When My Daughter Had a Question, Twitter Stepped Up To The Plate!

By Jason Klein

My daughter asked a question.

36,852 people answered.

Little league registration was due, but something bothered my 7 year-old.  She wanted to know if baseball was a sport for girls too.  I tried to reassure her.  Our town doesn’t have softball for her age group, so I reminded her how much fun she had last season playing baseball.

Jason-Ava Baseball

With My Daughter, Last Season.

I also pointed out the other three girls we had on our team.  We reminisced over all the times we’ve played catch and watched Yankees games together.  I even pulled up old YouTube videos of Mo’ne Davis’s dominance during the 2014 Little League World Series.  She still had her doubts.

I decided to do what any reasonable and resourceful parent would do in 2018.

I tweeted.

I asked Twitter users for their opinion: “RT to show my daughter she’s not alone…” I pleaded.  “I told her baseball is DEFINITELY a sport for girls, too.  She’s skeptical & I want to show her how many people agree with me.  Thank you!”

As a second grader, she doesn’t know what social media is yet.  She can proudly count “all the way to 100,” though.  I thought, if I could somehow get a hundred people to back me up, I’d make her a believer.

Fortunately, I did a little better than that.

Over 3,000 people retweeted my post within the first 24 hours.  That’s when Jessica Mendoza (@JessMendoza) of ESPN decided to lend her support.

Mendoza has her finger squarely on baseball’s pulse.  As an announcer for ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball, she consumes baseball daily.  She’s also been criticized for being a women broadcasting a “men’s sport.”  Certainly, my daughter’s concerns resonated with her.

“Sports, any sport, is for everyone,” Mendoza tweeted to me…and her 107K followers!  “Tell your daughter I not only agree with you but I’ve got her back!!! Go play!”

After that, my tweet’s statistics rose faster than Aaron Judge’s home run totals.

Major League Baseball’s official Twitter handle (@MLB) got involved, addressing my daughter’s trepidation with their 8.1 million followers!

“We agree!  Baseball is for everyone.” They tweeted.

Mo’ne Davis (@Monee__11) – the same Mo’ne Davis I had used as an example earlier in the week – then jumped in.

“I definitely think she can hang with them and be better than them.” Davis tweeted.  “That’s coming from a girl who has done it before.”

Even Little League Baseball’s official account (@LittleLeague) chimed in, urging me to “Tell your daughter we’d love to have her, and any other girl, playing Little League Baseball this year.”

If that wasn’t inspiring enough, the USA Women’s National Team (@USABaseballWNT), Play Ball (@PlayBall) and Justine Siegal (@JustineBaseball) – the first woman hired as an MLB coach and founder of Baseball For All – all chimed in with encouraging words.

From there, hundreds of celebrities, athletes, organizations, leagues and journalists caught wind.  So did thousands of everyday Twitter users: men and women, old and young, all willing to support my message and share their own personal stories with me.

Hundreds of parents sent me pictures and newspaper clippings of their own daughters playing ball.  Many told me that the best player on their son’s team was female.  All of them insisted that baseball was a sport for girls too, and wished my daughter luck with her upcoming season.

Ava-Baseball

Baseball Is For Girls, Too!

The response was humbling.

By March 11, 2018, my tweet garnered 36,852 retweets, 42,036 likes, over 2,600 personal comments and more than 3.7 Million impressions.  I also received direct messages from many supporters, including writer Jacob Bogage (@jacobbogage).  Bogage was so impressed, he decided to write a feature on us for the Washington Post.

Just incredible.

I set out looking to build my daughter’s confidence by having a little fun on social media.

I ended up starting a positive and empowering conversation for young girls looking to simply do what makes them happy…play ball!

I want my daughter to grow up believing she has the same opportunities as boys.  I want her to do what she loves, be confident in herself and accepting of others.  My tweet helped reveal thousands of other parents who feel the same way.

Twitter is often filled with so much negativity.  Many times, it’s directed at women.  I’m happy I could temporarily change the dialog and motivate thousands of people to join in the conversation.

