Jeter Keeps it Simple: More Winning, Less Talking

By Jason Klein

As Seen in In New York Magazine  – 6/25/12

Derek Jeter doesn’t want to talk about himself.  Heck, he doesn’t even want to hear someone else talk about him.

Believe me.  I tried.

I met with Jeter on Tuesday afternoon, at his place of business, Yankee Stadium.  A group of fifty children had just finished up an on-field clinic, coordinated by Steiner Sports Marketing, and had since gathered out in the centerfield bleachers.  Sitting along with their parents, they anxiously awaited their chance to chat with the Captain of the Yankees.

Jeter Was Humble During Our Talk.

I was there to emcee the question and answer session – a staple of most Steiner Sports events – and decided to give Jeter the type of introduction an athlete of his stature rightfully deserves.  I was prepared to mention his Rookie of the Year Award, all of the Gold Gloves, the All-Star appearances, “The Flip,” “The Dive,” the fist pumps, his 3,000 hits, and of course, his 5 World Series Rings.  It was the proper thing to do, no question.

Jeter arrived on time sporting his familiar game day attire, personalized Brand Jordan cleats, and Yankees cap pulled down low – like his reputation, the curve on his brim was flawless.  Everyone stopped to stare at him upon his arrival, as if Superman had entered the building.   A hero to Yankees fans, the shortstop was wearing his signature “Jeter Shield” logo across his chest, instead of a Super “S.”

I sat down next to Jeter – we shared a bleacher seat – took a deep breath, briefly introduced myself to the audience, and then began my pinstriped soliloquy:

“I have the pleasure of introducing someone who really doesn’t need an introduction…” I started.

Then, it happened.

“So don’t introduce me…hi everyone!” interrupted Jeter.

Derek Jeter cut me off like an errant throw from the outfield.  I quickly recovered.

“I’ll do it anyway,” I said.

I was determined to deliver my premeditated homage to the star player.   I continued:

“The guy right here to my right, drafted by the Yankees…”

It happened again.

“No, no, no, you don’t have to do all that,” Jeter interjected again.  This time, defiantly waiving his arms above his head.  “Hi, I’m Derek.”  He said.

He’s just Derek.  Simple as that.

The Kalamazoo Kid has never been one to hog the spotlight, or discuss his personal achievements.  It’s just not his style.  Throughout his legendary career, Derek Jeter has maintained a very consistent message.  His priorities are his teammates, and his mission statement is to win championships.  Period.

It’s a theme that permeated our chat.

Jeter was asked to decipher which of his seventeen seasons he cherished most.  His answer was confident, and decisive, like his swing.

“‘96, ‘98, ‘99, 2000, and 2009.  All five of them,” Jeter said.  “We won all of those years.”

Many of the little sluggers listening in weren’t born when confetti rained down on those teams from the late nineties.  I asked Jeter to explain to them what made those World Series teams so special.  His response reinforced his selfless stance.

Jeter Larger Than Life With Fans.

“The only thing we cared about was winning.   That was it.  We didn’t care about statistics.  I can’t tell you what anyone hit on those particular teams, but I can tell you we won a lot of games.  The only thing that mattered to us was winning.”

When asked for his thoughts on potentially catching Pete Rose and his record 4,256 career hits, Jeter dodged the question admitting, “I’m just trying to make it to 7:00 tonight.  Rose is a long way away.”

I couldn’t break him.  His team-oriented responses are polished, professional, and genuine.  He consistently looks you in the eye with every noble word he speaks.

He’s just as dependable on the field.  He shot down any notion he plays differently in big games against the rival Red Sox, stating: “There are more fans, but I try to play the same all the time.”

Jeter was unflappable throughout the session, hitting all of his points with the same consistency he does a baseball.

One audience member wondered how Jeter was able to get over the 2004 ALCS collapse to the Red Sox, admitting he had not yet recovered.  Jeter responded with: “Time to let it go buddy.”  Then adding, “When you lose it’s tough, but you have to be able to turn the page.”

The reply gave insight into his tremendous composure and focus on the field.

