September 25th, 2014 was a tough day for Yankee fans. It was the last day Derek Jeter played baseball. I cried. I mean, who didn’t? There’s been other tough days for me as a Yankee fan; Swisher, Teixeira…but that’s besides the point. When Derek Jeter retired, the world of baseball mourned, what can only be described as, like someone had died. The season ended that day and everyone then began to wonder how the next would go. Who would be in charge of the enormous task and responsibility of being THE Yankees’s shortstop? No one could replace “The Captain”, but someone was going to have to try.
You became a Yankee at the end of that year during the off-season. Your stats, impressive, yet I remained doubtful. Your home opener at Yankee stadium was, again, impressive. It was known that day that you could play some baseball, I gave you that. However, the doubtfulness remained. You made some big moves that game, some historic stats that game included having the most RBIs by any player in a home opener since RBIs became a stat officially in 1920. However, I still couldn’t jump on the Didi train just yet. I, selfishly, wanted to see #2 out there at short. You were new, different, and it just wasn’t the same.
The 2016 season started out much like 2015 for me as a Yankee fan, still adjusting to this “new” kid at there on the field where Jeter played for literally most of my life. It was (still) weird for me. I liked you, but I wasn’t a “fan” of you just yet. 2016 was a hard year as we lost Teixeira and ARod as players, and Yogi has a Yankee forever. And we didn’t make the playoffs, again. You know, you were there.
However, in 2017, something changed. Man, what a season we had that year, am I right? Aaron Judge’s rookie year. Luis Severino really made a name for himself. Then the postseason came and things got interesting. We won the Wild Card. And then we beat the Indians. And then we almost won again the Astros. It was an exciting time to be a Yankee and a fan. It was in that season that I really started warming up to you. You had such a lively personality. The way you were were such a team player both on and off the field. Every good thing you did, you never took sole credit for. You remained calm and collected and always seemed to pull through when we needed you the most. I mean when you boil it down, you were (and still are) a lot like Jeter (in my opinion). And it was in the moment, when I realized that, that I became a fan of YOU and officially considered you a decent (😉) and respectful replacement for The Captain. You are THE Yankees’s shortstop and you deserve to be here.
What I’m trying to say is…
Dear Didi, I’m sorry it took me so long to come around. I’m sorry I was too busy being selfish and hanging on to the past that I failed to realize how much greatness you bring to the organization and how you were doing Derek’s position, both on the field and within the organization, justice. Us Yankee fans are lucky to have YOU as OUR shortstop. I hope you stay awhile.
PS; I’ll be at the last game of the Oakland series this Wednesday, September 5th. I’d love the opportunity to apologize in person. What do ya say, Sir Didi?
Now, and forever, a fan of yours,
Beauty and The Ballpark