Although my daughter is more impressed by candy and treats than Likes and Tweets, she is convinced that baseball is a sport all girls can play, watch and enjoy.  She even signed up for her second season of Little League.

No questions asked, this time.

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New Players & Fans Set To Experience Yankees in ALCS For First Time

By Jason Klein  

I walked my daughter to the bus stop this morning.

It’s a short stroll, really.  Around the corner and down a hill – just enough steps to pad my Fitbit stats and see some familiar October sights.  There were pumpkins on porches, leaves on the ground, and an interlocking “NY” on my shirt.

Of course there was.

ALCS Logo

Yankee Stadium Prepares For The ALCS’s Bronx Return.

The Yankees will play Game 1 of the American League Championship Series tonight in Houston.  Watching the Yanks play baseball deep into October is typical of my childhood.  Not so for kids my daughter’s age.

The Yankees reached the ALCS or World Series 7 times from 1996-2004.  Then, 3 more times between 2009-2012.  Since then, their lone Postseason appearance came in 2015 when they lost to the Astros in the AL Wild Card Game.

So, tonight is special for kids like my daughter, born within the last 10 years.

A boy waiting for the bus noticed my shirt and asked if I was excited for the upcoming series.

“Of course,” I said.  “How about you?”

His face lit up.  His smile was huge, like an Aaron Judge homerun swing.

“Yeah!” He said.  “I’ve never seen them play in the ALCS before.”

He then gave me a “thumbs down.”

“When were you born?” I asked.

“2008.  But I was too young to watch the 2009 World Series,” he said.

His excitement reminded me a lot of myself back in 1996 – the first time I’d seen the Yankees win a playoff series.  He had a look of wonderment – like he was about to witness something he’d never seen before.

He is.

My Yankees – you know, Jeter, Bernie, Pettitte, Posada and Mo – are nice historical footnotes for today’s kids.  Now, Judge, Gary Sanchez, Greg Bird and the rest of this young core of players are ushering in a new generation of Yankees success.  They’re bringing the new generation of fans along with them. Judge-Sanchez

The boy’s reaction did make me further appreciate the late-90s dynastic run.  It’s so difficult to sustain success from one year to the next.  Every opportunity to win a championship should be treasured.  You never know when it will happen again.

Many say these Yankees arrived ahead of schedule.  They weren’t expected to compete this soon.  They are “playing with the house’s money.”

I disagree.

It’s never the wrong time to win a Title.  Teams that get this close must capitalize.  “Wait ‘till next year” isn’t guaranteed.

Just ask the 2015 Mets.

It’s possible, this could be the only shot this young group of Yankees have to win a World Series.

Or, it could be just the beginning of another sustained run of success.

The latter would give kids my daughter’s age a childhood experience similar to mine.  Yankees baseball, deep into the Fall, would once again be a familiar October sight.

Like pumpkins on porches, leaves on the ground, and an interlocking “NY” on my shirt.

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Have The Yankees Found Their Next Captain? You Be The Judge.

By Jason Klein

All Rise?

Honestly, why would you ever sit down in the first place?

There’s no time to relax between each one of Aaron Judge’s majestic blasts.  They fly out of stadiums at a record pace, travel record distances and leave me sounding like, well, a broken record.

Aaron Judge

All Rise For Aaron Judge.

“He hit another one last night,” is the first thing I say to my wife every single morning.

Forget Groundhog Day.  We’re all living Judgement Day over and over again.

Through 60 games, Judge is hitting .341 with 22 HR and 49 RBI.  It’s a small sample, but he’s showing no signs of laying down his gavel.  His at-bats are can’t-miss events, he comes up with a game-defining hit almost every night and he hears “MVP” chants…on the road!

Oh, and let the record show, Your Honor is a 6 foot, 7 inch, 25 year-old rookie!

It’s Judge’s courtroom.  We’re all witnesses.

