Why I cheered for Derek Jeter

As a Red Sox fan, I have been brought up to hate the Yankees. The timeless rivalry dates back to the beginnings of baseball, and has been augmented numerous times thanks to trades we want to forget, home runs we wish had never been hit, and bench clearing brawls. 

Because both teams have so much history, there are many stories that have been passed down, and players that are glorified by having their numbers retired. Hate and love may be considered opposite feelings, but they are felt with similar passions. I love the Red Sox with all my heart and soul. I indulge in their history, and I revel at the accomplishments that past players have made, I watch history in the making as the present players play, and I dream of the accomplishments that future players will make. 
I hate the Yankees. I hate the fact that they lead the American League East by 9 games even though the Red Sox were in first place for the first half of the season. I hate that they are so good. I hate that they go out and buy the best players on the market every single year, and rub it in our faces, and I hate the fact that they cut the hair and shaved the beard of who used to be one of my favorite players. And when I continue to think about all of these things, I realize something: I love to hate them. 
Just because I hate the Yankees, it doesn’t mean I wish they didn’t exist. What fun would the AL East be if the Yankees weren’t in it? The Red Sox and the Yankees need each other in order to exist in the way that they do. Baseball would not be the same if the Yankees didn’t exist, it would be much, much worse. 
Furthermore, just because I hate the Yankees, that doesn’t mean that I can’t admire some of their players. There are many players that I dislike, such as Alex Rodriguez. But I dislike A-Rod because of how he has cheated the game. Baseball figures like Joe Dimaggio, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle, Yogi Bera, and so many others remind us of the beauty of baseball that is sometimes overshadowed by the scandals that are so evident today. I don’t know if anyone is every going to be able to catch Dimaggio’s immortal 56 game hit streak. Lou Gehrig’s speech at Yankee Stadium is a classic piece of baseball history. 
The fact of the matter is, in order to be a fan of the Red Sox, you have to be a fan of baseball, and this applies for any team. Baseball is a beautiful thing. There is something very tangible and very intangible about it at the same time. Regardless of whom you root for, at the end of the day, we are all baseball fans, and that is why we should admire and respect the great players of the game who write another page in the eternal textbook of baseball. 
That is why I cheered for Derek Jeter when he tied, and broke Lou Gehrig’s all-time Yankees hit record. I cheered because I love baseball, and Derek Jeter is one of prototypical players of the game. He is someone that will be remembered forever in baseball history. 
When I think about some of the goals I want to accomplish in my life, there is one that is the most important to me. I want to bring a smile to people’s faces when I talk and write about baseball. I want to change the minds of those who find baseball boring, and show them how beautiful it really is. My goal is not to convert people to Red Sox fans, my goal is to convert people to baseball fans because that is the essential basis. 
Going further on this goal, I want to create a program for people with disabilities to get into baseball. I want people who are blind to be able to listen to and love the beauty of the game, and I want people who are deaf to see the beauty of the game. Our senses play such an important role in the way we experience the game, that we should give the gift of them to those who are not fortunate enough to experience the game in the same way that we do. We are lucky enough to see the beautiful ballparks, to see unbelievable plays being made, and to see the looks on players’ faces when they have won the World Series. We are lucky enough to hear the crack of a baseball bat, and the roar of the crowd after a walk-off shot has been hit. We can taste the different kinds of specialties that are made at each park, and taste the hotdogs that are a staple of every park. We are able to feel the lines and dirt on the foul ball we caught. And we can smell the dirt on the baseball field, and the fresh cut grass. We should share this experience with those who are not fortunate enough
I have a few things that I want to get to on my Red Sox agenda as well. It looks like we are going to be the wildcard team, if we can hold Texas back. The Rays are not as much of a problem considering they have been in a massive slump (and they lost a huge part of their lineup in Carlos Peña). 
Josh Beckett 2.jpg
There are two main things that the Red Sox need to focus on right now: their starting pitching rotation, and the “best” starting lineup that they can put out there. If Josh Beckett can return to his dominant Cy Young like May-August form, that may just determine how long the Red Sox will last. He has such an impact on postseason teams when he is strong: the 2003 Marlins and the 2007 Red Sox. If Jon Lester can keep up his dominant lefty reputation, and if Clay Buchholz can remain the young phenom that he is, then a three man rotation will be fine for the playoffs. 
Mike Lowell 4.jpg
However, there is one main lineup thing that I have been having a bit of an issue with as of late. Ever since the brilliant acquisition of Victor Martinez, both Jason Varitek and Mike Lowell’s playing time have been limited. Is it really fair that these two are the ones sitting when Big Papi is the one who isn’t even batting .230 on the season? I know the impact that Big Papi has had on our recent playoff runs, and I’m not asking anyone to forget that. But if we dwell on the past and hope that it can repeat itself for too long, it may be too late to focus on the problems of the present. I think that Mike Lowell deserves to be in the lineup everyday with the way that he has been hitting since the All-Star break, which is why I would have him as the designat
ed hitter, and have Martinez at first with Jason Varitek catching.I know that Varitek’s average is worse than Big Papi’s, but he has more of an impact on the game with his defense than Papi does. I think that would be the best offensive lineup that the Red Sox can put out there. 
I want to conclude this by going back to what I said before about Derek Jeter. I have told you that I cheer for him, but I want to know what you guys think. No matter who you root for, did you cheer for him, or didn’t you? Why or why not? If you are a Red Sox fan, and you wouldn’t cheer for him, do you think I am a bad Red Sox fan for appreciating his accomplishment? Please drop me a comment or an e-mail. 


