Derek Jeter: 'This is the right time' to call it a career
Simply put, Derek Jeter has decided to retire after the 2014 season because, as he said at Wednesday's media Q&A, he concluded that "this is the right time" to say his final goodbye to the game.
"You start thinking about how long you really want to do this," Jeter told the media, "and I've been doing this a long time. This will be parts of 20 seasons here in New York, parts of 23 when you count the Minors…and I feel like this is just the right time."
Sitting in the same pavilion at George M. Steinbrenner Field where Mariano Rivera announced his pending retirement last March, Jeter spoke to the media for the first time since making the announcement via Facebook last week. It was a little bit different than The Captain's usual first day of spring press briefings, but he refused to get emotional - partly because he's often tried to hide those emotions throughout his career, but mostly because, as he said, it's not over yet.
"We still have a season to play," he said. "I have feelings. I'm not emotionally stunted. Maybe it will be different at the end of the year, but right now, we still have a whole season to go."
The Yankees Captain did say that he feels good physically and the decision had nothing to do with that, putting the onus for his "nightmare" 2013 on the fact that his ankle was healed but "everything around my ankle wasn't strong enough."
He did admit that the whole scenario, and a season that saw him play in just 15 games and hit .190, put thoughts about retirement into his mind, but he wasn't going to pin that "right time" revelation on his physical health.
"I've been fortunate; I've played pretty much an entire career with only one major injury - besides a dislocated shoulder (in 2003) that was six weeks (on the DL) - so I can't complain about last year," he said. "I'm just ready to do other things. Not yet, but I'm looking forward to doing other things."
As for the reasons why he chose Facebook, The Captain said clarity was the biggest one, but the fact that his Facebook page has a lot to do with his Turn 2 Foundation also was a factor.
"One was to get the entire message out; I didn't want people to cut and paste it and put what they chose, I wanted people to read the entire message," he said, "and two, for selfish reasons, I thought it would draw a little bit more attention to the Foundation."
The beginning of the end truly came Wednesday, but as Jeter also said, he hopes the "end of the end" is a bit more of a surprise; The Captain gave a nod to the final moments of Mariano Rivera's career being a legendary moment, but Jeter said he hopes his comes as a "surprise," and hopefully at the end of a victorious World Series for the Yankees.
Then, and only then, will The Captain think about his future endeavors, because he wants to end his career with one last great Jeter moment.
"Every time we win…the ultimate goal is to win, and when we win, those are memories that are going to stand out most for me. I've done a lot of things in my career, but if you ask me what stands out the most, it's winning."