Rather than boast about his triumphs, Jeter chose to use the open forum to communicate uplifting messages to the throng of adoring kids.  He urged them to “get good grades,” and “be willing to work harder than everyone else.”  He also told them to “try and have fun and stay as positive as possible.”

There is no one in the game more positive than Jeter.  Always confident and smiling, Jeter tries to avoid all negativity, a trait that will ultimately keep him out of the broadcast booth once his Hall of Fame career comes to an end.

“I have a hard time criticizing people,” he said.  “There’s no chance I’ll ever be in the broadcast booth.  I know what it’s like to fail.  I know what it’s like to be out there and struggle.”

He also knows a lot about success.  He’s had a ton of it over the course of his seventeen seasons with the Yankees.

You could ask him about all of his triumphs.  Chances are, he won’t elaborate too much.  You see, Derek Jeter doesn’t want to talk about himself.  In his eyes, he’s no bigger than anyone else on the team.

He’s just Derek.  Simple as that.

Watch My Interview With Jeter (e-mail for password)

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Here’s The Catch: Posada Should Receive #602 From Mo

By Jason Klein

Originally Written For Ed Randall’s Talking Baseball – 9/13/11

Mariano Rivera is about to catch Trevor Hoffman. When he does, Jorge Posada is the right man to catch Rivera.

The immortal Rivera is just one save shy of 600, two away from joining Hoffman atop the all-time career saves list with 601, and three away from passing him with 602.  After that, there will no doubt be more saves added to Rivera’s first-ballot Hall of Fame resume – the ageless closer currently has a 2.09 ERA, and at age 41, looks as good as he ever has.

Posada Should Hand Ball To Rivera for #602/Getty Images

Perhaps prospects like Jesus Montero or Austin Romine will backstop Rivera’s final career save, sometime in 2012 or beyond.  That’s for another day.  When Rivera collects his 602nd career save, probably sometime in the next week or so, it should be Posada receiving the record-breaking, and no doubt devastating, cutter.

There is no one more fitting to do the honors.

For 13 seasons, from 1998-2010, Posada was a mainstay behind the plate for the Yankees.  Although the switch-hitting catcher was always revered more for his abilities at the plate, rather than behind it, he certainly held his own defensively over the years.  With the acquisition of Russell Martin, and up-and-comers Montero and Romine on the way, Posada was relegated to DH in 2011, getting the occasional start at first base.

He was also embarrassed twice, on national TV.  First he was dropped to 9th in the line up on May 14th, and then he lost his DH job on August 7th – both prior to games with the Red Sox.

Iroinically, when injuries claimed Martin and back up Francisco Cervelli, Posada was thrown behind the plate for the first time all season on September 10th.   However, the Yankees were so disenchanted with the 40-year-old catching, they called up the 22-year-old Romine the next day to take over.

Posada has lost a step, and this will most likely be his final season in pinstripes, but he deserves the opportunity to be a part of history with his battery mate, Rivera.

On July 9th, Posada was the first one to congratulate his long-time teammate Derek Jeter at home plate following his 3,000th career hit.  For 13 seasons, Posada was the first to toast his closer, dropping the ball in his mitt, save after legendary save.  He’s certainly capable of catching one more inning – the ninth of course – during the record-breaking affair.

It’s the right thing to do for a franchise obsessed with history and magical storylines.  There’s no question, the moment will belong to Rivera, but Posada should get to play a small part in the festivities.

“Enter Sandman” will fill the air as Rivera makes his iconic trot to the hill, in hot pursuit of history.  The flashbulbs will be popping that night.  It’s only fair that Posada’s glove is popping too.

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4,000 Career Hits Within Reach for Jeter

By Jason Klein

Originally Written For Ed Randall’s Talking Baseball – 7/9/11

One thousand hits to go.

Derek Jeter will get to 4,000 hits. Guaranteed.  No joke.

Sure, his much celebrated 3,000thhit, a home run off David Price of the Tampa Rays, was only written into the record books earlier today, but there’s no need to let the ink dry before looking ahead.  There are still plenty of base-knocks left in his clutch bat – at least one thousand more to be exact.

