One could say that Derek Jeter and I came into this world together. I was born in 1996, Jeter’s first full season. A few months after I was born, “The Captain” would go on to win his first World Series, immediately followed by him winning A.L. Rookie of the Year.
Jeter was my favorite player growing up, and still is my favorite player of all time. My idol. I wanted to be like him. I wanted to be number 2. I would pray that whenever I went to a game he wouldn’t be resting (thankfully it never happened).
Obviously I wasn’t the only one who adored him. Millions upon millions did around the globe. He was the face of baseball. And Major League Baseball could get behind that. Jeter embodied class, character, and success — all things you want kids to strive for. And getting into the Hall of Fame? That is the ultimate honor. When you think of the Hall of Fame, you think of those characteristics, among others. Unfortunately, the announcement of Jeter receiving 396 of 397 votes to get into baseball’s inner circle, it was in parallel with the soggy leftovers of the conclusion of the investigation into the Houston Astros for illegally stealing signs.
The Astros have been an absolute disaster since they beat the Yankees in the ALCS this past October. Not only did they blow a Game 7 lead and lose the World Series, but the whole world saw the toxic culture that has been festering in Houston. First, it was Brandon Taubman, and now it is this cheating scandal.
It started with the fact that the statements from Jeff Luhnow and A.J. Hinch were mediocre at best. But it doesn’t stop there. This is a sullied organization from top to bottom. Who are the Astros’ three biggest position players? Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, and Carlos Correa. All of them have fallen flat on their faces since they were found guilty last week.
“The commissioner came out with a report, MLB did their report and the Astros did what they did. They made their decision on what they’re going to do.” That was the sentiment repeatedly stated by Bregman. Maybe they were told not to comment — makes at least some sense. But why, then, did Altuve ramble on, saying how they were going to be right back in the World Series in 2020? Zero apologies, zero remorse. Correa took it Instagram, replying on one of his own photos:
I have repeatedly said it and I will say it again: just because the cheating didn’t necessarily give you an edge doesn’t mean it was justified. You can have a team cheat and go 0-162 — it wouldn’t change my opinion about them and it wouldn’t make me feel they should be punished less.
The Astros have yet to come out and say the simple words “I’m sorry.” Remind you of anything? How about how long it took them to say those words after the Taubman incident? They are portraying themselves as victims, undertaking the “us against the world mentality.” That’s fine, but only after you apologize and express at least one shred of remorse for your actions.
Hopefully, MLB can sort out this whole fiasco, as it is not going away any time soon. Maybe they’ll address it again once their investigation into the 2018 Red Sox concludes. What has been the league’s top initiative in recent years? Growing the league. Getting more young fans into baseball. Do you really want them to see the game in the state it is right now?
So maybe it’s a good thing the Hall of Fame announcement occurred when it did. It reminded us of a player who stood for everything good in the game. A champion. Someone you would be proud to be a role model to your kids. He was certainly mine.
Congratulations Derek Jeter on your induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.