What Does Derek Jeter’s Milestone Signify?

Just as Alex Rodriguez’s 600th home run last year wasn’t the sole focus of his milestone, Derek Jeter’s 3000th celebration is mired in question marks.

3000 is the hump that all great hitters strive to get over. It’s the mark that tells the world that you are one of the world’s finest hitters to ever play the game. Derek Jeter will become part of the exclusive, soon to be, 28 member club.

Although Jeter will shortly reach the peak of the 3000 hit mountain, his career is on the descent. His chase to 3000 is a distraction from the inevitable. The inevitable, interrupted by a calf injury. Jeter is finished from being on top of the baseball world.

The reality of it is that Derek Jeter is a grossly overpaid shortstop, batting .257 with just about everything except his media influence being limited as the days go by. Limited range, limited power, limited speed.

Derek Jeter is an aging athlete. There is no other way to put it. The sample presented by Jeter in the last season and a half is undeniable evidence. It can no longer be classified as an anomaly. A season and a half of mediocrity can be an anomaly at 30 but not 37.

Ichiro Suzuki is 37. It could be the first time in his career that he has a season batting under .300. Father time has got to him too.

Derek Jeter’s halo above his head does not give him the ability to avoid the inevitable that is coming sooner than he would like. He will always be the media darling but even Jeter worshippers can’t defend him forever.

For Jeter, 3000 hits means that his time as the leadoff hitter is running out. He knows he has no business being up there. The top of the order is no place for a former alpha male. Jeter is lucky that he is on one of the few teams that are able to mask the presence of an elephant at the top of the order.

The struggle that Derek Jeter has faced over the past year and a half to get to 3000 can’t be half as bad as the struggle that he is having trying to cope with his decline.

Denial is the first stage of any sort of grief but people should be past that point by now. Even Derek Jeter.

Anger. That’s something Jeter will probably see and hear from Yankee fans not long after number 3000. In sports but especially New York, it has what have you done for me lately? The Yankees are all about winning and Brian Cashman’s hardball with Derek Jeter in the off-season couldn’t have made the message any clearer.

Once Jeter hits 3000 New York can finally treat him as another average baseball player. Well, as average as an angel can be treated.

His 3000th hit will be an incredible moment. Much like a 100 year olds birthday, his milestone will be treasured, celebrated and last eternally.

It’s always a shame that the same human being will not.

Agree? Disagree? If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, please feel free to reply in the comments section below. Or you can e-mail me at cross_can15@hotmail.com. Also, follow me on twitter @paintstheblack and I will gladly return the favour.

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About Chris Ross
Questions, comments, suggestions? Send yours to cross_can15@hotmail.com. Follow me on twitter @paintstheblack

12 Responses to What Does Derek Jeter’s Milestone Signify?

  1. Derek Jeter is the greatest Yankee of the last 40 years and is accomplishing things in those iconic pinstripes that no other player ever has or will. Yes, he’s 37 and not the same player he was five, even 3 years ago. But, I’m getting sick and tired of all the negativity about him. Jeter deserves and has earned every single honor and accolade that has and will come his way. Those inside and outside the lines wish they were as accomplished in their chosen field as Derek Sanderson Jeter has and continues to be.

  2. tophatal says:

    Chris

    For me it’s not about the milestone but what Jeter’s brought to the Yankees in terms of the intangibles . At the same time who’d you say steps up to the plate for the team and actually leads by example ? Throughout the years of their celebrated successes there has always been someone on the team doing that . And that’s something you’ve failed to acknowledge in this piece .

  3. chuckiemag says:

    I agree with the article, I think that this is Jeter’s moment of adoration by the Yankee fans before some turn on him. He was definitely one of the greatest hitters of our time. Great post, great blog.

  4. JW says:

    Of course his career is on the descent. Of course he will get to 3000 hits in the late autumn of his career. Nobody gets to 3000 hits in their prime.

