Written by: Curt Ashcraft (@cashcraft740)
Edited by: Tommy Parrill (@DearTommy)
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As of late, the New York Yankees have not been in the limelight for their stellar record (only 55-50) or even another blockbuster trade (which they haven't had lately), but more because of the drama that has become the Alex Rodriguez situation. It is obvious that Rodriguez wants back in the bigs and the Yankees are doing whatever it takes to keep him out. Whether Major League Baseball comes down on A-Rod or not, the Yankees and MLB saw their most important asset return just one day ago.
When the New York Yankees took the field on Sunday afternoon to avoid a sweep of the Tampa Bay Rays, Hideki Matsui was retiring as a Yankee, Alfonso Soriano was back in pinstripes and most importantly, the captain, Derek Jeter, was back in the Yankee lineup. For those of you that know me, I am the farthest thing from a Yankees fan, but you have to admit, that was a pretty special day. As Jeter stepped up to the plate in the bottom of the 1st, all it took was one pitch. The first pitch he saw from Tampa's Matt Moore was sent into Yankee oblivion as it now belonged to the outfield seats. Derek Jeter (or the man that my grandpa calls, "pretty boy") went 2 for 4 with 2 runs scored in his return from the DL, but his return meant much more to the Bronx Bombers than a couple of runs.
Derek Jeter has been the face of the Yankees organization for almost two decades now. He may not be the player that he used to be, but Jeter is still as important to New York as the first day that he joined the big club. His role has changed from being a consistent hitter and talented shortstop to now being a leader in the clubhouse and somehow still raking a clutch hit from time to time. Even though his role has changed, #2 is still a presence in the ballpark and will always be a game changer.
There is no question about it that the Yankees are still a very talented team but Jeter has a magnitude about him that gives his team a sense of hope and a jolt. His energy also makes its way outside the diamond. The fans adore him, the women love him (damn, do they love him) and even his haters respect him. It is something to be said for a guy to stay on the same team for his entire career, but doing it the way that Jeter has done it, you begin to get the feeling that Jeter is just as important to New York as New York is to Jeter.
The news and media may be all on the Rodriguez train at this moment, but we all know who the real headline in New York is. Derek Jeter has been the handsome and talented king of the Big Apple for over 18 seasons, and even though he has some years on him, apparently he still only needs one pitch to change the game.