This new series is guest blogged by Doug Logan.
Doug Logan was the CEO for USATF from 2008 until September 2010. He was also the CEO, President and Commissioner for Major League Soccer from 1995 to 1999. To read more about his background and involvement in Track, Soccer, Rugby and the Music industry, read my Freelap Friday Five Interview.
This is his 64th article. Click here for his entire series.
SHIN SPLINTS 2014
Derek Jeter had one hell of a going-away party last week. On Thursday, in his last appearance at Yankee Stadium against the Baltimore Orioles, the Captain added to the lore of his legacy. With one out, in the bottom of the ninth, the score tied 5-5, and two base-runners, Jeter hit a screaming grounder to the right side of the field that drove in the winning run. The aging hero came through once again.
And, he did it just as we expected him to do it. That “inside-out” swing to the opposite field should now be known as a “Jeter”. He could have pointed to a spot just to the left of the second baseman, just as Babe Ruth pointed to the right-field stands. We knew what he was going to do and he did it. Just as we knew Michael Jordan was going to fake Byron Russell out of his jock and sink the last second winning shot against the Utah Jazz. The great ones come through in the clutch when we most expect them to.
On Sunday, at his last at-bat in Boston against the nemesis Red Sox, Jeter was safe on an infield hit that scored a run. His appearance was anti-climactic and admittedly for purposes of respect for the Boston fans. Tellingly, neither of the principal owners of the Yankees, the disinterested Steinbrenner sons, was present at either of these send-offs. George must be blustering in his grave…he would never have missed this. I suspect we will see this incredibly valuable asset packaged for sale in the not too distant future.
Back to the “swan song” in the Bronx. Jeter had all three of his Yankee managers in attendance. His current skipper and former teammate, Joe Girardi, was in pinstripes in the home dugout. His last manager, and the guy he still respects by calling Mister “T”, Joe Torre, was dressed in a suit and there to honor his former shortstop. Most interestingly, Jeter’s first manager with the Yanks, Buck Showalter, is now the manager of the Division champs Orioles and was in the visitor’s dugout.
Showalter was the one who called Jeter up from the minors and installed him at short in Yankee Stadium in 1995. He was so sure of the kid from Kalamazoo’s future greatness that he assigned him the number “2”. This was significant because all the single digit Yankee numbers other than “2” had been retired since they had been worn by Hall-of-Famers [Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, Mantle, Berra, et al]. When Steinbrenner heard of the assignment of the prized “2”, he called Showalter and screamed, “You’d better be right!” He was.
Lolo Jones, the wonderful hurdler, often talks about what she calls “Phase II”; the life of an athlete after the competitive career is over. Well, it is now Phase II for Number 2. According to most reports, Jeter has his eyes on several projects: a children’s book that has just been released, a book of off-field photographs by Christopher Anderson titled Jeter Unfiltered, a venture into the world of media content. In short, Jeter will be a “brand”. And, I am sure the hallmark of that brand will continue to extend the legend of the man. He prides himself on his focus on impeccable behavior, rectitude, respect and loyalty. He is, in short, what every father and mother wants their daughter to marry. And marry, he will, whether it is current flame, model Hannah Davis, or some other lucky girl listed in the Maxim Hot 100.
His behavior and demeanor makes one wonder whether he might be a little too perfect. Cynicism forces the thought that he can’t possibly be that good. He has cultivated an image that strains credulity and challenges his authenticity. Where the hell are his flaws; did he not get tainted by Original Sin?
I remember a time, long ago, when a bunch of my guy friends and I were having a discussion fueled by adult beverages. The topic was the attraction [or lack of] of the photographs in Playboy Magazine. One of my pals made an articulate case that the photos of the nude models were not erotic or even interesting…they were too perfect. His point was that the female bodies depicted did not exist in the un-airbrushed real world. He went on to say that he wished he saw “…a zit on a breast, a blemish, sagging, an uneven pair…” That would make these women more desirable. Another went on to say, “…and more attainable!”
Let’s hope Jeter, in the careful manicuring of his image, has not made himself into a centerfold. Let’s hope he has not become “2” perfect.
Today marks the 3rd anniversary of the day that I began to keep track of my walking miles. In three years I have walked 4,672 miles, 5 miles at a time. My average pace is 16 minutes and 37 seconds per mile and I hope to ultimately walk around the world [24,009 miles at the equator]. I am 19.4% of the way there and have walked the equivalent of Sarasota, FL, to Honolulu, HI, as the crow flies. Hooahh!