4,000 Hits Within Reach for Jeter

That’s how the Captain of the New York Yankees has always operated – good or bad, the past is the past and he will reflect back when his career is over.

Mr. 3,000 now.  DJ4K then.

There will be skeptics.  Many will claim he is slowing down, his skills are diminishing, and that the end is near.  Go ask Yogi, he’ll tell you when it’s over.  Despite what critics say, Jeter will continue to push forward.  That’s all he knows how to do.

He’ll celebrate number 3,000, as he should.  It’s a remarkable achievement – one that only 27 other men in the history of the game can share with him.  He is also the first Yankee to ever reach the milestone.  But Derek Jeter has made a career out of achieving greatness without losing focus.  This will be no different.

When it happens, Jeter will join the only other two players in baseball history to reach the 4,000 hit mark: Pete Rose (4,256) and Ty Cobb (4,189).  It’s easier to compare Jeter with Rose than it is with Cobb.  Widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all-time, Cobb had a 3-year head start on both Jeter and Rose, breaking into the big leagues at age 18.  As a result, he collected his 3,000th hit as a youthful 34 year-old in 1921.

By contrast, both Jeter and Rose broke in as 22 year-old rookies (at age 21, Jeter did play 15 games in 1995, but didn’t qualify as a rookie until 1996).  Also, both players reached career hit number 3,000 at age 37 – Rose got his on May 5, 1978.  Rose went on to play another 8 years, but it only took him 6 more seasons to eclipse 4,000, turning the trick on April 13, 1984 – one day before his 43rd birthday.

Currently, Jeter has 74 hits in 2011, giving him an even 3,000 for his career.  If he collects another 100 hits over the next few months, he will finish the season at 174, and 3,100 for his career – very doable for a player who has averaged 194 hits per year over the last 15 seasons.  Under those very realistic pretenses, Jeter would only have to average 150 hits per year, over the next 6 years, to reach 4,000 by the age of 43 – just like Rose did.

Still don’t think Jeter can do it?  Consider this: he has never failed to reach 150 hits in a single season.  The closest he came was in 2003, a year he lost significant time to a shoulder injury.  He only played 119 games that season, and still had 156 hits.  True, those productive campaigns all came from a much younger Jeter, and he is bound to take a step back as he continues to age, but it won’t be significant enough to prevent one of the most consistent players of all-time from reaching Club 4K.

As Jeter battles both opposing pitchers, and Father Time, en route to 4,000 hits, there are four concessions he must make:

He has to change positions.  Making the move to the outfield, and spending more time as the designated hitter, will make Jeter a more flexible piece within the Yankees plans.  He could even see time in a third base/DH platoon with Alex Rodriguez.  Sure, as a shortstop, he won his fifth Gold Glove Award in 2010 at the age of 36, and continues to prove doubters and statistical analysis wrong, but he won’t be able to keep that up as he gets into his forties.

He must take a pay cut.  Prior to the 2011 season, the Yankees gave Jeter a new contract that takes him through his 40th birthday – the final year is an option year.  The financial terms of the deal were very aggressive for a player of his skill level and age.  However, he got paid, in large part, for his intangibles and his legacy with the franchise.  When this current deal expires, he will need a new three-year deal to reach 4,000 hits.  Jeter will not be able to command the same dollars then.  While money is never an issue for the Yankees, they will have little interest in giving a 40-43 year-old Jeter the same $15-$17M annually that they gave him at age 37.  If Jeter wants to preserve his legacy and collect his monumental 4,000th hit in pinstripes, he has to take less money.

He has to stay healthy and smart.  Jeter, the definition of consistency, has only missed significant time twice in his career – the aforementioned shoulder injury in 2003, and this latest DL stint for a bum calf.  Throughout his career, he has made a habit of playing through injury and shrugging off any suggestion that he might need to take a rest.  For him to successfully make it through the next six seasons, he will need to avoid any major injuries and be smart about which minor ones he decides to play through.  His body will heal slower as a forty-year-old.  He must understand this and not push the envelope and risk further damage and missed time.

