Today is the start of the final weekend of baseball before the All-Star break.
Derek Jeter, my favorite ever New York Yankees player, doubled in his first at bat last night against Tampa, his 2,998th big league hit.
Jeter will be headed to Phoenix next week as the starting shortstop, voted in by the fans, his 12th selection.
Jeter missed 18 games because of a foot injury, and he's not been the player he once was.
Playing baseball at age 37 isn't as easy as it was at 27.
He's hitting just .257, well under his career average of .312.
Jeter also has a .321 on base percentage, and a slugging % of just .329.
Those number aren't All-Star caliber, I get that.
I didn't vote for Jeter this year, I gave my votes to the Indians Asdrubal Cabrera.
The foot injury, combined with the low stats have been fodder for anti-Jeter fans, and have media guys debating Jeter's place in history.
Derek Jeter has been a model citizen since the day he was drafted out of Kalamazoo Central High School in 1992.
The 6th overall pick by the Yanks, Jeter has been a pillar on and off the baseball diamond, never once having been linked to any sort of bad behavior or scandals off the field, and he has never been accused of steroid use, or the use of any other performance enhancing drugs.
As far as I know, Jeter has never been arrested, the police have never gone to Jeter's house for domestic violence charges, nor have I ever heard of Jeter beating up a girlfriend.
On the field Jeter has been the cornerstone of the newest New York Yankee dynasty, the Captain of the team.
Since stepping into the big leagues since 1996, Jeter has been nothing short of the ultimate professional ball player.
The Yankees have won 5 World Series since Jeter's Rookie of the Year season of '96, and they played in two other series, 7 in all.
That's the number of times Derek Jeter has run out onto the baseball diamond to play a game.
9,602 times Jeter has come to the plate, reaching base 3,970 times by hit or walk.
Derek Jeter is the Yankees All-Time hits leader.
Derek Jeter has scored 1.725 runs, he had 480 doubles, 62 triples, and 262 home runs.
Derek Jeter has won 5 Gold Gloves as a shortstop, he has won 4 Silver Slugger Awards, and he is the only baseball player to win both the All-Star Game and World Series MVP in the same season, 2000.
Now, I'm not going to say that Jeter is as good a player, or better, than Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joltin' Joe DiMaggio,Mickey Mantle, or Yogi Berra.
Derek Jeter is just as deserving, however, to be listed among those great Yankee players, and he deserves to be mentioned with the best short stops the game has ever produced.
DiMaggio would probably be the Yanks All-Time hits leader had he not missed time during WWII.
Gehrig became ill, causing him to retire long before his time.
Mantle and Ruth just plain didn't take care of themselves off the field, causing them to miss many games, many at bats, and a lot more base hits.
The way some baseball fans tell it, Jeter is an average at best player.
Those fans are either anti-Yankee fans, or are simply jealous because he didn't play for their team.
Everything Derek Jeter is, was, and will be on the baseball field, has been done with the utmost class and admiration for the game of baseball.
Derek Jeter is what baseball is all about.
Derek Jeter is one of the reasons why young fans want to be baseball players.
If you don't appreciate Derek Jeter, then I feel sorry for you.
When Jeter goes into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, which he will, and on the first ballot, it will be the crowning achievement of a remarkable career, from a remarkable man.