Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Derek Jeter Misses an Opportunity

In a career where his pinstripes have fit perfectly, his hat always on straight and his words have never gotten him in trouble, Yankee Derek Jeter committed an error last night. It wasn’t a misplayed ground ball. It wasn’t a bad throw to first or a failed turn for a double play. No, The Captain’s error came away from the field, because he was away from the field. The Yankee Shortstop decided to skip the 82nd All-Star game in Phoenix due to exhaustion. Jeter was flat out tired after his quest to become the first Yankee to reach three-thousand hits, which he obtained on Saturday in grand fashion hitting a home run for number three-triple-zero.

Jeter also had other reasons to rest beside the mental toll he spent on his quest for Yankee immortality. He just returned to the Bronx Bomber line-up after a stint on the disabled list due to an injured calf muscle. At 37, injuries are nothing to take lightly especially in the calf area. With the Yankees one game out of first place in the American League East, the last thing they need is for Jeter to miss significant time in the season’s second half with a flare up from the previous injury. You can bet New York Manager Joe Girardi and his Yankee teammates had no problem with their leader not catching a plane to Sky Harbor Airport.

But the task of reaching three-thousand hits just four days ago, and the risk of injury which can happen anywhere at anytime are exactly two reasons Jeter should have suited up for the Mid-Summer Classic. Can you imagine the standing ovation this guy would have gotten even from even a Pro-National League crowd at Chase Field? Talk about perfect timing after reaching one of the highest plateaus in all sports! A packed house on national television, with nothing else taking place in the entire Sports World! The entire pre-game could have been his personal showcase in honor of his entire 16 year career in the big leagues. Despite being a fan favorite across the entire nation with maybe the exception of New England, who’s to say Jeter won’t suffer a major injury in the coming twilight of his career that will prevent him from playing another all-star game, even with the fans voting him in?

No athlete can outplay and outrun father time forever and Derek Jeter’s lead on the old man is starting to shorten. Would he trade in his health and a sixth Yankee Championship under his watch, for yesterday’s all-star classic? Of course not, who would take that deal? But what if there are no more championship rings for Jeter’s jewelry box? The all-star stage is arguably the next best thing and the timing will never be better than it was last night. It’s all too bad, because the fans missed his pinstripes, hat and name on the back of his jersey. The American League missed his bat, glove and overall aura Jeter brings, when he steps onto the field.

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