Lessons in Leadership from The Captain.

derek-jeter-dive-into-stands# 2, Derek Jee-tah, #2

I’ve heard the late Bob Sheppard’s voice introduce Derek Jeter ever since the skinny 21–year old shortstop joined the Yankees during the 1995 season. Even since he  passed, Sheppard’s recording of the “Jee-tah” intro is still used when Jeter comes to bat. .

Derek Jeter is the Yankees Captain, and will remain so, for at least 3 more seasons, hopefully more. Jeter is a perennial all-star and ultimate team player who does the “right thing” on and off the field. He is respected as a player and as a man. He is already regarded as the best shortstop of all time and is closing in on several Yankee milestones. Next up is his 3000 hit which he should attain sometime mid season in 2011. Jeter is the ultimate Yankee.

I was pained by the drama of the recent contract negotiations between Jeter and the Yankees. I suspect there may have been blame on both sides. But the Yankees threat to Jeter to seek other offers was unnecessary and inappropriate. Jeter is their captain. He made his intentions to return at an amicable price crystal clear. He earned the right to maintain dignity even in the face of a lesser contract than he hoped. Jeter is still well paid so I shed no tears for his salary, but he exudes grace, teamwork and speaks only of a singular team goal—World Championships. However cliché, there is no “i” in team, nor in Jeter.

I love the Yankees—if you read Strumings or know me even a little—this is not news to you. I understand why others may not share my passion, misguided though they may be. The Yankees outspend other teams in their pursuit of success, so they are accused of trying to “buy championships”. I am proud to be a partial season ticket holder and while my tickets are not cheap, the parking at $23 is expensive, and the hot dogs are pricey, I gladly contribute to their aggressive spending. The Yankees are more than a baseball team. They are American history.

In Jeter’s case, his contract  is money well spent, both in recognition of the 5 Championships he contributed to, and for the future success to come. Never underestimate Derek Jeter. Though he has more years behind him than ahead, would anyone really be surprised and bounced back and hit .300 in 2011? I wouldn’t. But even if he doesn’t, the Yankees (and virtually every other major league team) are be far better with #2 as their shortstop.  

And in a few years we will hear. “Now entering the Hall of Fame, #2, Derek Jee-tah, #2”. But hopefully not too soon. A few more years of great baseball on the field are still ahead for the Yankee Captain.

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  1. David Sonn says:

    I was unaware you like the Yankees. I am not, but do respect them in staying the course with the simplicity of the uniform. Might be a brand lesson there.

  2. Lonny Strum says:

    I’m so glad that you are now aware of my love for the Yankees. On the other hand, I am aware of your passion of the Cincy Bengals. There are may lessons to be learned from them as well. Alas, most of them are what NOT to do. The good news for the Bengals is that having dreadful looking uniforms is the least of their problems.

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