Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Should athletes really get to celebrate their retirement for an entire season?

Earlier this afternoon a quick glance at my twitter feed prompted me to think to myself "Whoa, Derek Jeter retired!?  That is HUGE news."  A few seconds later I realized he didn't actually call it quits, he simply announced to the world that he intends to eight months from now.  In doing so the next 220 some odd days will now officially become The Derek Jeter Show.

Jeter saw Mariano Rivera do the same thing last year, and obviously decided it looked like a lot of fun.  Honestly I can't say I would handle this any differently if I were him.  But there's no denying it's also a fairly selfish move; a very Brett Favre-esque thing to do.

Obviously I'm somewhat biased here.  I fully understand that I might not be so adamant in my opinion on this if it wasn't two New York Yankees doing it in back to back seasons.  And I also realize that they both rank near the top of the list of all-time Yankees, so these are unusual circumstances.

But having said that, I don't care how great a player you are, you're still not bigger than the game itself.  No retiring athlete is worthy of an entire years' worth of headlines in every city they go to.  Jeter could have easily decided to hang 'em up today (which probably would have made sense considering he's 39 years old and hit .190 in just 17 games last season) and had his shining moment in the spotlight for the next few weeks.  I fully understand wanting that moment on the field, so it's perfectly acceptable in my mind to make this announcement towards the end of the year when you're team isn't heading to the playoffs (which Jeter could have done last fall).  But hijacking an entire MLB season for your own self-indulgence is just too much.

This is going to become more and more of a trend, and who knows how far it will go.  Anybody want to bet that when the ego-maniacal LeBron James retires he announces it two years ahead of time?


  1. I do think it is important for your team to know your intentions as early as possible. And the idea that this could remain quiet if the front office was informed doesn't seem realistic.

    1. Sure, I guess if he quit today the Yankees might have to go look for a shortstop (Stephen Drew? hmmm), but I don't think they need to know now that he doesn't plan to play in 2015.


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