Monday, October 15, 2012

So Long Sweet Captain

On Saturday night one of the most devastating things to ever happen in New York Yankees history took place. Just months after we watched in horror as Mariano Rivera was carted off the field, Derek Jeter overextended himself playing on an already bruised ankle without taking even a day off. The captain is pretty much the epitome of a team player. The man got his 3,000th hit in incredible fashion, but was happier that his team won the game that it came in. His team clinched the AL East pennant midway through the last game of the season and as his teammate celebrated, Jeter's expression never changed and as he explained, they still had a game to finish and win.
So on Saturday night, when Jeter fielded a ball in the top of the twelfth inning and neither finished the play nor got up afterwards, we knew something was terribly wrong. The captain just laid there, with pure anguish and pain on his face. The stadium went quiet, hell, it felt like all of New York went quiet. With the exception of seeing Mariano carted off this past May with a torn ACL, I have never been in such a deep depression surrounding the Yankees. Sure I've seen them knocked out of the playoffs and even lose the World Series, but the shock and horror of losing the heart and soul of the organization is a pain almost impossible to shake. When Mo got hurt we thought his career might be over. We prayed and now we've  seen  him  back  in  pinstripes  to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at last Wednesday's ALCS game three. When Jeter went down we
knew it was bad, when he was carried off the field putting no weight at all on his left leg we knew it was worse, but the announcement by Joe Girardi after the game sealed his fate. Broken ankle, six week recovery, out for the remainder of the 2012 postseason. Even typing those words now is hard. It's bad enough that Jeet won't play, but on Sunday it was announced that he's in Charlotte, North Carolina meeting with undoubtedly the best foot specialist in the country and he will not be traveling to Detroit with the team for games three, four, and five of the ALCS.
This may be the biggest blow of them all. Of course we want DJ3K in the field and probably more so behind the plate leading off, but a locker room without Derek Jeter? Flights to and from Detroit, work outs, batting practices, time spent in the locker room and dug out without the captain, the heart and soul of this franchise? The guy who has been there since 1996 day in and day out, the guy who has played in every single Yankees postseason game since October 1995. I really don't know if this team can move forward and win another game without him. At first I thought maybe Alex Rodriguez could go back to shortstop, after all he won the Golden Glove twice and won the Silver Slugger and made the All Star team seven times each as a short stop. Girardi says it's been too long to put him back there, but could anything be much worse than what we're seeing right now? The Yanks ended up losing the Saturday night game following Jeter's injury, and they looked like they were moving in slow motion Sunday from the first pitch to the last out.

Starting the ALCS down two games and now traveling to Detroit to face Verlander, really seems like the end of the 2012 run. I hope I'm wrong. I hope Jeter's absence wakes up the rest of our bats and these guys go out there, give it all they've got, and bring the whole damn thing home for their captain, but I really don't see it happening. Here I am in a deep Yankees depression with no end in sight. Either way, next season will bring a ton of changes, but most importantly, it will bring the triumphant return of Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera. I can't wait.

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