  5. brief22 says:

    Hi, I saw your comment on my blog, and I agree a little. But, I totally agree with your article. It is a great milestone, and that is what it is about even though Jeter is struggling. Once it is over, we can look forward to future stars like Reyes, Bautista, Kemp, and Hernandez.

  6. Nice post dude! A really incredible accomplishment from Jeter, hopefully this will stave off the anger from Yankee’s fans for a little while. The accomplishment will be one that Yankee fans remember and celebrate, even as he continues to decline in productivity. Hopefully the contract does not end up being too detrimental for the club. They had no other chance but to sign Jeter as he is the Superstar of his era. Nice writing about an accomplishment that will be increasingly few and far between for the current group of players.

  7. chappy81 says:

    Good for Jeter, I hope we can stop talking about him soon. I’m tired of him and the Yankees for that matter.

  8. Edwin Ritter says:

    Watching aging players decline and stay past their prime is hard for fans. Reggie played too long, Willie Mays and OJ did as well as did Broadway Joe to name a few. Brett is different in that he keeps finding teams that will take a chance. Ultimately, it is not up to us when a player retires; it is up to them. What drives them, motivates them for yet another season and knowing what is in front of them is a powerful thing. IT is part of what makes them a star.

  9. yankeesfan96 says:

    I don’t think that 3,000 hits necessarily means he’s reaching that point in his career where he’s reaching the end of being a top of the lineup-type hitter in the #1 or #2 spot.

    First, he & every Yankee fan, whether they feel that Jeter will be on the decline or not, need to acknowledge and appreciate what this accomplishment actually means to baseball and the Yankees. He’ll be the first Yankee to reach 3,000 hits. He will be a Yankee great that can say he’s greater in one sense of the (statistical) game than the likes of Ruth, Gehrig, Mantle, and all the rest.

    Second, he may be “overpaid” for his efforts on the field and in the statistics, but his impact extends beyond statistics. Sure, I would love if he didn’t bunt to move runners over when he could easily try to drive the ball, but he’s an ambassador of the game and the face of the Yankees franchise. Cashman may have damaged his own image with the way he handled the contract situation in the offseason.

    Finally, his heart and passion for the game is still as strong as ever. He’s a model for the game. He plays it hard and plays it as long as he can stand on two feet. The New York media and (some of the) fan base are the most bipolar people in the entire world as they will praise you one day and appear as if they want to chase you out of town the next. The fact that Jeter has dealt with these surroundings by choice, tells a lot about his character and what he’ll be capable of for the remainder of his contract. No one can tell if this recent surge of gap-hitting is a fluke or if he’s still capable of production.

  10. unclemonkey says:

    I know the Yankee fans turn on a lot of players, but I really don’t believe they will turn on Jeter. For instance, just over a month ago when Posada was benched for hitting under 200, the fans stood for him. Players like Jeter, Rivera and Posada will always be loved as they are now becoming legends. I look at the stats of the whole Yankee team right now and try to figure out how they have such a good record – I guess it’s all the home runs. Congrats to DJ for hitting 3000 and doing it in style with a HR!

  11. Chris, we maybe seeing a declining Derek Jeter, but I would not write him off just yet. It was only 2 years ago that he hit .334. Even last year, he still had 179 hits. He just signed a contract for a guaranteed $51 million dollars so he is going to be given every opportunity to produce. Jeter still makes all the routine plays in the field. His potential replacement, Eduardo Nunez, has made 10 errors. Jeter has had a career of magical moments. Even look at the way he hit his 3,000th hit, a home run. I suspect he still has a little magic left. For more thoughts on this subject, take a look at my blog: http://tothepointsports.wordpress.com/2011/07/08/can-derek-jeter-get-to-4000-hits/

  12. Have to agree with Charles L. Freeman. We all know that Derek Jeter is in a decline, but we cannot downplay what he has done for baseball and the fact that he one of the greatest players to ever play the game.

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