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Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Rapid Reaction: Jeter retiring after season

By Wallace Matthews

NEW YORK -- It had to happen sooner or later, but still, the news that 2014 will be the last season for Derek Jeter -- announced on his Facebook page about 2 p.m. Wednesday -- feels like a cataclysmic event for the Yankees. Next spring, for the first time since George Bush the Elder was president, Derek Jeter -- the captain of the Yankees for the past 12 years and both the undisputed face of the franchise and the game he plays -- will not be a part of the New York Yankees. And that feels, well, huge. And strange.

Facing the music: Jeter broke the news on his Facebook page in a lengthy message which he started out by thanking Yankees fans and equated his storybook career to "a dream [from which] you eventually wake up." You can read the entire post here.

No doubt: To those wondering if Jeter's decision will stick should he, say, hit .300 this season, comes this quote: "I could not be more sure. I know it in my heart. The 2014 season will be my last year playing professional baseball."

Core no more: Jeter's retirement means there will not be a single member remaining of the Core Four, with the retirement two years ago of Jorge Posada and the retirements before this season of Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte. It is hard to imagine that a quartet of players of that magnitude will ever play nearly all of their careers for one franchise ever again (Jeter, Rivera and Posada played every minute of their careers for the Yankees. Pettitte, of course, took a brief detour to Houston).

Why, Captain, why?: We'll know better when Jeter speaks to the media in Tampa probably this week, but he alluded to his difficult, injury-plagued 2013 season. "The one thing I always said to myself was, when baseball started to feel more like a job, it would be time to move forward," he wrote in his message.

Cooperstown-bound: You bet, although you can rest assured that someone, somewhere within the ranks of the BBWAA will not vote for him the first time around. Can't wait to see who that is, and what the reasons are.

Monument Park, here he comes: No doubt, Jeter's No. 2 will join the host of others on the wall beyond the center-field fence. The only question is, how long before the Yankees officially retire it? I would set the over/under at Opening Day 2015.

Ironic or heartbreaking?: Assuming the Yankees don't dump Alex Rodriguez' contract before next year, this pretty much assures that A-Rod will be a Yankee after Jeter is gone.

Get your tickets now: Not to be callous, but the Yankees' marketing staff could not have asked for a better boost for season-ticket sales this season. The Mariano Rivera farewell tour couldn't prevent the Yankees from suffering another drop in attendance in 2013 -- possibly because you could never be sure when Mo would get into a game -- but you can bet Jeter's final season will have the house close to jam-packed every night this season.

(RHETORICAL) QUESTION: Can you even imagine the New York Yankees without Derek Jeter?