Remember, when I said “Dear Yankee Fans…. Chill Out”? Maybe, I spoke too quickly.
The 12th inning cast a very different pallor on a relatively young ALCS last night. As the Yankees’ future Hall of Fame shortstop, Derek Jeter, was helped off the field, even the Tigers dugout was hushed.
Most of those players had grown up watching Jeter and the New York Yankees.
“We’re all big Derek Jeter fans since we were younger,” outfielder Delmon Young said. “Watching the World Series and everything from the 1996 one until the recent once. But, you know, we all grew up playing backyard baseball wanting to win the World Series either with the Yankees or having to get through the Yankees to get to the World Series. Especially with Derek Jeter as their catalyst.
“We’d love to see him out playing with us and playing against him, because it is really fun playing the Yankees, especially with Derek Jeter healthy,” Young continued. Doug Fister, last night’s start for Detroit, talked about watching Jeter as he grew up. “To see a fellow ballplayer to go down it definitely is a hit for our game,” Fister said. “Our hearts go out to him.”
Ok. This is not a career ending injury. However, Jeter is out for the rest of the 2012 playoffs. This will be the first October the Yankees have experienced in sixteen years that will be without Derek Jeter.
Grant it. When Mariano Rivera got hurt, the Yankees were left for dead. Jeter’s injury doesn’t preclude an early Yankees exit from the playoffs. The Yankees have come back from far worse.
Derek Jeter was, at the time of his injury, the strongest Yankee this playoff.
Written off as an aging star after slumping in 2010, Jeter struggled to adapt to a no-stride swing in `11. He wound up on the disabled list for only the fifth time in his seventeen full seasons in the big leagues with a calf injury. He returned revitalized, go his 3,000th hit and finishing strong.
This year Jeter surged. It’s hard to believe, but 38-year-old Jeter posted a remarkable season. He batted .316 with an American League-leading 216 hits. He carried that over to the postseason, hitting .364 against the Orioles.
Earlier Saturday, Jeter became the first player in baseball history to reach 200 hits in the postseason with a single in the second off Doug Fister. He was left stranded, though, a problem for the Yankees these playoffs. If the New York Yankees were a train, they would be pulling into the station missing a couple of wheels and part of the breaks. Sure, they’re showing up on time (i.e. winning), but how long can this keep going? Robinson Cano, Curtis Granderson and Nick Swisher are in playoff funks. Alex Rodriguez, one of the greatest players in baseball history, is in worse shape. He’s been benched now on more than one occasion in this young playoff season. The Yankees also seem to have a problem lacing more than one win together. Jeter was one of the few constants, along with statistical anomaly and late-game guru, Raul Ibanez, in the Yankees’ lineup.