You don’t need to be a sports fan to know this is Derek Jeter’s final week as a professional baseball player.
The 40-year-old, lifelong Yankee is probably the most iconic baseball player to play the game in the last two decades. For those who started watching baseball in the early- to mid-90s, and watched his career progress before our very eyes, it’s not unfair to say he’s our generation’s Mickey Mantle, as far as stature goes.
But not every single day.
Jeter announced his retirement before this season started. By doing so, he set himself up for an extravagant farewell tour in which he’d be celebrated in every city he entered. It’s been happening for five months.
The Yankees were eliminated from playoff contention on Wednesday afternoon, meaning Thursday night is his final Yankees home game. The crowd is going to support him like no other, and if you’re a baseball fan, it’s probably something you should try to see.
And then, that’ll be it, and we can all finally move on with our everyday lives.
I get that Jeter was a model citizen. He was never arrested. He was never accused of drugs. He’s never beaten women. He’s also charitable. I’m sure he smells great, too.
But no man deserves to be celebrated this much. It’s over the top.
He’s not the first man on the moon. He didn’t cure cancer. He didn’t convince Simon and Garfunkel to finally put aside their differences and reunite for an epic concert. He played baseball.
So let’s just keep that in perspective. Let’s cheer him for these final games, but all this “Re2pect” nonsense, the NIKE commercials, the murals … those I could do without.
He got to make a living playing a game every day for 20 years. Is that not enough of a reward?
Let’s change things up and honor people who don’t get recognition: the postal workers, sanitation workers, firefighters and plumbers of the world. These are people who do jobs that need to be done. If no one did them, our society would crumble.
So next time your mailman comes around to give you your correspondence, give them a standing ovation. Shower him or her with love. Throw confetti at them.
They are the true blue collar workers.
… I could have just saved all of you time if I revealed right away that I am a Mets fan.