By Howard Goldin
BRONX, NEW YORK,AUGUST 23- On Friday afternoon at Yankee Stadium, Derek Jeter, with the help of a translator, held his farewell press conference with the Spanish language media. Two weeks earlier, Jeter said sayonara to the Japanese media at another press conference.
The Yankee captain was asked a variety of questions that he responded to in his usual understated, courteous and non-controversial manner.
Jeter replied to a query of why he chose this season to be his final one as a player, “I just feel like this was the right time. I’ve done enough. I have other things I want to do.”
When asked if he wanted to remain in baseball in a different capacity, he quickly said no to being a coach or manager. He cited travel as one of the obstacles for him in those positions, “Travel is too tough.”
Travel is one aspect of baseball life that is particularly onerous to Jeter. He mentioned it as the one thing he would change in baseball if he had the power, “Our travel schedule is brutal.”
The legendary shortstop spoke of one baseball role that does appeal to him, “I would like to be part of a baseball ownership group. Hopefully, one day I’ll make all of the decisions.”
Jeter was born in New Jersey and raised in Kalamazoo, Michigan, but was a Yankee fan as a child. His favorite team drafted him with the sixth overall pick in the first round of the 1992 MLB Draft. His selection by the Yanks and remaining with the franchise throughout his entire big league career was especially meaningful to the shortstop, “When I started, being a Yankee meant the most to me. I’ve been one of the few to live out his dream.”
The icon is close to concluding one of the most impressive careers in MLB history. The records he has amassed will make him a sure first round Hall of Fame inductee. Jeter replied to the question of whether he had any remaining goals, “I want to win, that’s the mindset I always had and will have until my final game.”
Nearly every questioner prefaced his query with a compliment and/or an expression of gratitude for his career both on and off the field. The press conference subject explained how he appeared to avoid making human errors in his 20 years of scrutiny by the press and public while playing in the Big Apple, “Everyone makes mistakes. I’ve learned from the mistakes of others and from my own. I’ve learned not to make the same mistakes.”
He also credited his parents, “I learned a lot of lessons from my parents growing up.”
Jeter also discussed how he maintains an aura of always being under control emotionally, “I try to keep on an even keel. I’m very good at hiding my emotions.”
During his two decades in the majors Jeter has become both the face of the Yankees and the image of baseball throughout this nation. Jeter his expressed his feeling regarding the reaction of the fans in his final year’s visits to each opposing ballpark, “It’s been overwhelming to me. It’s been above and beyond my greatest expectations.”