Rapid Reaction: Jeter speaks
February, 19, 2014
By Wallace Matthews | ESPNNewYork.com
TAMPA, Fla. -- Derek Jeter fielded questions for half an hour Wednesday concerning the retirement announcement he posted to his Facebook page last week, and in truth, he really didn't say much more than he had written in that lengthy post.
In fact, he and I had a brief give-and-take during the news conference that pretty much said it all. I asked him to clarify his reasons for retiring. His answer: "Did you read my Facebook page?"
Jeter summed up his reasons for retiring in in four words: "The time is now."
He said he wanted to do other things in his life, although he did not choose to share any of them at this time. It did seem, however, that starting a family was important to him. And on the whole, he did seem a bit more open to sharing a bit of himself, although truthfully, not all that much.
Cotton Eye Jeet: Unlike Mariano Rivera, Jeter did not become emotional during his announcement. He acknowledged that he makes an effort not to show his emotions, but he did say, "Yeah, I have feelings. I'm not emotionally stunted." Seated nearby in the team section, Joe Girardi gave a rueful smile.
Blink of an eye: Asked what advice he would give to his younger teammates, Jeter said, "Enjoy it. It goes by quickly. You almost blink and it's 20 years later."
No turning back: Jeter rejected the suggestion he might reconsider his decision if he has the kind of year he had in 2012, when he hit .316. "No, the time is now," he said. "It's not wait-and-see if I have a good year. I plan on having a good year."
Find another ankle, er, angle: Jeter emphasized his decision has nothing to do with the state of his health or the condition of his fractured and surgically repaired left ankle. "My ankle was back to 100 percent healthy by the end of last year."
Alone on an island: Jeter acknowledged that the retirements of his closest friends on the team, especially Jorge Posada, started him thinking about hanging it as far back as two years ago.
Regrets, he's had a few: "I didn't enjoy it as much as I should have," Jeter said of his 19-year career. "I never really enjoyed the ride. I'm going to try to enjoy each and every day this season." Girardi said that single-minded focus was one of the factors that made Jeter the player he became.
No fungoes: Asked if he could see himself returning to the Boss in the future as one of the Yankees' guest instructors, Jeter was curt and decisive: "No, I can't."
Now get back to work: Jeter was appreciative that his teammates all came to the news conference to support him -- there were so many that Brett Gardner, Ichiro Suzuki, Michael Pineda and a few others were forced to stand in the back -- but the Captain in him came out after about 15 minutes: "If you guys have work to do, go do it. You don't have to stay here for me," he said.
Answered Girardi: "Work's over for today."
Yankee Doodle Dandy: Asked for how he would like to be remembered, Jeter said, "Just being remembered as a Yankee. Being a Yankee is good enough for me."