I’m really pissed off at Hal Steinbrenner. Who does he think he is? Well, one thing’s for sure: he is definitely not his father.
Some may say that is a good thing, as the late New York Yankees owner was one part ruthless and one part surprisingly sentimental. But if George isn’t rolling in his grave right now, then I’m a Red Sox fan.
Derek Jeter is one of the greatest Yankees in history. In my opinion, he is only surpassed in both popularity and team impact by the great Iron Horse, Lou Gehrig. And he is going to get a three year, $51 million contract? That’s what A.J. “Hasn’t Done Anything Right Yet” Burnett makes. Really?
So Jeter had an off year last year — he had his worst offensive season, and I’ll be the first to admit that his range in the field is not what it used to be. But he also had his best offensive season the year before, when he was only a year younger. And as sappy as it sounds, Jeter’s worth can’t be measured in dollar signs or contract years.
Derek Jeter is the Yankees. He embodies their winning spirit, their drive to be the best every time and their All-American persona. It’s cliché but true: you don’t hear anything bad about Derek Jeter.
The Yankees players are getting younger, and they need a guy like Jeter to lead by example. He’s not the Yankee captain, a coveted and honored position, for nothing. I think that he definitely has some good years left in him. I think, personally, if he stays in shape and hits like he did two years ago, he has a shot at breaking Pete Rose’s all-time hits record.
When it comes down to it, $51 million over three years is an insult to someone with Jeter’s history, star power and leadership qualities. Clearly, Jeter is going to be involved in the Yankee organization for a long time, but I think he still has playing years left. Jeter obviously thinks so, and I feel he’s the type who will bow out gracefully when he feels he can no longer contribute. Baseball is a gentlemen’s game, after all, and there is no one more gentlemanly than Derek Jeter. I think it’s awful that the new Yankee order didn’t treat him as such.
Caroline Russomanno can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.