Yankee shortstop Derek Jeter recorded his 2,994 career hit Monday night before leaving the game with a serious calf strain. Though it would always be noteworthy when an All-Star and prominent player leaves a game with an injury, the Jeter thing has gotten an inordinate amount of coverage because the Yankees only have three games left on their current homestand.
Apparently, Jeter has been pressing really hard to pick up his 3,000th hit at Yankee Stadium, in front of the home crowd. Now, I’m a really big Yankee fan and, by virtue of my age and the time I became truly interested in baseball, I’m just as big a Jeter fan as the next guy, but I really don’t care where he records he 3,000th.
If anything, I think it would be kind of cool if he did it in Wrigley. (Even though he likely won’t play in the Chicago Cubs series)
I’m not exactly sure why this is such a big deal. It’s not because he wants to get the hit in front of his family, lord knows he and the Yankees have the money to get them seats for every game, no matter where it is. It’s also not for the standing ovation he’d inevitably get. He’s Derek Jeter, wherever he is (outside, maybe, of Boston) the guy’s going to get a huge cheer for the historic hit. I guess you could say it’s for the 45,000 random fans who happened to get tickets for that night; so that they could say they saw the Captain’s big hit but I doubt even Jeter is that virtuous. So I’m really not sure what all the fuss is about. I actually think it would speak more to Jeter’s professionalism and sense of duty if he got the hit on the road.
It might be about the uniform. Maybe Jeter knows that the video of this hit will live on for years and years and he wants to be wearing the Yankee pinstripes. I think I could understand that sentiment though I’m not sure I agree with it. I think the gray road unis with ‘New York’ written across the chest are just as iconic as the home garb.
Also, let’s be honest here, Jeter is hitting .260 this season. That means he’s averaging only slightly more than one hit per 4 ABs. Even if he didn’t get hurt last night, the averages say he’d only get three or four hits over the next three games, not the 6 he needs for 3,000. I’m not trying to say it would impossible for him to do it against Texas, just that it’s anything from a foregone conclusion.
Moral of the story is it really doesn’t matter where Jeter is when he gets that magical 3,000 hit. We can still celebrate him and his accomplishments no matter he’s physically located. Some may think that it was a bigger deal to be at home when he set the Yankee career hit record last season than getting his 3,00th this year.
Be sure to visit Off The Bench for more great baseball articles.Follow paulmbanks