When Derek Jeter went 5-for-5, including a dramatic home run for his 3000th hit, we were all Derek Jeter fans (yes, even the Yankee haters). It was one of those amazing sports feats that keep us all fans of the unscripted beauty that sport can be on the field, court and ice.
After his 3000th hit and big day, it was easy to admire Jeter’s talent and character. But then Jeter made the worst decision of his career: He basically told Major League Baseball and the game’s fans, “Thanks but no thanks. I’m not going to no All-Star Game. I don’t care if fans across America voted me in. I’m tired and sore and I want to just hang loose for a few days.”
Now, I understand that Jeter’s 37 years-old, that his body doesn’t heal and recover as quickly as it did a decade ago. I understand the public and media scrutiny during his recent pursuit of his 3000th hit was draining. But I also know that he was healthy enough to go 5-for-5 a couple days ago.
Look, I don’t care if Jeter doesn’t even play. Just show up, Derek. Put on your uniform for an hour or so, line up on the foul line and wave to the baseball fans watching in the stadium and at home when you’re introduced. Let the baseball world celebrate a great accomplishment for a few minutes and then you can go and relax with friends and family in the desert for a couple days. Is that asking too much?
Do these modern-day All-Stars know how blessed they are?
The old-time All-Stars certainly did as this quote from nine-time All-Star Rocky Colavito shows: “If you are really injured, it’s one thing,” says Colavito. “But if I could walk, I wanted to be there. It was an honor. It was prestige. It was being with great players. It’s part of why you play the game.”
You owed it to us to show up Mr. Jeter. Instead you stiffed us. Shame on you.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
- League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.