Wild American Gooner

When Sports Are More Than Just Sports

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A Tip of the Cap to Derek Jeter and Now a Needed Sports Respite

There was a time in the not so distant past when the All-Star Game was one of the highlights of my summer. I would look forward to it for weeks, devoting hours and hours to following vote totals, roster predictions and of course all the roster announcements and replacements. But as I sat on my couch watching the game last night, I realized I had done none of that this summer. Two days removed from the World Cup, it was finally time to move on to other sporting events. The next four years of sports before Russia 2018 officially began last night in Minnesota.

But of course the All-Star Game was much more about Derek Jeter than it was about the baseball. If there’s someone out there who doesn’t respect the retiring Yankee shortstop, I don’t want to meet them. Growing up a Red Sox fan, I was always taught to hate every Yankees player but Jeter and Mariano Rivera. They were different. And after saying goodbye to Rivera last year, we got to do it again this time with Jeter. There isn’t much to be said about the shortstop that hasn’t been said already, but he is something special. He was the face of baseball when I became a fan around the year 2000, and he remains that today. What Jeter has accomplished on the diamond is incredible, and he has done it in style. I wish him only the best in his final two and a half months in baseball.

The Air Jordan Jeter commercial that I’m sure you’ve all seen by now is incredibly well done and encapsulates how everybody feels. There is nothing but respect for the captain. Forgetting the fact that the now former Red Sox A.J. Pierzynski never caught Jon Lester, the commercial was an appropriate tribute to the Yankee shortstop by the footware company. It was fitting that yesterday’s in-game tributes began with Jeter tipping his batting helmet to everyone as he stepped to the plate. And of course he went 2-2 at the plate.

I thought he was taken out of the game too early though. That it was still light out when Jeter was called back to the dugout will make the moment less memorable than Mariano Rivera’s farewell last year. While it’s unfair to compare the two All-Star Game goodbyes, it’s inevitable to do so. And in my opinion, Rivera’s was done much better. Jeter’s All-Star Game suddenly wasn’t his any longer in the top of the fourth. I would have liked to have seen more of him.

As such, I wish there was less pressure on the managers to get every player in the game, as I really would have liked to have seen some of these pitchers go more than an inning. The game used to be decided by the superstars, but now it’s decided by the fringe all-stars in the later innings. Something has to be done so that we can have more star power playing in the important moments. Wouldn’t we all have preferred to see more from Clayton Kershaw for example?

On a different note, today is probably the slowest sports day of the year. But at least we get the ESPY’s tonight. The ESPN equivalent of the Oscars for the past twelve months in sports is always a favorite of mine. However, I don’t think Drake will do a particularly good job hosting the show. My all-time favorite ESPY’s moment was after the World Cup four years ago when Seth Meyers was the host. His German accent making fun of Paul the Octopus was too funny. Somehow I don’t think Drake will be quite as hilarious as the great Seth Meyers. But at least we’ll get a night full of highlight videos and celebrations of the great moments in the sports world. I wouldn’t dare miss it.

This week of rest from the sports world comes as a refreshing break after the World Cup. But after few light days, the sports world will begin to go back to normal by the end of the week, with baseball soon taking over the spotlight from the World Cup and NBA free agency. The Red Sox will then have an interesting week or two as they try and sort out whether they will be buyers or sellers at the trading deadline. And Arsenal have their first preseason match this Saturday. So while this might be the only three days in the year we get somewhat of a break from the sports world, it’ll be nice to recharge the batteries.