Yup, Number 99 is everywhere: the front of Sports Illustrated, the middle of the Yankees’ line up, the back of fans’ jerseys and the top of prominent AL statistical categories, including HR, batting average and runs scored.

He is impressive on the field and poised off of it.  He handles the bright lights of New York with ease and deflects all adulation on to his teammates.

He tells you that he doesn’t pay attention to his individual accomplishments.  Instead, he only focusses on winning games.  For twenty years, Derek Jeter said the same thing.  I always believed him.  Now, I believe Judge.

Like Jeter, Judge has a good head, and a great bat, resting firmly on his shoulders.  His teammates respect him and fans adore him.  Is it possible the Yankees found their future Captain?  Do my two young daughters have their own Jeter to look up to…and grow up with?

There’s plenty of time to figure it out.

No time to sit down, though.

Judge is walking to the plate.

All Rise.

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Jeter’s Latest Title Might Be His Greatest

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:

ct-derek-jeter-wife-hannah-preganat-20170213

Jeter’s Going To Have a Baby Girl in 2017.

Dad.

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.

jade-jason6-9-18-14

Her First Yankees Game!  Watching Derek Jeter’s Final Career HR with my Daughter in 2014.

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.

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Wild Card Yanks Can Be Anything They Want

By Jason Klein

The Yankees drew a Wild Card.

They can turn their mediocre hand into something special.

Tanaka Time in the Bronx Tonight vs. the Astros.

Tanaka Time in the Bronx Tonight vs. the Astros.

The Postseason offers a clean slate for all. Just like in poker, the Yankees can be anything they want to be as a Wild Card.

2’s can be Jacks. 7’s can be Queens.

Ordinary baseball teams can be Kings.

Just ask the 2014 San Francisco Giants.

Sure, the Yanks looked lifeless as they stumbled towards Tuesday night’s one-game playoff at Yankee Stadium. Losers of six of their last seven games, the Yanks weren’t hitting, looked tired, and appeared destined for a quicker hook than Joe Philbin got in Miami.

None of that matters now, though. That’s old news.

They made it to October as a Wild Card. They’ve got a seat at the table – just like those 2000 Yankees, who also sputtered through September and won 87 games. Those guys turned a Wild Card berth into a Championship.

Today’s team shows their hand tonight. It starts with an ace, Masahiro Tanaka. He’ll take the ball in this sudden-death matchup with the Houston Astros – the exact type of game the Yankees envisioned him pitching when they invested $175 million in him prior to the 2014 season.

It’s his biggest moment as a Yankee. It’s the most important game the franchise has had in two years. It’s the type of event that could propel them towards a 28th title.

October is different. The Yankees organization knows that better than anyone.

Ante up, Yanks! Push those chips to the center of the table.

Tonight, as a Wild Card, they can be anything they want to be.

Perhaps even winners.

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Bernie Williams Did Things His Way, Quietly.

By Jason Klein

“Shut Up.  Play.”

Bernie Williams stood there and faced the media with those three words quietly displayed on his t-shirt.  It was October of 1996, and Williams wore this motivational garb in front of his locker throughout the post season.  This subtle reminder personified the Yankees of the mid-90s.

Williams will have his #51 retired tonight.

Williams will have his #51 retired tonight.

Those Yankees teams never gloated, always acted as if they had “been there before,” and proceeded to win four World Series titles in five years.  When I spoke with Bernie Williams, a few years back, he reflected on his time in pinstripes. All these years later, he still maintained a humble opinion of his years in the Bronx.

“I played on some unbelievable teams, but I was never concerned about where we ranked all-time or anything like that,” he said.  “I was just glad to be there and be a part of all the winning.”

Williams, who officially retired earlier this year, will have his #51 follow suit tonight at Yankee Stadium. The switch-hitting legend will take his rightful place among Yankee immortals during a pre-game ceremony – A fitting tribute for a humble man who enjoyed a special career.

“As I’ve grown older, I’ve learned to appreciate all the precious moments I had,” he told me.  “I was part of a truly great team and I enjoy sitting back and enjoying those moments.”

