View Full Version : The death to loyalty and admiration for our aging sports heroes

05-06-2011, 10:25
The one thing in sports that is inevitable is that age will eventually take the skill of even our greatest sports heroes. No matter how transcendent, or legendary the athlete was, one day, far too soon for most of us, his skills will depart, and it will be time to say goodbye.

This regrettably is life, no matter the business, no matter how long it takes, sooner or later a blossoming talent will eventually replace the old battle-scarred veteran, and life will move on.

For the past few weeks I have written a few articles defending Derek Jeter against the seemingly endless onslaught of negative media stories, and unrequited WFAN callers. I am not desperately trying to keep one of the greats around longer than he is supposed to be, but rather I am trying to show the fans that he deserves more respect, and that his skills have not diminished to the point of retirement just yet.

I would be classified by any Yankee fan as a "hater", each day my favorite teams are the Mets, and whoever is playing the Yankees that night. I have played, and managed in this game for almost 40 years, and I given more to it, than most fans could ever imagine. My scars, broken bones, and operations on everything from shoulders, to shattered orbital bones, are testament for my love of baseball.

My love of Derek Jeter is born out of respect of how he played the game on the field, and how he conducted his life off of it. While I cursed his name when he made the "Toss" in Oakland, or when he displayed his November heroics, he none-the-less has earned my respect and admiration.

Ruth, Mantle, Mays, Ripken, and so many other names have come and gone, but in all these cases, the fans wanted, even prayed for just one more moment in the sun for our beloved hero's. Every time we go through this cycle our hearts hurt, and we swear nothing will ever fill the emptiness we feel, but as always someone takes our hero's place and fills the void left by his departure.

For over 100 years we have seen this scene played out in sports over and over again., Our hero's standing on the podium letting all of us know that he has finally given into the reality of life, and it was time to hang up the cleats forever, and move on to a new chapter in their lives.

So, what I am watching unfold with Jeter as he enters the twilight of his illustrious baseball life, is unbelievable to me. In my heart I am saddened how the fans have lost the ability to love our sports stars.

To me "Love" means holding onto something that normally you would have long ago dis-guarded. An old sweatshirt, torn, stained and filled with holes, but your new wife wants to disguard it without so much of a thought for it's true meaning. Knowing that poor old shirt won't survive another wash she carelessly throws it in the rag bin, or even worse the garbage. In your eyes you do not see the tears, or the holes, you see only memories of a time in your life long forgotten. The torn, and ragged cuff reminds you of a joyous time, playing with friends that have long ago moved away. A grass stain rekindles the feeling you had when you made that unbelievable diving catch in the outfield, and for that one moment it made you feel what it was like to be Willie Mays. So when your wife callously throws it in the garbage, you get upset, and even angry of how she treated something so special.

Not long ago we use to feel the same way we did about that shirt as we did with our sports hero's. Each night we would dream of playing like them, we defend their actions to a fault, we would get up to bat in a little league game, and almost perfectly mirror our hero's stance. We would do our best to become like them.

A whole generation of Yankee fans did their best to copy the Mickey Mantle run, they would try as hard as they might to re-enact the Mantle jaunt when he was legging out a double. Kids and adults alike would swing like Mickey, hoping beyond hope that one day the ball would meet the bat, and as that wondrous white leather ball arched high into a cloudless blue sky we would for one brief moment in time touch his greatness.

Now it is Jeter's time, but instead of Yankee fans fighting on behalf of their proud legend, they disparage him to the point of almost wishful thinking of their cross town rivals short stop taking over the position held so admirably for almost two decades by Jeter.

In another lifetime such thoughts would have been unthinkable, but today's fans not only openly speak such treason, but they advocate for its reality.

Today's sports fans say "What have you done for me lately?" So, I am disheartened that I may never see the day again when we speak of our sports hero's in a way that truly honors their sacrifices.

Derek Jeter deserves the Yankee fans respect, and admiration for bringing them so many warm summer days filled with jubilation, and more than a handful of cool autumn nights bountiful with celebrations.

By Dominick Mezzapesa
wfan caller Dominick from Hicksville
Twitter @dmezz1120
Email Mezz1962@gmail.com

05-06-2011, 15:15
I think this should be sent to The true Yankees fan Mike Francesa @wfan660 he claims to be a Hugh Yankees fan and all I can see is him putting them down especially Derek Jeter, Francesa does not know what loyal is. I am very upset with the fans and their lack of loyalty. Thank you Dmezz that even as a Mets fan and Yankees hater you can see the right thing to do.

The Boss
05-07-2011, 00:04
This is too much of a fantasy sports world now. Personally I'll be fine with Jeter batting lead off until it is very clear he just can not hit at all or field his position anymore. That wont be for awhile. With that being said, you have to know when the players time has come.

05-12-2011, 10:11
As a Mets fan, it pains me to admit this, but Jeter is still one of the better short stops in the league. Yes, he's always been over rated, especially defensively, but how many teams would kill to have .271/.322/.338 from their short stop? The World Series Champs are desperately clinging to Miguel Tejada, who is producing way less than Jeter. I can't even name half the starting SS in MLB without looking it up.

This whole episode merely cements my low opinion of most Yankee fans.

Jimmy from Brooklyn
05-13-2011, 08:30
Yankee fans like to compare Jeter to the other players on his team, or to himself from years past. They don't compare him to ALL the other shortstops in the game.