Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Send Derek Home In Style


So this is it. The 20th and last season for Derek Jeter:

The one thing I always said to myself was that when baseball started to feel more like a job, it would be time to move forward. So really it was months ago when I realized that this season would likely be my last.

As I came to this conclusion and shared it with my friends and family, they all told me to hold off saying anything until I was absolutely 100 percent sure. And the thing is, I could not be more sure. I know it in my heart.

I vividly dreamed of playing shortstop for the Yankees. I never had to wake up. I have been living my dream every single day.

I've experienced so many defining moments in my career: winning the World Series as a rookie shortstop, being named the Yankees captain, closing the old and opening the new Yankee Stadium. Through it all, I've never stopped chasing the next one. I want to finally stop the chase and take in the world.

For the last 20 years I've been completely focused on two goals: Playing my best, and helping the Yankees win. That means that, for 365 days a year, my every thought and action were geared toward that goal. It's now time for something new.

I have achieved almost every personal and professional goal I have set. I have gotten the very most out of my life playing baseball, and I have absolutely no regrets. Now it is time for the next chapter. I have new dreams and aspirations, and I want new challenges.

There are many things that I want to do in business and philanthropic work, in addition to focusing more on my personal life and starting a family of my own. And I want the ability to move at my own pace, see the world and finally have a summer vacation.

I want to soak in every moment of every day this year, so I can remember it for the rest of my life. And, most importantly, I want to help the Yankees reach our goal of winning another championship.

*

As if the Yankees needed another reason to do a hell of a lot better than last year.

As things currently stand, Jeter's last home game will be on Thursday, September 25, against the Baltimore Orioles.

His last game, period, on Sunday, September 28, against The Scum at Scumway Park.

Meaning that the Yankees absolutely MUST have a Playoff berth already clinched on the 25th or earlier.

Look, I don't care if they win it for Jeter, or who they win it for.

As long as they win it.

And you just know Derek feels the same. It's not about him, it's about the team.

*

Hours until the first U.S. hockey game of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia: 13, vs. Slovakia, at 7:30 our time tomorrow morning. Also at 7:30 AM, we play Russia on Saturday and Slovenia on Sunday. Great, give our geography-challenged country both Slovakia and Slovenia in our group. Also, you know the Russkies have been waiting for Saturday's game, a chance to have our hockey team on their home ice since, oh, the evening of February 22, 1980.

Days until Arsenal play again: 4, Sunday afternoon (11:00 AM our time), home to Liverpool in the 5th Round of the FA Cup. Today, with a golden opportunity to finally teach Manchester United a lesson, Arsenal never got anything going, and only got a 0-0 draw. The loss to injuries of Theo Walcott and Aaron Ramsey has really hurt them lately. Still, Arsenal are only 1 point behind Premier League-leading Chelsea with just 12 League matches to play, which is a vast improvement over their usual form since the 2003-04 "Invincibles" season.
Days until the Devils play again: 15, on Thursday night, February 27, home to the Columbus Blue Jackets. This is after the Olympic break ends. In 2 weeks.

Days until the Devils next play a local rival: 17, on Saturday afternoon, March 1, away to the New York Islanders. We play away to the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday night, March 11; home to the Rangers on Saturday night, March 22; away to the Islanders a week after that; and home to the Islanders on Friday night, April 11.

Days until the U.S. national soccer team plays again: 21, on Wednesday, March 5, a "friendly" (exhibition game) vs. the Ukraine in Kharkiv. Just 3 weeks. I suspect that there will be another tuneup match or two between the end of the European club season in May and the start of the World Cup in June.

Days until the Red Bulls play again: 24, on Saturday, March 8, 7:30 PM, away to the Vancouver Whitecaps.

Days until the next North London Derby between Arsenal and Tottenham: 32, a Premier League match, on Sunday, March 16, at White Hart Lane. Just over a month.

Days until the Yankees play again: 48, on Tuesday, April 1, at 7:10 PM, away to the Houston Astros.  Just 7 weeks.

Days until the Yankees' home opener: 54, on Monday, April 7, at 1:00 PM (well, 1:07 or so), vs. the Baltimore Orioles.

Days until the next Yankees-Red Sox series begins: 57, on Thursday, April 10, at 7:00 PM (well, 7:07 or so), at Yankee Stadium II.

Days until the Red Bulls next play a "derby": 59, on Saturday, April 12, 2:30 PM, vs. D.C. United, at Robert F. Kennedy Stadium in Washington.
Days until Arsenal could win the Premier League title, presuming it goes to the final game of the season: 88, on Sunday, May 11, with a 10:00 AM (our time) start, away to Norwich City, of East Anglia.

Days until the FA Cup Final, for which Arsenal is still eligible, at the new Wembley Stadium in London: 94, on Saturday, May 17.

Days until the UEFA Champions League Final, for which Arsenal is still eligible, at the Stadium of Light in Lisbon, Portugal: 101, on Saturday, May 24.

Days until the 2014 World Cup in Brazil: 120, on Thursday, June 12. Exactly 4 months.

Days until Rutgers plays football again: 198, on Saturday, August 30, away to Washington State, at CenturyLink Field, home of the NFL Champion Seattle Seahawks. Under 7 months.

Days until East Brunswick High School plays football again: Unknown, as the schedule has yet to be released.  Most likely, it will be on the 2nd Friday night in September.  If so, that will be September 12, therefore 212 days.

Days until Rutgers makes its Big Ten Conference debut: 213 days, on Saturday, September 13, time to be determined, against old enemy Penn State.

Days until Derek Jeter's last regular-season game (barring injury): 228, on Sunday, September 28, against the Red Sox at Fenway Park.

Days until the next East Brunswick vs. Old Bridge Thanksgiving game: 288, on Thursday morning, November 27, 10:00 AM. Under 10 months.

Days until the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: 905, on Friday, August 5, 2016. Just 2 1/2 years.

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