By Jason Klein
You couldn’t pick just one.
We sat together, inside Yankee Stadium, and I asked you to decide which of your Titles meant the most to you. You couldn’t do it.
“‘96, ‘98, ‘99, 2000, 2009…All five of them,” you said. “We won all of those years.”
Well, Derek, the debate ends with your newest title:
There is nothing more special or rewarding than being a father – especially to a little girl. I’ve got two of them. They changed my life, and your little bambina will change yours too.
For twenty years, you played shortstop. Now, you’ll stop short of nothing to make your daughter smile. You once carried the weight of New York on your shoulders, but there is no greater responsibility than fatherhood. Dressed in Jumpman, you’ll jump, man, every time she needs your help. For her, Mr. November will be Mr. Everyday.
You’ll flip for her! You’ll want to dive into everything that interests her. You’ll be her champion and her captain. Number 2 will be her Number 1.
No doubt, being a Dad is hard work. She’ll wear you out, like a doubleheader in mid-August. You’ll get less sleep than a west coast trip. She’ll throw you more curve balls than Pedro Martinez and ask more questions than the New York media. She’ll demand your very best each and every day.
You’re battle-tested, though. I saw you rise to the occasion for two decades in Pinstripes. You were a role model for a generation of fans. Now you’ll serve in the same capacity for your daughter.
The world needs more strong, successful young women. Be sure to pass on your work ethic and leadership abilities to her. Teach her to be classy, accountable, carry herself with dignity, be professional and respectful…just as you were. Empower her to be confident, do what makes her happy and be who she wants to be.
These are all messages I try to convey to my two young daughters each day.
After your final game at Yankee Stadium, when reflecting back on your career, you said, “I’ve never taken it for granted, but it goes a lot quicker than you could imagine.” Remember this while you’re rolling around on the floor playing with your new baby girl. Enjoy it all. Like your twenty years in the Bronx, it will go faster than you think.
Unlike your previous Championships, your latest title won’t have all the fanfare. There will be no cheering, no press, no parades or rings. Your fans won’t celebrate this title, but you should. It’s your most important one to date.Follow @ByJasonKlein
Connect With Jason