He needs to chase a personal goal for once.  Forget Charlie Sheen, Derek Jeter is all about #winning. The unselfish Jeter has never been about personal statistics.  Instead, he focuses all of his efforts towards the team’s mission statement: World Series championships.  That has to change, slightly, during his quest for 4,000 hits.  No doubt, the opportunity to add additional rings to his collection will motivate Jeter to continue playing, but his statistical contribution to the common cause will start to diminish.  He must accept this, check his pride at the door, and be willing to play a few seasons below the “Jeter standard of excellence” in order to compile the necessary hits he needs.

If he can do the four things mentioned, and make 4,000 hits a priority, there is no doubt he will achieve it.  After all, when has Derek Jeter not succeeded at something he set his mind to?

One thousand hits to go.  No joke.

Mr. 3,000 now.  DJ4K then.

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First Pitch

By Jason Klein 

Originally Written For IN New York Magazine – 3/31/11

Time for a fresh start.

A pen rests peacefully on the desk, nestled next to a clean, white, crisp piece of paper.  Together, they will transcribe history.

There are no guidelines or limitations for what’s about to be written.  No guarantees either.  Only hope.

Time to pick up the pen and script a new beginning.

The 2011 Season Starts Today

It’s Opening Day.

Regarded as a pseudo National holiday, the celebration grants all 30 Major League Baseball Clubs a clean slate, and takes place today, and tomorrow, within stadiums across the country.  It’s one of the most anticipated events on the sports calendar.  After a miserably long, cold winter here in the New York area, baseball fans are eager to trade in their snow shovels for Louisville Sluggers and get cracking!

Legendary Yankees Centerfielder, Joe DiMaggio, once said, “You look forward to it like a birthday party when you’re a kid. You think something wonderful is going to happen.”

“Joltin’ Joe” couldn’t have spoken truer words.

Everyone’s a kid on Opening Day.  Children of all ages play hooky from school, and work, properly commemorating the day and basking in its excitement.  It’s an opportunity, as a fan, to believe in the impossible.  Today, everyone’s in first place, and everyone has a chance to achieve greatness.

Even the Mets.

In Queens, Opening Day 2011 is truly the dawn of a new era.  New Manager, Terry Collins and General Manager, Sandy Alderson, replace Jerry Manuel and Omar Minaya, respectively.  New leadership and focus at the top will help a team that looked lost much of 2010.

The 2011 Mets are looking to improve on a paltry 79-83 record, good for 4th place in the National League East last year.  They will have their hands full in a very difficult division.  For the Mets to capture the flag, they will have to go through their long-time rivals, the Atlanta Braves and the Philadelphia Phillies – a team stacked with the most dominant pitching staff in the sport.  If the Phillies were playing poker, they’d confidently go “all in” with their four aces, Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, Cole Hamels, and the newly re-acquired, Cliff Lee.

A successful 2011 season for the Mets will depend on their ability to stay healthy.  Johan Santana, the jewel of the pitching staff, is already in danger of missing the entire season as he recovers from elbow surgery.  Question marks in the outfield could cause problems as well.  Carlos Beltran continues to battle the same knee problems that plagued his 2010 and Jason Bay pulled a rib cage muscle this week, an injury that could send him to the Disabled List to start the season.

The Mets Hope Bay Stays Healthy This Year

If key members of their offense can spend more time in the lineup than the infirmary, this club could contend.  They will have no trouble scoring runs with stars like Jose Reyes and David Wright at the top of their order again this year.  Add a healthy Beltran and Bay to the mix, and the Mets could potentially compete.

Across the river, in the Bronx, a new season brings the same expectations: an October date with the jeweler.  That’s when the Yankees hope to be fitted for World Series rings commemorating another championship, the 28th in franchise history.

Like the Mets, the Bronx Bombers will have no trouble scoring runs in 2011.  Superstars like Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira and Robinson Cano round out the heart of a devastating lineup and will do most of the damage for the Yankees.  Expect a big offensive year from Curtis Granderson as well, as he looks to rebound from a subpar inaugural season in pinstripes.

