I wanted to do something special for my 100th article at Bleacher Report. I have enjoyed my time here immensely, and I've met several unbelievable people along the way that I will be eternally grateful to.
I have posted articles on football, basketball, wrestling, tennis, and mixed martial arts. Most of my articles have been on my one true love in all of sports: Baseball. While others see baseball as a boring, slow-paced game, I see intense moments of drama in a game played at blinding speed that allows time for deep thought.
I decided I wanted to start a new series with my 100th article, so I want to introduce you all to My Favorite Players. I want to applaud and honor great players both past and present. Some players will be from my hometown Milwaukee Brewers, but most will be from other teams.
I knew I had to pick a very special player to be first in my series, and after thinking for a few days, I concluded that Derek Jeter would be the first player I chronicle. With that being said, I hope you enjoy, My Favorite Players: Derek Jeter.
I have to admit, I'm not a New York Yankees fan in any way. Being a Milwaukee Brewers' fan and being stuck in a small market with a losing franchise can make one jaded to teams that experience success year-in and year-out.
I understand the value of having the Yankees in baseball. Although I hate how much they spend on payroll every year, I realize they pay the tax that help teams like my Milwaukee Brewers compete.
Regardless of my feelings for the Yankees or any other team, I believe that views on individual players stand alone and separate from team feelings. I may not have many nice things to say about the Yankees, but when I look at Derek Jeter, I see all that is great and wonderful in baseball.
Jeter is the prototypical athlete for the 21st century. He's a Hall of Fame player, looks great, always is seen with a beautiful woman, and is so well spoken that he comes across as an average Joe.
While critics will attack Jeter for his lack of range defensively or the fact that he hasn't won a World Series title since 2000, fans of baseball see the best leader in the game, and a player that any team would be lucky to have.
If he decides to play long enough, Jeter has a legitimate shot at passing Pete Rose for the all-time lead in hits. Jeter is ahead of Rose's pace to become the all-time hit king. Jeter has never had fewer than 156 hits in a season and that came in 2003, when he only played in 119 games.
Becoming the all-time hit king would be a great accomplishment, but regardless of whether he does or not, it won't define his career as a player. Jeter has become that rare athlete that transcends his sport and looms as an icon of the game.
Jeter follows in the steps of Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, and Thurman Munson as great Yankees that let their play on the field speak to the type of men they are. Jeter has given his blood, sweat, and tears to the Yankees and the game. He has become an ambassador to the sport, and his greatest contributions may not even happen until after his playing career ends.
Although Jeter has never won a most valuable player award, there is no greater asset to any team that Jeter is to the Yankees. For all the players that have choked over the years in the playoffs for the Yankees, Jeter has been the one player that could always be counted on for a clutch hit or a big defensive play.
Unfortunately for Jeter, he will be looked at as a player having played right in the middle of the steroid era. Many people, me included, believe Jeter to be a clean player. If it were ever to be revealed that Jeter had taken some sort of performance enhancing drug, it would shock almost every fan in the game and take away from Jeter's aura.
Derek Jeter is a sure-fire, first ballot Hall of Fame player. His play on the field, and the way he handles himself away from it have made him a hero to millions of Yankees' fans. It has also made him fans and admirers around the world that appreciate the Yankees' way, even if they don't appreciate the team itself.