You Don't Know What You Have Until It's Gone: The Case Of Derek Jeter

Dan ScofieldAnalyst IAugust 3, 2009

ANAHEIM, CA - JULY 11:  Derek Jeter #2 of the New York Yankees waits to bat against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on July 11, 2009 at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

You would think being Captain of the most popular franchise in sports and leading the team to four World Series titles would be enough.

But in New York, it isn't.

Derek Jeter is the poster boy of the New York Yankees; he’s the team’s most popular player for the most hated team in sports. When the team is losing, it’s Jeter who takes the heat.

But when the team is on a roll, it’s one of the bigger bats or star pitchers that get the recognition for the success in New York.

Don't get me wrong, Jeter is one of the most recognizable names in sports and is a fan-favorite (especially for you single females.) But that recognition comes more for his classy personality and his good looks than it does for his contributions on the field.

Most people do not realize how consistently good Jeter has been since his debut as the Yankees shortstop.

Every season, you can pencil him in for a .300 plus average, 15-20 home runs, a .400 OBP, 25 steals, 125 runs scored, and a pretty good glove.

You're probably saying to yourself, "Well, that's pretty good. But not even close to those of Hanley, Reyes, etc."

In that assessment, you are correct.

In today’s game, a player is labeled as a "star" solely based on box scores and statistics.

Most people do not consider the little things that contribute to a winning team.

Doing the little things day in and day out is what Jeter does best.

Whether it’s the game saving catch against Oakland in ALCS against Oakland or calmly addressing the media about A-Rod's newest scandal, Jeter always seems to do the right thing.

Baseball fans need to realize that players shouldn't be judged on just their fantasy baseball stats.

Most non-Yankee fans think he is the game's most overrated player today.

If he were playing for the Pittsburgh Pirates then I could see your argument.

But he is under the spotlight in New York, the most difficult place to play in sports.

Jeter has been producing at the top of the lineup for so long that Yankee fans routinely complain about short slumps or his declining range to the left side. 

In a few years when the Yankees take the field on opening day without Jeter at shortstop, only then will Yankee fans start to appreciate his greatness.  Jeter provided consistency for 15 years while other teams juggled players from one season to the next. 

As a best friend of mine once told me after I broke up with my longtime girlfriend, "you don't know what you have until it's gone."