Jeter’s impending departure has been resonating for the whole season but has ramped up the past week. He was talked about and or interviewed in seemingly every newspaper, television channel, and radio station ad nausea.
It seems everyone has a Derek Jeter story. Well, here is mine.
You see Derek Jeter and I share something. But first, let me tell you some of our differences so you don’t confuse us.
Unlike Derek Jeter, I am not chick magnet who has dated Hollywood starlets, pop stars, or beauty pageant winners. But, my wife kind of likes me though.
Unlike Derek Jeter, I have not earned millions and millions of dollars. However, I am able to pay the mortgage, and I eat pretty well.
Unlike Derek Jeter, I don’t have millions of fans who applaud my every move. Yet, I did once have a blog post go on Huffington Post that got six hundred likes on Facebook.
Unlike Derek Jeter, I was not part of a team that won Five World Series Championships. But I did form a team – along with my co-manager, Ms. MMK, – and BR and SJ are signed to long term contracts.
So, what the heck do Derek Jeter and I have in common?
Well, we both came to the New York area in 1995. Derek Jeter of course came up through the Yankees farm system before debuting in May of 1995. He was sent down to the minors later in the season but did finish the season with the Yankees.
I arrived in New York in August of 1995. I landed in downtown Brooklyn. That fall I was enrolled in the master’s program at the Long Island University, Brooklyn.
While I was excited and elated at the prospect of living in New York, I was intimidated. I didn’t know anyone either in the master’s program or in the city. You would think the odds of meeting one person in a city of 8.5 million would be high. But it wasn’t easy. In fact, there were times when I felt lonely. Just like Derek Jeter who noted that he was overmatched when he came out of High School and started in the minors. He says he called his parents often and even thought about coming home (and leaving baseball). In fact, he even cried.
On the first Sunday of my residency in New York, I went to Central Park. Backpack, bagel, and book in hand, I meandered around Vaux and Olmstead’s creation and stared at everything. People who saw me probably wrote me off as a goofy tourist from some hick town. And in some ways, maybe I was. Anyway, the beauty, diversity, and cool energy of Central Park made me love Central Park from that very first Sunday.
In Derek Jeter’s first full season – 1996 – he won the American League rookie of the year award, and was one of the leaders of the Yankees World Series winning team. He also was already a darling to Yankees fans and respected by his teammates.
By 1996, I had wandered around many parts of New York City, learned the subway system and was no longer intimidated by its vastness. I had made a number of friends, many of whom I am still in touch with today. My grades were excellent, and I felt myself gaining confidence in my writing.
Fast forward to today and Derek Jeter has said goodbye to New York and Yankees fans. He made an indelible mark and will be forever loved in this part of the world. I, however, will continue the journey – from across the river in the New Jersey suburbs.
Thanks for pointing the way Derek.
I’ve got it from here.