Williams played on some of the most successful Yankees teams of all-time, and the center fielder had a major role in most of those triumphs. Over the course of his 16-year career – all with the Yankees – Bernie Williams was selected to 5 All-Star Games, won the 1996 ALCS MVP Award, won 4 Gold Gloves for his wizardry in center field, and captured the 1998 Batting Title.  Despite all his personal accolades along the way, Williams insisted his greatest memories are team oriented.

“The batting title in 1998 was special, but that whole 1998 team was unbelievable,” he said.  “Those are the things I remember the most…the things we accomplished as a team.”

It is that unassuming personality that has landed Bernie a special place in the hearts of most Yankees fans.  Adulation that was never more evident to Williams than at the final game ever played at the original Yankee Stadium.

With Bernie Williams

With Bernie Williams

“It was awesome to see the fans embrace me the way they did,” he said.  “Especially after being out of the game for a few years.  I was so surprised I got introduced after Yogi!”

Williams was invited back the following April to help open the new home of the Yankees.  He appeared in center field, playing “Take me out to the ball game” on his guitar, and highlighted an extraordinary day at the new ballpark.

“Playing [the guitar] in center field on Opening Day was weird,” he said.  “It was such a bizarre moment.  I was in Yankee Stadium, with a guitar, playing in front of a full house.  It was such a cool moment.  There was so much electricity that day.  It reminded me of the old Stadium a lot.”

Inside that old Stadium, Bernie Williams cemented his place in Yankees lore, quietly positioning himself in the record books alongside other Yankees center fielders like Mickey Mantle and Joe DiMaggio. Tonight, he’ll join them in Monument Park as well.

“I have no regrets about my career,” he said.  “I was part of a great team for 16 years.  I am very proud of that, and I did it my way.”

He shut up and just played.

*Updated from original 2009 Piece.

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Yanks Need A-Rod To Speak Softly, Carry Big Stick

By Jason Klein

His words are hollow, just like his milestone records.

That’s ok though. I don’t need to believe his new humble “good guy” routine. I don’t care where his personal triumphs will ultimately rest within baseball lore either. As a Yankees fan, in 2015, I only need Alex Rodriguez to do one thing.

A-Rod Has Returned.  So Has His Power!

A-Rod Has Returned. So Has His Power!

Keep hitting.

Defying Yankees brass is his business.   Defying Father Time is mine.

Thirteen games into 2015, he’s doing a great job of both. Yankees management had hoped the 39 year-old, admitted PED cheat would disappear faster than his own credibility. Instead, he’s strong-armed his way back into the heart of the Yankees line up, batting .286 with 4 HR and 11 RBI. Coming off two hip surgeries, and a yearlong steroid suspension, he’s once again the team’s most potent offensive force.

Fans around the league are disgusted by his return to baseball. Big deal. They never liked him to begin with. Yankees fans should embrace this! To make the Postseason in 2015, the Bombers need his bat to stay hot.

Just a few months ago, the remaining $61 million left on Rodriguez’s contract was an albatross. For the time being, it seems like money well invested. This will hold true as long as he speaks softly and carries that big stick.

To date, he’s done everything right. Despite all the scrutiny, haters and doubters, he came back and refused to be insubordinate or average. Instead, he’s batted all over the line up, willingly learned how to play first base, and kept his focus on helping the team win games. He’s also determined to be A-Rod again – one of the premier sluggers in the game.

So far, so good.

In 2015, Yankees fans shouldn’t concern themselves so much with A-Rod’s past. When he ties Willie Mays with home run #660 – he’s only 2 HR shy – don’t worry about whether the team publically celebrates or privately pays him a bonus for it.

That’s his concern.

For the team to find success this year, there’s only one thing Yankees fans need Alex Rodriguez to do.

Keep hitting.

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One More Time, Jeter Brings Out The Kid In Me

By Jason Klein

It was supposed to mark the end of my childhood.

Instead, I got thrown right back in the middle of it.

