The True Enigma
And So It Ends
This morning, Derek Jeter got out of bed and realized that he had nothing to do! His season, and his career, ended yesterday. He did manage to proved us one last highlight though, getting a game-winning single in his last at-bat in Yankee Stadium.
He came into the league when baseball may have needed him the most. The league was only a few years removed from a labor dispute that had cost Major League Baseball the World Series, he also provided stability as baseball went through the steroid era.
And while he excelled both at the plate and in the field, his greatest feat may have been staying out of the public eye.
Hiding In NYC?
"Sports-Entertainer" Jeff Hardy, among his many nicknames, is called "the enigma". Jeter may have earned that nickname even better.
Playing in a city that, no offense to Los Angeles, may be the media capital of the United States, and for one of the most celebrated sports franchises in the world, Derek Jeter managed to keep a low profile. Rarely did you hear of him in the media for getting arrested, etc. Early in his career, he did seem to be linked to a variety of actresses, musicians, etc, but this too faded.
As his career entered the age of social media, where anyone with a cell phone can be photographer or videographer, Jeter still managed to stay out of the public eye.
It will be interesting to see how much we see of Jeter now that he has retired. I have a feeling one of the next times we see Jeter in public will be in Cooperstown when he is inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. I personally think he has the potential to be a unanimous first-ballot inductee.
The New Prince
Jeter may have been the face not just of the Yankees, but of Major League Baseball. This leaves baseball in a predicament. Who to take up his crown.
Two names that come to mind are Mike Trout and Andrew McCutchen. Both are talented athletes and seem like excellent role models.
As a Pirates fan, I would like to see McCutchen inherit that role, but it may be unlikley. For one, Pittsburgh is not a large market, Trout plays in Los Angeles and has the power of that city's media.
A second issue is McCutchen's appeance. While his dreds trailing behind him as his makes a diving catch or admires a home run makes for great footage, is that the face Major League Baseball wants.
Of course, with baseball having difficulties reaching urban youth, maybe he is the best choice.