Derek Jeter to retire after the 2014 season

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Simultaneously surprising and not surprising: Derek Jeter has announced that 2014 will be his last season.

Surprising because it’s going to be hard to imagine baseball without Derek Jeter’s presence. His injuries last season aside, the New York Yankees shortstop has been baseball’s constant for nearly 20 years.  Not surprising because he turns 40 in June and that’s a couple of years beyond even the greatest, longest-lived and most durable shortstops in the game.  He sounds like he’ll be ready for the upcoming season, but there cannot be too much more gas left in the tank.

As it stands entering his final year, Jeter has five World Series rings, five gold gloves and 3,316 hits and a career line of .312/.381/.446. He punched his first-ballot ticket to the Hall of Fame years ago. Now he’s playing for the right to go out healthy, on his own terms and, if things break right for the Yankees, a winner.

Prepare for six months of “Let’s win one more for the Captain.” And a lot of retirement gifts.

Here is Jeter’s announcement, as posted on his Facebook page:

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Jim Crane thought the heat over sign-stealing would blow over by spring training

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The Astros’ sign-stealing story broke in November, a steady drumbeat of coverage of it lasted through December and into January, when Rob Manfred’s report came out about it. The report was damning and, in its wake, Houston’s manager and general manger were both suspended and then fired.

After that a steady stream of media reports came out which not only made the whole affair seem even worse than Manfred’s report suggested, but which also suggested that, on some level, Major League Baseball had bungled it all and it was even worse than it had first seemed.

Rather than Manfred and the Astros putting this all behind them, the story grew. As it grew, both the Red Sox and Mets fired their managers and, in a few isolated media appearances, Astros’ players seemed ill-prepared for questions on it all. Once spring training began the Astros made even worse public appearances and, for the past week and change, each day has given us a new player or three angrily speaking out about how mad they are at the Astros and how poorly they’ve handled all of this.

Why have they handled it so poorly? As always, look to poor leadership:

Guess not.

In other news, Crane was — and I am not making this up — recently named the Houston Sports Executive of the Year. An award he has totally, totally earned, right?