  1. brian22@adexec.com

    Great blog, Elizabeth! I share your admiration for Jeter’s feat. Few franchises have the history that the Red Sox and Yankees (and others) do, so for a player to set one of those team’s all-time hit records at this point is worthy of celebration. And while I root against the Yankees, I don’t do so with such hostility that I can’t appreciate an accomplishment like Jeter’s.

    I objected to Jim Rice’s comment last month citing Jeter as an example of all that’s wrong with the game. In fact, I’ve always seen Jeter as a positive ambassador — he doesn’t run his mouth, he plays hard, he’s rarely out of the lineup, and he conducts himself outside the game (at least from what I can tell) with integrity. It just so happens he plays for the Sox’ arch nemesis.

    I don’t really understand Red Sox fans who feel the need to trash Jeter solely because he’s a Yankee. Baseball is an amazing game — “the only real game,” as Babe Ruth once said — and it would be a loss for me if I couldn’t enjoy and appreciate the noteworthy feats of all players, regardless of uniform. That doesn’t diminish my passion for the Red Sox one bit, and it doesn’t temper my enthusiasm for rooting against the Yankees either. It just means that last night when I watched Jeter’s historic at-bat, I felt fortunate to have witnessed it.

    As for the Sox’ lineup, Tito will be Tito. I’ve felt frustrated at several points since the break with the way this team’s been managed, and, like you, my principal objection is the inclusion of Papi in almost every lineup (even against tough left-handed hurlers that Ortiz routinely struggles against). I’m not confident this will be worked out to my satisfaction, and with a starting rotation still trying to find its groove, I think we’re up against it as the season comes to its close. But we’ve been up against it before, and if there’s one thing I have no confidence doing, it’s predicting what might happen come October.


  2. TribeTed

    Isn’t that why we all cheer for Derek?

    He is a fun outgoing guy and no one can hate him\\

    not even the red sox.

    Thanks for stopping by btw,

    love your blog. =)

    Derek is one of few that have accomplished 2,000 hits. And yet he is still going to get 3,000.

    Can you believe he is way out ahead of Ichiro?

    I can’t.

    good luck to Jeter I wish him well,


    –Ted “TTW/T”


  3. Jane Heller

    I really loved this post, Elizabeth, especially about your goal of reaching out to the disabled and turning them on to baseball. You’re so right about all the senses being involved: the sounds, the sights, the smells. I know you’ll find a way to achieve your goal. As for the Yanks and Sox, I wrote a piece for the NY Times about that very subject last year: how we hate each other and need each other at the same time. If I weren’t so lazy, I’d go find the link. I think it’s cool that you cheered for Jeter. You can go right back to hating the Yankees now!