I was a kid again – despite having kids of my own now – all because the kid from Kalamazoo did what he always does…one last time.

Jeter Leaps Following His Walk-Off Hit.

Jeter Leaps Following His Walk-Off Hit.

Thursday night against the Orioles, in his final Yankee Stadium at bat, Derek Jeter poked a bottom of the ninth, game winning RBI single to right field. In the last huge moment of his twenty-year career, Jeter came through again.

Of course he did.

His storied career is loaded with sweet ice cream sundae moments, and this last one will sit near the top like a cherry. Captain Clutch’s latest greatest moment didn’t surprise anyone who’s been paying attention for the past two decades. It certainly didn’t shock me. Instead, it brought me right back to the late-90s, when these types of things happened with regularity.

After securing victory, Jeter leapt high into the Bronx night, the way he used to back when I was in high school. In that moment, his recent injury woes and diminished abilities didn’t matter. The forty candles on his last birthday cake didn’t matter either. In that moment, the only thing that mattered was that Derek Jeter – at least for one night – was a kid again, flying high through the sky, arms raised, like the super hero he’s been for more than half my life.

Teammates Celebrate With Jeter.

Teammates Celebrate With Jeter.

He always seems to save the day for the Yankees.

As teammates flooded the field, so did memories of previous triumphs, so magical and so perfect, you’d think the whole thing was a Hollywood script. Instead, it’s reality, and Jeter’s been the one writing history, one remarkable moment at a time, for the past twenty seasons.

When the spotlight – and camera phone flashes – were brightest, that’s when Jeter would always shine brighter. Thursday night was no exception. His walk-off hit was so reminiscent of past Jeter conquests, you’d swear you saw the Posadas, Pettittes, Bernies, Tinos, Torres and Mos out there celebrating victory with him.

And then they actually were.

Torre, Posada, Rivera & Martinez Wait To Walk Jeter into Retirement.

Torre, Posada, Rivera & Martinez Wait To Walk Jeter into Retirement.

Jeter’s baseball brothers stood behind home plate in the Bronx, quietly watching their former teammate do what he always seems to do…one last time. Then, they too congratulated him and symbolically asked him to join them in retirement.

It was a poignant moment that, no doubt, had Jeter fighting back some tears.

“I think I’ve done a pretty good job of controlling my emotions throughout my career,” he would later say, “but today, I wasn’t able to.”

Neither were those of us watching the drama unfold.

Eliminated from playoff contention the night before, it was the first game of Derek Jeter’s Yankee Stadium career without any meaning.

Jeter Acknowledges The Yankee Stadium Crowd.

Jeter Acknowledges The Yankee Stadium Crowd.

Except, in the end, it really meant so much.

For Jeter, it was the final big moment of a career he would later deem to be “above and beyond anything I’d ever dreamt of.”

For me, it was a chance to be a kid again, one more time, when these types of Jeter moments happened with regularity.

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Sheppard’s Run Ends With Jeter’s Exit. Introduced Major Yankees, Personal Moments

By Jason Klein

Derek Jeter’s career is coming to an end.

When it does, he’ll take Bob Sheppard’s voice with him.

Though Sheppard was silenced for good with his passing in July 2010, Jeter has continued to pay homage to the legendary Yankees Public Address Announcer of nearly 60 years. Since his final game in the booth, back in 2007, a recording of Sheppard’s Jeter introduction has been played prior to each of Derek’s at bats.

A Sheppard Recording is Played Before Every Jeter At Bat.

A Sheppard Recording is Played Before Every Jeter At Bat.

“Now batting for the Yankees…number 2…Derek Jeter…number 2.”

Sheppard’s voice had a mythical quality to it. Goosebumps surfaced with every properly pronounced syllable. Jeter single-handedly extended Sheppard’s Stadium shelf life by seven years – long enough for a new generation of fans to experience him, including my 4 year-old daughter.

For that, I’ll always be grateful for Jeter’s decision to be introduced by the “Voice of God” for as long as he continued playing.