The face of the franchise, Derek Jeter, will also try to improve upon a statistically poor offensive 2010 season.  Now 36 years-old, The Captain will look to silence critics by still producing at a superstar level. Jeter will make history this summer, becoming the first Yankee to collect 3,000 hits in pinstripes.  He enters the season only 74 hits shy of the mark –he should get there by mid-June.

The key to the entire Yankees season is an unlikely one: A.J. Burnett.  With Andy Pettitte’s retirement, and Cliff Lee’s decision to take his talents to Philly instead of the Bronx, Burnett’s shoulders might get sore carrying the added expectations.  CC Sabathia will be solid at the top of the rotation, as usual, but he’ll need help.  Burnett must carry his weight and turn the page on a disastrous 2010 season, recapturing the magic on the mound that helped bring the Yankees a Title in 2009.

Should the train go off the track early on, look for General Manager, Brian Cashman, to make some moves and shore up the rotation before the trading deadline.  With two stud catching prospects in Jesus Montero and Austin Romine, the Yanks might have the chips to land a top starter via trade.  Promoting the young, and highly regarded pitching prospect, Manuel Banuelos, is another option.

Derek Jeter Will Reach The 3,000 Hit Milestone in 2011

The acquisition of Rafael Soriano should compliment the legendary, Mariano Rivera, joining forces to form a dominant backend of the bullpen.  With those two, the Yankees will certainly have no problem finishing games.

Before they can finish though, everyone has to start.  It begins this afternoon, in the Bronx, with the Yankees and Tigers.  It continues tomorrow night with the Mets and Marlins in Miami.  Time to pick up the pen and begin documenting history.

It’s a fresh start.  It’s Opening Day.

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Believe it. Pettitte One Of Most Reliable Yankees Pitchers Ever.

By Jason Klein

Originally Written For The Official Steiner Sports Blog – 2/3/11

Trust Andy Pettitte.

For sixteen seasons, he dramatically stared down opposing batters and came up big in the biggest of spots.  More times than not, Pettitte delivered, earning the trust of his teammates and his fans alike.  Tomorrow afternoon, Pettitte will stare down a throng of media at Yankee Stadium to announce his retirement.  When he does, trust him when he says, he’s thrown his final pitch in baseball.

Pettitte will not pull a “Brett Favre” and un-retire.  He gave the game of baseball, and the New York Yankees specifically, everything he had.  Joe Namath once said, “If you aren’t going all the way, why go at all?”  Pettitte, a workhorse, and a perfectionist on the mound, must have asked himself this very question.  Most likely, the answer wasn’t up to his standard of excellence and he decided to move on rather than perform at a level below what he expects.

Pettitte’s Reliability Will Be Tough To Replace.

So Andy Pettitte will call it a career.  One of the most beloved and reliable players in Yankees history, he will retire a 3-Time All-Star and a 5-Time World Series Champion.  He is the all-time leader in Postseason victories (19), finishes with a 240-138 career regular season mark, and a 3.88 ERA.

Along with teammates Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, and Mariano Rivera, Pettitte helped make up the “Core 4” of longest-tenured Yankees, despite playing three seasons in the middle of his career for the Houston Astros.

Perhaps his most memorable moment in pinstripes came during his second season in baseball.  It was Game 5 of the 1996 World Series, and the Yankees and Braves were tied at 2 games each.  The Yankees called on their young lefty to win a pivotal game in Atlanta, squaring off with John Smoltz.  Pettitte threw 8.1 innings allowing 0 runs on just 5 hits.  That night, his reputation as a big-game pitcher would be born.

Over the next 14 years, Pettitte would appear in 7 more World Series (once with Houston in 2005) and would consistently answer the bell when called upon.  Whenever the Yankees were in need of a big win after a Game 1 series loss, Pettitte could be trusted with the ball.

