Really? This morning after Jeter’s last home game I know my husband was a bit teary while reading about one of his favorite Yankees: the man he is, the player he now was, and the idol he will always be. Last night he stayed up so he could take in every last minute of a special evening, texting back and forth with his son and then his best friend of nearly fifty years. Baseball is an amazing game! Sixty something year old men can measure the milestones in their lives by the feats of their favorite players and teams. Little kids with bats bigger than they are and helmet’s bobbling on their heads are eager to play and play well. Strangers while waiting in some random line somewhere can “connect” with a universal reference to a player, their team or even competing teams. Women are making their mark in the all American past time – Mo’ne Davis is donating her jersey to Cooperstown.
And unlike other sports, baseball’s bravado is so much more than muscle, speed and physical endurance. There are very human qualities that makes for a true baseball hero. Among them are poise under pressure, an abiding commitment to keep going regardless of the odds, and the innate ability to compete without malice… not to mention winning – often – with humility. That is why Jeter is a hero and that’s why it’s okay to cry (a little) in baseball — for the bittersweet appreciation of who he is, what he’s done for baseball, and now… what we’ve lost.