As it turns out, he only has another month to go. Two if we’re lucky.

Sheppard’s style always inspired me. In an industry saturated with big, booming voices, Sheppard preferred to quietly stick to his timeless method of “Clear, Concise, Correct.” Yelling and over-embellishment wasn’t his style. Instead, he took pride in his ability to properly speak the English language.

His voice was ear candy. He made every trip to Yankee Stadium an event. He was synonymous with the Yankees brand, like pinstripes and façade.

His voice was heard before some of the biggest moments in franchise history.

In 2008, I wanted his voice heard before my biggest moment too.

In the winter of 2008, I placed a call to Paul Sheppard, Bob’s son. I was getting married that upcoming July 4th, and wanted the “Voice of Yankee Stadium” to present my wife and I to our guests.

At that time, Sheppard had already announced his final game at Yankee Stadium. His health was deteriorating and his son informed me that he’d honor my request should his condition remain stable.

In late Spring, Sheppard, feeling more like himself, pre-recorded intros for my future wife and me, along with the rest of our wedding party – something that remained a surprise for our guests until our wedding reception was interrupted by:

“Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to Glen Island Harbour Club.”

Heads swiveled, eyes popped, and jaws dropped low. His voice added a layer of historical elegance typically only found at East 161st Street in the Bronx.

After our wedding party entered, my wife and I joined the fun on Sheppard’s cue:

“Now, ladies and gentlemen, please rise, and remove your caps. Please give a warm welcome to, for the first time as husband and wife…the Bride and Groom…Mr. and Mrs. Jason Klein…the Bride and Groom.

[See Video of Intro Below]

Hearing Sheppard announce my name as I entered the room on my wedding day was one of the most surreal experiences of my life.

Only Derek Jeter has had that same pleasure over the past seven years.

When he goes, so does Sheppard’s voice.

We can all enjoy hearing it over the next month.

Two if we’re lucky.

 

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Jeter’s Last Act as Captain America?

By Jason Klein

Derek Jeter grew up on the national stage.

Next Tuesday could be his final performance there.

Prior to 2014, his Yankees teams have made the playoffs in 17 of his 19 years in the league. They have won 7 American League Pennants and 5 World Series. During that time, Jeter has methodically built his name, his brand, his reputation, and his legacy as one of the most clutch and consistent winners in sports history.

An October Staple, Will Jeter Get Another Shot in 2014?

An October Staple, Will Jeter Get Another Shot in 2014?

As this season’s pinstriped pieces continue to crumble around the 40 year-old shortstop, so do his chances of adding more postseason success to his remarkable resume. Injuries have decimated his teammates, claiming 4/5 of the Yankees pitching rotation, and forcing key position players to miss considerable time.

Once a right of passage for The Captain, his place in October is not guaranteed this year. For that reason, his appearance at this year’s All-Star Game, the 14th of his career, could be America’s last real opportunity to say goodbye to the future Hall-of-Famer.

At times, those who follow Jeter on a regular basis thought he might play forever. His youthful appearance, consistent demeanor, and will to win have never waivered. He’s kept us all feeling young, even as he got old.

There was a time, in the late 90s, Jeter had a legitimate shot to catch Yogi, and match his ten rings. If the Yankees miss the playoffs for only the third time in the last twenty seasons, Jeter’s title count will be permanently frozen at five.

If there are no more postseason evenings in Jeter’s future, there will also be no more legendary flips, dives, or signature jump throws. We will have seen the last of his October heroics and his November home runs. Never again, will we witness a Pennant clinching fist pump or a World Series clinching, arms raised, leap into baseball lore.

Typically a meaningless sports charade, Tuesday’s All-Star game becomes must-see-TV, if, in fact, it’s Jeter’s last appearance in the national spotlight. A sport, and an entire country, will get a final opportunity to honor one of the game’s most respected ambassadors.

Derek Jeter grew up on that national stage.

Can he rally his ailing Yankees towards another playoff run?

If not, the All-Star Game could be his last performance before the entire country.

No October encore.

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