In 2007, Andy Pettitte confronted the allegations of his HGH use with the same class he displayed throughout his tenure in the big leagues.  His admission to wrongdoing restored faith among fans and his sincerity allowed him to turn a dark page that other offenders never could.

With his retirement, Pettitte will most likely settle back down in Texas, with his family, and leave behind a legion of adoring fans and a suspect pitching rotation in the Bronx.  The 38-year-old Yankees legend will depart as an iconic figure in franchise history and a fan-favorite.

Tomorrow, when Andy Pettitte tells the world he’s retiring, trust him.  He will not be making any comebacks, not if he doesn’t believe he can pitch at the level he expects.  While his final statistics place him in the Hall of Fame discussion, there is no guarantee he will ever find himself enshrined in Cooperstown.

Monument Park is a different story.  Andy Pettitte Day at Yankee Stadium will happen one day soon and his #46 will be removed from pinstriped circulation.  He’ll be honored for his remarkable body of work, his class, and for the way he represented the Yankees.

The game of baseball says goodbye to one of its greats.  Yankees fans will miss him and his reliability on the mound will be nearly impossible to replace.

That you can trust.

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Derek Jeter Will Return To The Yankees. Won’t He?

By Jason Klein

Originally Written For The Official Steiner Sports Blog – 12/1/10

Attention, ladies and gentleman.  Now batting for the Rays…number 2…Derek Jeter…shortstop…number 2.

It won’t happen…will it?

Will The Yankees & Jeter Turn Their Backs on Eachother?

When the New York Yankeestake the field in 2011, in search of their 28th World Series Championship, Derek Jeter will be in the line up.  Whose line up he’s actually in remains in question.

Now batting for the Tigers

Despite the daily jabs being thrown in the papers each day, an inconceivable approach by both parties, a deal between Derek Jeter and the Yankees will get done.  No other outcome makes any sense for either side.  It will eventually get rectified.  Right?

Now batting for the Giants

The Yankees have reportedly offered Jeter a 3-year deal, worth $45 million – an annual salary of $15 million.  It’s also been reported thatJeter is seeking more years and more dollars, perhaps something in the 5-year range at $23 million per.  The discrepancy is large, but not large enough to keep the Captain from returning to his pinstriped kingdom.  Is it?

Now batting for the Dodgers

Derek Jeter has a long history with the Yankees, and potentially an even longer future.  In addition to everything his on-field play and pristine reputation have meant to the Yankees organization in the past, he is the natural successor to Yogi Berra as the ceremonial ambassador of the Yankees.  Need a first pitch thrown?  Call Derek.  Want recruiting help for future free agents?  Call Derek.  How about a spring training instructor or special advisor?  Call Derek.

There is also the possibility Jeter could pursue a future with the Yankees in a coaching, managing or a front office role.  These are all nice, warm and fuzzy ideas…assuming Jeter wants to maintain his relationship with the Bombers and leverage the immaculate image he has so carefully crafted over the years.  Leaving the Yankees could potentially tarnish his legacy with the club and alienate fans the way Brett Favre did in Green Bay.  He wouldn’t be foolish enough to do that…would he?

Now batting for the Angels

Derek Jeter has seemingly never been about the money.  He has always been about winning.  He is the face of the Yankees, and their YES Network.  He relishes his role as the Big Apple’s King, and the opportunity to play under the bright lights of New York…but on which side of the river?

Now batting for the Mets

Derek Jeter has been irreplaceable for the Yankees, a leader on the field and a true gentleman off it.  He is Mr. Intangible, Mr. November, and Mr. Yankee.  He is consistently productive and revered within his clubhouse.  He breaks records on a nightly basis and is on the verge of collecting his 3,000th career hit.  He is also 36 years-old.

Unfortunately, the track record for 36 year-old athletes signing multi-year deals is not good.  For this reason, the Yankees asked Jeter to “drink the reality potion” in November 2010.

However, the Yankees should know that with Derek Jeter wearing pinstripes, they have their best chance to drink champagne in November 2011.

