Here in New York, a baseball town all year round, it is unacceptable to split your allegiance. It's simple: Yankess or Mets. Nothing in between. I have been a Mets fan for as long as I can remember, and we have very little love for our cross town rivals.
We suffer from an inferiority complex, which is why many of us celebrated after the 2003 World Series, cheered when the 2004 ALCS concluded, and had a smile on our faces when Joe Torre's new book dominated the news headlines.
However, I never understood one thing: why does every non-Yankee fan despise Derek Jeter?
Most people, though they would never admit it, are jealous. They see a good-looking, publicly humble guy who dates beautiful women, makes millions of dollars, and won 4 championships in his first 5 full professional seasons.
From a personal standpoint, I always respected and appreciated Jeter's play and now more than ever, people nation-wide should as well.
We've heard it all:
"He's not that good"
"He's not a good captain"
"He's not a very good shortstop"
Jeter's professional career began in 1995, the prime of the steroids era. As time progressed, he became a star not just becuase the Yankees won multiple championships, but also because Jeter displayed an unbelievable all around game, consisting of yearly .300+ averages, double digit homeruns, over 70+ annual RBI totals out of the leadoff and No. 2 spots in the lineup, an unfathomable OBP (seven times over .380), and above average defense.
Yet as the years wore on, Jeter's critics grew and the above criticisms ran their course every season. These are the same people who were probably captivated by frauds such as Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds, etc. There is no doubt throughout the course of his career that Jeter had countless encounters with teammates and friends in the game who used steroids and probably tried to get him to use as well.
Every week, a new name(s) falls under the steroid cloud (including today's accusation of A-Rod being guilty of failing a steroids test in 2003).
I think it's about time people start to appreciate the type of ball player that Jeter is: A winner, and a guy who played the game the right way with tremendous success.