Derek Jeter sets gold standard for Yankees’ Baby Bombers



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NEW YORK — There it was, the final halo over Derek Jeter’s perfect playing career. On Saturday in the Bronx, it rained all day and night. On Sunday, there were off-and-on showers.

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By the time, Derek Jeter’s No. 2 retirement ceremony began, the sky was perfect, and the sunlight shone through as Jeter took the field with his pregnant model wife, his loving parents, his sister, his nephew and his grandma, who turned him into a Yankee fan as a child.

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This was it for Jeter in the Bronx, and, after it all, you had to wonder: How could it have gone any better? Not just the Mother’s Day celebration — with Jeter nailing his thank-you speech — but the entirety of his pro career, beginning with his slipping to the No. 6 pick and the Yankees in the 1992 draft.

Game Vidal Nuno Jersey That is why Jeter is a blessing and a curse for the Yankees’ next generation, the Baby Bombers. Jeter left behind a dedication to winning that has been imprinted on these young Yankees. You can hear it in their quotes and how they go about their work. There is a Jeter standard, which is also a curse.

Kids Vidal Nuno Jersey No doubt, ballyhooed catcher and his fellow Baby Bombers will be facing pressure in the coming years to live up to the standards of Yankees icon Derek Jeter. Adam Hunger/USA TODAY SportsThey have to live up to the five championships and the clutch reputation. You can already imagine the future playoff failure laments, “Jeter would have come through.”

In hindsight, we usually remember the great moments and forget the not-so-great ones of icons. There is an idea that Jeter never didn’t come through in the clutch, even though, because of the nature of baseball, he failed more times than he succeeded. That is not to take away from his greatness, but merely to state a fact. Still, Jeter’s legacy will hang over all prospects, such as shortstop Gleyber Torres, for eternity.

Torres is considered one of the future stars of the game. He seemingly has it all both on and off the field. Even if he goes on to have a career like Torres’ idol, Omar Vizquel, it will fall short of Jeter’s. Torres would not only have to be great, he’d have to have the right teammates surrounding him to experience magic moments in October.

Not to mention how difficult it is to succeed for so long. Jeter’s first and favorite manager, Joe Torre, talked about how those Jeter dynasty teams always entered February looking to win it all again, even after another parade in October. They never sat around and reveled in their success; it was on to the next one. Jeter, as the captain, led that charge.

So many things have to go right for a career like Jeter’s to coalesce. Jeter couldn’t do it alone. He needed his Core Four buddies (Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada, Andy Pettitte) and Bernie Williams, not to mention the yearly big-time free agents brought in by the club. Pettitte said those additions always pumped life into the new year.

The Baby Bombers could have that luxury, as well, because the Yankees have so much money coming off the books, and the free-agent class of and is just two winters away.

But, even on Jeter’s day, you can see how difficult that five-championship run was to produce. The morning started with the Yankees’ placing on the DL with left shoulder inflammation. The five-year, $85 million closer is expected to miss a month, but the shoulder is the most sensitive body part of a hard thrower, so it is ominous.

By the night, after an 11-6 win over the Astros, the Yankees were wondering about . Tanaka lasted just 1 2/3 innings after allowing eight runs, including four homers, in a 10-7 defeat. Over the next five years — even with the fact that they both have opt-outs — Tanaka at the beginning of games and Chapman at the end likely need to be quality players if the Yankees are going to be special.

That is why when you saw the Core Four and Bernie honoring Jeter, all a little grayer or a little balder, you once again realize how lucky Jeter was to have them and they were to have Jeter. They didn’t win every year, but they won more than any set of players of their generation.

For that group, the clouds parted, the sun peaked through. It was perfection. It is hard to repeat.

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