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And Now, the End is Near
2008-05-27 10:26
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

It doesn't take long to go from top of the world to the end of the line, does it?  As Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera and Alex Rodrgiuez continue to move past their prime years, I often wonder how long they will last. Which one will be injured the most?  Will one of them just fall off the table seemingly overnight?   

Trot Nixon was the heart of the Red Sox "Dirt Dog" teams just a minute ago.  Now, he's close to finished.  Here's an interesting AP story

No matter how it plays out, I think the transition to life after baseball might be particularly tough for Jeter. Here is Dennis Eckersley, always a straight-shooter, talking to Mike Bryan in spring training 1988, from the book "Baseball Lives:"


People say baseball players should go out and have fun. No way. To me, baseball is pressure. I always feel it. This is work. The fun is afterwards, when you shake hands.

When I was a rookie I'd tear stuff up. Now I keep it in. What good is smashing a light on the way up the tunnel? But I still can't sleep at night if I stink. I've always tried to change that and act like a normal guy when I got home. "Hi, honey, what's happening?" I can't. It's there. It doesn't go away. But maybe that's why I've been successful in my career, because I care. I don't have fun. I pitch scared. That's what makes me go. Nothing wrong with being scared if you can channel it.

I issued to hide behind my cockiness. Don't let the other team know you're scared. I got crazy on the mound. Strike a guy out, throw my fist around---"Yeah!" Not real classy, but I was a raw kid. I didn't care. It wasn't fake. It was me. This wasn't taken very kindly by a lot of people. They couldn't wait to light me up. That's the price you pay.

I wish I was a little happier in this game. What is so great about this shit? You get the money, and then you're used to the money. You start making half a million a year, next thing you know you need half a million a year. And the heat is on!

Used to be neat to just be a big-league ballplayer, but that wore off. I'm still proud, but I don't want people to bother me about it. I wish my personality with people was better. I find myself becoming short with people. Going to the store. Getting gas.

If you're not happy with when you're doing lousy, then not happy when you're doing well, when the hell are you going to be happy? This game will humble you in a heartbeat. Soon as you starting getting happy, Boom! For the fans---and this is just a guess---they think the money takes out the feeling. I may be wrong but I think they think, "What the hell is he worrying about? He's still getting' paid." There may be a few players who don't give 100 percent, but I always thought if you were good enough to make that kind of money, you'd have enough pride to play like that, wouldn't you think? You don't just turn it on or off.

Comments
2008-05-27 10:45:40
1.   Schteeve
I 100% disagree. I think Jeter will have a great life away from baseball. doesn't seem to me he craves the fame. He'll just find something else to try to excel at. Plus, he'll probably get married when he retires. I think he's done a nice job of phasing his life.
2008-05-27 13:39:56
2.   Raf
You don't think Jeter will stick around in some kind of organizational capacity after he's retired?
2008-05-27 13:44:18
3.   randym77
I agree with Alex. I think Jeter will have the toughest time. In fact, I've often wondered what Jeter will do when his baseball days are done.

It's not the fame. He'll always have that. It's the fact that he's so competitive, and that he doesn't seem to have anything else as important in his life.

Jeter is the only one who doesn't have a wife and kids to spend his time with. He doesn't have another career (like Bernie had music). And he hasn't struck me as the type to be a good coach or broadcaster. You ask some players about an at-bat, and they'll give you a whole scouting report. Jeter will say, "I dunno what it was. I just hit it."

2008-05-27 13:52:24
4.   Alex Belth
I think it is more the competitive thing. He's so good at baseball, looks so "right" on the field, has enjoyed so much success, I just wonder if he'll struggle. Yeah, he'll have plenty to do to keep him busy--we should all have his problems--but I don't see him sticking around as a coach. Who knows? Maybe he becomes a lifer like Sweet Lou, but I doubt it.
2008-05-27 14:00:32
5.   Brent is a Dodger Fan
This is something I will not worry about one bit (even about the next great career-Dodger to retire, either). There are plenty of Kirby Puckett, Rod Beck or Ken Caminiti stories that make you wish for a better post-baseball life for any, but for all those, there are plenty of "just fine" stories: broadcasting*, team management roles, entrepreneurship, or quietude... There's plenty of room to think that millionaire ballplayers will have a decent life after the game leaves them behind.

*Let's given Joe Morgan and Tim McCarver a pass, since for argument sake, it isn't about our experience of their retirement.

2008-05-27 14:07:22
6.   Shaun P
5 I think Jeter will have a decent life, no doubt.

I think Jeter could coach, not hitting or fielding, but more in terms of carrying oneself on the field, dealing with the media, etc. Of course, no team currently has a position like that.

My worry is that Jeter ends up like Jordan. I hope that doesn't happen, but I could see it.

2008-05-27 14:59:30
7.   randym77
I don't think Jeter's going to end up like Kirby Puckett or anything like that. I think his parents have done a good job of grounding him well enough that he won't go that route.

And I think he'll always have a place in the Yankees organization if he wants one.

But I think he'll have a hard time adjusting to life after baseball. Like Bernie is having a hard time. Bernie has his music career (and he's damned good, if the critics are to be believed). He has a wife and children. And yet...he finds it hard to even watch Yankees games. His own mother says she prays that he'll find a way to accept that it's over. He's still not officially retired. I think it may be even harder for Jeter. But not so hard he becomes an alcoholic or a drug addict, or pisses all his money away.

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