Mike Lupica reflects on the End of The Jeter Era and he has some hard truths to tell you all: the party is over. When Jeter is gone, so too is everything great about the Yankees. And, while all of those championship rings were great . . .
. . . once Jeter is gone, there is no one who connects to any of that. There really is no one. It is why the notion that Jeter got too much money in that last contract scrum he had with the Yankees a few years ago was always so chowderheaded, and short-sighted. Or it was just people just thinking and saying what the people running the Yankees wanted them to think and say. You could never properly quantify what Jeter has meant to the brand, and still means . . . The Yankees will go on, and will win again. It just won’t be like the winning they got from Jeter and Bernie and Mo, Pettitte and Posada. And Paul O’Neill. There will never again be a time like this. Jeter takes that with him. They can buy a lot at Yankee Stadium, maybe even one more postseason for Derek Jeter.
But when he goes, in all the ways that matter at the Stadium, there is no one.
If you’ll excuse me, I’ll be digging into the microfiche to find those columns about how “it’s all over, there is no one” following Babe Ruth, Lou Gehirg, Joe DiMaggio, and Mickey Mantle’s retirements. About how, once Reggie left for Anaheim, the Yankees ceased to be. Or maybe I’ll find a bit less maudlin sentiment and a bit more perspective. Who knows until I look!
Or maybe I’ll just note that A-Rod was the driving force behind the last Yankees championship and that he’ll still be around next year. And, before you say that Lupica isn’t considering that, oh baby, he is:
What does Alex Rodriguez think about when he watches the reception Jeter got in Minneapolis the other night?
What does Rodriguez think about when he watches the All-Star Game?
Does he finally have some awareness that he did this to himself, or is he still blaming everybody else — including the lawyers he hasn’t paid — for everything that has ever happened to him?
I’m assuming he’s thinking far less about it than Lupica is.