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Tom Jones' Two Cents

Sports analysis, perspective and more.

I love Derek Jeter



Jeter I love Derek Jeter. Not the leave-my-wife-and-kids-and-run-away-with-him kind of love. But a I-could-watch-him-play-all-day-and-feel-good-about-it kind of love.

It didn't used to be that way. I used to hate Derek Jeter. I hated the Yankees and Jeter represented everything I hated. Too good. Too perfect. Too ... too ... Yankee.

I hated how he jumped out of the way of an inside pitch even though I swear half the time the pitch was actually a strike. I hated how he stood on the top step of the dugout to greet a teammate because I was convinced he only did it to get on TV and have everyone say, "See what a good teammate Derek Jeter is?'' I hated how he would arrogantly pump his fist after a victory.

Then it all changed. Like any great love affair, I can't exactly tell you what it is that made me fall head over heals -- well, in a baseball sort of way -- with Jeter. It just happened. Suddenly, I just realized that we're watching one of the greatest players of all time. He can field, run, hit, hit in the clutch, lead. And, really when you think about it, he's a class act on the field, never showing anyone up or hot-dogging or loafing.

But, more importantly, he has been a class act off the field. Even though he's young, single and living in the Big Apple, you never hear any junk about him. He doesn't get drunk and start fights in nightclubs. He doesn't get caught going 95 in a 55 mph zone. He hasn't been in rehab. He doesn't have member of his entourage getting busted for carrying guns or any of that. I'm not even sure he has an entourage. Sure, he dates a ton of women, it seems, but he IS single and you never hear any of his former girlfriends trashing him in the tabloids.

Even though he plays for the most famous team in sports (at least in this country) you never hear any Derek_4 controversy. He doesn't run his teammates down to the media. He doesn't complain about the manager or the fans. He doesn't complain about anything, at least not publicly. Even during the days when there was an alleged feud between him and A-Rod, you never heard anything coming out of Jeter's mouth.

Then I realize all the obligations he has -- to the fans, to the media, to the league, to New York, to baseball in general. He handles it all with a smile. And with class. Jeter is one of the most recognizable athletes in the country, but he doesn't act like a big shot. In the end, you realize Jeter acts on and off the field like we would like to believe we would all act if we were lucky enough to play shortstop for the New York Yankees. He acts like you would like your son to act if he played professional baseball: with a passion, with success, with class. We should all love Derek Jeter. Even you, Red Sox Nation.

[Last modified: Monday, June 14, 2010 2:40pm]


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