Derek Jeter has heard—and silenced—his doubters before, as he explained to USA Today's Paul White recently: "I remember when I was 35, everyone said that was it, he can't play anymore, end of my career. So, it's really nothing different."
Entering the final season of his legendary career, Jeter heads into his final spring training healthy, something that he couldn't say last spring. "This offseason is like a normal offseason. I'm four months ahead of where I was last year. Last year, quite honestly, I want to forget about it. Everything is good so far, knock on wood," said Jeter.
New York pitcher David Phelps is convinced that Jeter is going to go out with a bang, as he told the New York Daily News' Anthony McCarron before the New York Yankees captain announced that 2014 would be his last season:
Derek (Jeter) looks amazing. That’s awesome.
You can tell he’s determined to go out there and do well. If you had to place a bet on it, you know he’s going to go out there and have a good year. I’m really looking forward to seeing him play again. He’s having a lot of fun right now.
Is Jeter going to lead baseball in hits, as he did in 2012, or win the MVP award that has eluded him throughout his career? Probably not.
But as he's done throughout his Hall of Fame career, Jeter will silence his critics in 2014—and the seeds for a stellar final season will begin to blossom this spring.