  4. rrrt

    Elizabeth, I think it’s great that you were able to look beyond the rivalry, and appreciate and cheer for Jeter’s accomplishment (and maybe brave to admit it). A milestone like that transcends rivalries, and of course it doesn’t hurt that Jeter is a player who gives his all and plays the game the right way.
    Rants, Raves, and Random Thoughts

  5. jacobylvr

    That’s definitely one of your best blogs ever. And I must admit, I also cheered for Derek Jeter. To me, he represents all that is good in the game. I can’t see him as a steroid user. I see him as a captain and a clutch hitter. But, I also see him as a Yankee, so I still wince just a bit admitting that I cheered for him. But I couldn’t help it.

    You have noble ambitions regarding bringing baseball to people with disabilities. I have a feeling you’ll do it too. I hopw you will always write about baseball. You have a way of making it come alive on the page.

    And right on about Lowell and Tek. Papi has been getting some hits here and there, but Lowell has greater consistency at the plate and we could definitely use his defense on a nightly basis. However, I think Francona is playing it smart by not using Lowell every night. You can tell that MIke can’t run effectively and, much like Baldelli, should be used sparingly if we are going to make a good run at the playoffs.

    What about Bowden for Byrd in the starting rotation? That kid can pitch! (and better than Byrd at this rate).

    Keep up the great work!

  6. phillies_phollowers

    I always cheer for Jeter! He is one of the best players in the game and a great role model for kids everwhere. Whether you are a fan of the Yankees or not, this guy is GREAT for baseball and should be appreciated by all fans. He gives 110% all the time…I wish him the best!

  7. juliasrants

    I admire what Jeter has done – but for me, Lou Gehrig will always be the greatest player to wear pinstripes. If some day Yaz’ hit record is broken – we will all know that Yaz had done all that he could and we will cheer whoever can do that. But it is a bit unsatisfying to see a new Yankee hit leader – we never got to see all the Lou Gehrig could do. We all know that if he was able to play until he wanted to end that he would still own the Yankees record.


  8. diamondgirl55

    Hi Elizabeth,
    Thanks for your comment on my blog! Ichiro finally hit #200 tonight and it brightens my day 🙂 Anyway, amazing entry, I love it! Trust me, I see Jeter as a Yankee…but I don’t, if you get what I mean. I think he’s just a classic player and it doesn’t matter to me that he’s a Yankee and trust me, I hate the Yankees just as much as you do! Jeter is an amazing player and I don’t think you’re a bad Red Sox fan at all! 🙂 xoxo http://diamondgirl55.mlblogs.com

  9. devilabrit

    Very nice post, especially the reaching out… I think secretly everyone wants someone to break a record when they get close to achieving it….the BoSox definately have a mountain to climb if they get to the post season…but it’s baseball anything can happen and usually does…
    Outside the Phillies Looking In

  10. southernbelle

    Elizabeth: You know what? You are right. You are absolutely right. I am a huge Yankee fan, 16 years old and I want to be the Yankee clubhouse reporter when I grow up. I hate the Red Sox more that anything. BUT. I need them. They need to be in the AL East breathing down my Yankees’ necks, or ahead, forcing my Yanks to make a dramatic comeback. The truth is, they make it fun. Without the Red Sox, well, it just wouldn’t be the same. And I admire Jacoby Ellsbury. I love the way he plays the game. I love the speed and energy he brings to his club. He is a great ballplayer.
    I think you are very wise to say what you said in this post. Not many fans have the courage to do that. You are obviously a genuine person and a great fan of the game. I admire that.

  11. irishsoxkid19

    Great post!! I too cheered for Jeter that night. And a few days later, when I went to Yankess Stadium for the first time, I only cheered for him and booed the rest of them old men. Seriously, Hideki Matsui looks like he’s 100 years old and should retire. This year’s Red Sox should win it all this year, and we have the players to do so. Hope that tonight goes in our favor!!

  12. concordsoxfan

    Wonderful post, Elizabeth! And yes, I absolutely cheered for Jeter. I hate the Yankees as a team, but not as individuals; there are a number that I do like/admire, and Jeter is definitely one of them. Of course, the Sox are now out of the post season, so we’re licking our wounds and again rooting for anyone who plays against the Yankees!

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