Dear Derek Jeter,
I just wanted to take a break from crying to say thank you. I wanted to say thank you for all that you have done for the Yankees and all you have done for baseball. It seems silly to think that one player could have such an impact on the sport, but you proved everyone wrong. Who would have guessed that this string-bean kid from Michigan would be the face of baseball for over twenty years? It seems like a fairy tale, almost.
Derek, I also wanted to take this moment to apologize for not jumping on the Jeter-train sooner. I am sorry during the 2001 World Series I chanted “Derek Jeter is a cheater!”. You have never been a cheater and I am sorry. I am not sorry the Yanks lost, but I am sorry I couldn’t appreciate your team and your talent. Perhaps I was too young to understand, but I am old enough now. I can look back and smile at everything that happened that year. Whenever I see the clip of you becoming “Mr.November”, I cheer. When I see everything you have done in the post-season, I smile. I am so sorry I thought so poorly of you when I was younger. I was wrong. Dead wrong.
I have your name on the back of a t-shirt. Whenever I wear it, people seem to understand what the name represents. Even Red Sox fans don’t mock me when I wear that shirt. Who would’ve thought that a player could transcend the biggest rivalry in sports? Thank you, Jeets, for being an ambassador.
Thank you for being such a classy figure. Yes, you dated every model on planet earth and a few actresses, but you kept it classy the whole way. The way you handle yourself is amazing. You are the definition of a true professional. The way you “re2pect” the game in enviable. No matter what shenanigans are happening within the clubhouse or off the field, you never wavered. You never caused drama. You stood above it all, like a New York skyscraper. I am also sorry for that cheesy simile. I had to do it, I couldn’t just let that reference go!
I am sorry I never got to watch you play in person. Living in AZ makes it kinda tricky, but I am super sad that I never got to see The Captain right in front of me. It’s more a hardship for me than it is for you, but I just thought I would say sorry I could never lend my voice in cheering for you. I am sorry I never cheered your name during role call, unless you count me cheering it from my sofa. I was there in spirit, but for some reason, that is just not good enough.
I am hoping you send me $2 because that is what you owe me for kleenex. I have gone through a few boxes crying these last few days, crying because I was sad to see you go and crying because I am happy I got to witness your greatness in the last few years. I know times were tough these last couple of years, but you stuck with it. You never once wanted an injury to end your career, which just shows what kind of a player you are. You called the shots, just like you always have. You wouldn’t let anyone else tell you when you were finished. Thank God.
Lastly, I wanted to say thank you for being an inspiration to me. You know what? An “inspiration” just doesn’t cut it. You are far more than that to me. I think the better word is “hero”. You, Derek Jeter, are one of my heroes. If someone asked me for a list of my heroes, it would be (in no particular order): Jesus, my parents, Bruce Springsteen, the guy who created mac and cheese shaped like SpongeBob, my cat Willey (RIP), and Derek Jeter. That is quite a cast of company you keep! You should be honored! (You know, Derek, if you wanna hear about my cat Willey, you should write me back. It’s quite a story!)
Anyway, I could write a book about your awesomeness. I am sure I am forgetting to say something right now! Your hits, your doubles, your signature plays, your batting average, your accolades, the list goes on and on. Sure, that stuff is important, but I think I speak for all fans when I say that you will be remembered for so much more. You will be remembered as one of the greatest Yankees of all time, and not only that, but one of the greatest baseball players of all time.
I will see you again in 5 years when you are making your Hall of Fame speech. Maybe I will show up for that. After all, it’s the least I could do.
Thank you, Derek. Thank you, Captain. Thank you, hero.
I will miss you!