” perhaps for no greater reason than At Least The Captain Isn’t A-Rod.
Perhaps we celebrated him too much at times, even worshipped him, simply because we knew he was the last bastion of purity and integrity during the steroid-fueled era of swelled heads and home run totals. But it meant something to us nevertheless that we always could trust Derek Jeter, and that was more important to us than his reluctance to take a stand and lend his influential voice to the urgency of drug testing.
As hard as the tabloids tried, they could never capture him cavorting with a stripper who was not his wife — in no small part because he has been married only to the Yankees, in large part because no one, in any sport, has done a better job of dodging the omnipresent New York microscope as he lived this life he loves inside a pinstriped bubble.
It will be another generation before we see the likes of another Derek Jeter. Let’s not be so quick to show him the door. Because when he’s gone, Yankees fans will be asking themselves this sobering question: Who do we Turn 2 now?