I have never been a fan of the New York Yankees. Especially since the 1996 World Series when my beloved and heavily favored Atlanta Braves grabbed a 2 games to none lead only to end up losing the next four games and the World Series to the never say die evil empire that is the New York Yankees. It was heartbreaking to say the least. I immediately became sworn enemies with guys like Jim Leyritz, Luis Sojo, Joe Girardi, Charlie Hayes, Bernie Williams, David Cone, Andy Pettite, Mariano Rivera, Jimmy Key….But then their was one player out of that entire roster that I immediately took a liking to. A young rookie shortstop named Derek Jeter. This kid had a batting average of .314 on the season and compiled 183 hits, 25 doubles, 6 triples, 10 homeruns, and 78 RBI earning him the American League Rookie of the Year award. But to me what stood out more was his passion for the game. His grit. His 110% effort. Day in and day out Jeter goes out there and plays the game with all his heart. His teammates love him. His fans love him. The entire New York Yankees organization loves him. Do I love him? Love is such a strong word in this case…I lean more towards love watching the guy play. Love his effort. Love his passion for the beautiful game of baseball. I have nothing but admiration and respect for him.
And then on that fateful night of October the 13th 2012 in game one of the 2012 American League Championship Series, DJ…Jeet…The Captain…goes down with a fractured ankle in the 12th inning against the Detroit Tigers. A game in which Detroit lead 4-0 going into the bottom of the 9th inning and would ultimately win with 2 more runs in the 12th inning making it a 6-4 victory for Detroit. And which ultimately put Jeter out for the remainder of the postseason. A sharp groundball up the middle by Jhonny Peralta. A ball that has been fielded effortlessly for 17 years by Jeter. Only this time that groundball beat Jeter. As Jeter chased down that evil groundball he took a tumble. It looked like a harmless tumble at first….my first thoughts were ah he’ll be okay…glad the damn Yankees are losing though! But Jeter never got up. It wasn’t harmless. He had to be helped off the field. DJ…Jeet…The Captain…A living legend….being helped off the field by his manager and trainer. Definitely a gut wrenching feeling for those Yankees and their fans. And for me. Do I expect the Yankees to roll over and die? Not hardly. That’s why I’ve grown to hate them…since October the 26th 1996 to be exact. Derek Jeter’s injury could possibly add more fuel to my “hate the damn Yankees” mindset….after all, that never say die Yankee attitude is what got Jeter injured in the first place…..right? But on the other hand that never say die attitude is why so many people love Jeter.