Derek Jeter has stated, on numerous occasions, his desire to hear Bob Sheppard’s voice every time he steps to the plate throughout the rest of his career.  That request won’t fly anywhere else but in the Bronx.  The two sides will have to ultimately compromise and get this deal done.

Won’t they?

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Cashman, Yankees Look Forward to Spring Training…Already.

By Jason Klein

Originally Written For The Official Steiner Sports Blog – 10/23/10

The words on his hat were sobering.

Just a half hour after the New York Yankees stunningly lost to theTexas Rangers in Game 6 of the 2010 ALCS, General Manager, Brian Cashman was seen sporting a cap that read, “Spring Training,” and featured a Yankees logo.

Yankees Look on As Rangers Celebrate Capturing the AL Pennant

Symbolically, the hat represented a positive look forward to the 2011 season and the franchise’s next opportunity to capture their 28th World SeriesChampionship.  But where did the hat come from so quickly?  It was a curious, pre-meditated decision to have that hat on-hand, to wear at that particular moment – a choice that had some Yankees fans wondering if their team was mentally into last night’s elimination game, or had already waived the white flag and were ready for a vacation.

It’s a moot point now.  The 2010 Yankees season came to an end last night, deep in the heart of Texas.  There will be no parade down the Canyon of Heroes this year.  To ensure the Yankees are back in the hunt in 2011, Cashman will have to remove his controversial Spring Training headgear and put on his General Manager’s hat for the next 3 months in order to re-stock his pinstriped roster with younger, and hungrier talent.

For sure, the Yankees will look to sign Cliff Lee away from the Rangers, and possibly woo the speedy Carl Crawford away from the Tampa Bay Rays, but interesting decisions will have to be made internally as well.

It will start with the future of Manager, Joe Girardi.  Cashman acknowledged he wants the skipper back in 2011, but admitted he had not confirmed the sentiment with ownership yet.

The future of the “Core 4” is in question too.  Captain, Derek Jeter is at the end of his 10-year deal, and will no doubt command a big contract to end his career with the Bombers.  Likewise, Closer, Mariano Rivera is a free agent, and at the age of 40, is still pitching as well as he ever has.  Standing at his locker last night, Andy Pettitte was indecisive about his plans for next season, admitting his desire to spend more time with his family.  Finally, Catcher, Jorge Posada is likely to be pushed for playing time by top catching prospect, Jesus Montero.

The 2011 Yankees will no doubt look different from the team that came just 6 victories away from a World Series title in 2010.  One thing is certain, whatever combination of superstars take the field in the Bronx next year, Cashman will make sure they contend for a title.

World Series hats tend to be more fashionable than Spring Training caps anyway.

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Derek Jeter Kids Clinic Scheduled for January 9

By Jason Klein

Originally Written For The Official Steiner Sports Blog – 10/14/10

Many parents dream of one day watching their child play professional sports.  They envision their baby playing alongside a legend someday, perhaps someone like Derek Jeter.  For most, it’s a futuristic fantasy, extremely improbable, and unlikely.  However, thanks to Steiner Sports, it could potentially happen before they turn fourteen!

Derek Jeter at Last Year’s Clinic

On Sunday, January 9, 2011, children ranging in age from 7-14 will have the unique opportunity to take part in the 2011 Derek Jeter Kids Clinic, presented by Steiner Sports.  While Jeter will chase his 6th World Series Title this season, he will take time in early January to work one-on-one with a hundred lucky children in New York City.

Kids will rotate between five individual stations, working on hitting, fielding, pitching and base running. Joining Jeter at this once-in-a-lifetime event will be teammate, and Yankees Centerfielder, Curtis Granderson.  This dynamic duo will also participate in an exclusive question and answer session following the clinic.

Parents will be on hand to experience the day alongside their little sluggers.  They are encouraged to snap hundreds of photos and bring camcorders to capture the day’s events.  In addition, children will leave with a Yankees gift pack including autographed items from the players in attendance.

Throughout his legendary career, Derek Jeter has played alongside names like Rivera, Posada, Bernie, Tino, and O’Neill.  Here’s an opportunity for a select group of young ball players to add their name to that celebrated list.

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