Link to letter on Players Tribune Here
Well, cue the water works. There’s never been and never will be an athlete New Yorkers unanimously feel such a strong emotional connection to. Derek Jeter is it, he’s “the one” for New York sports fans. The greatest dream of our lives, Derek Jeter was and is that reality. I don’t need to be the one to tell you Derek Jeter had and has it all, both on and off the field. Hard to even imagine a better life than Derek Jeter, let alone actually live it.
This video is a chance for the rest of the world to get an inside peek at Derek Jeter’s relationship with New Yorkers. The toughest bunch in the world to earn respect from. Derek Jeter did it ten fold. He became a god in a city built off legends. He embodied the city and its people like no one before him.
Though, for someone outside New York, this video won’t have the same effect on them. They won’t understand it. They won’t be able to fully grasp the gravity and meaningfulness of the words. Which is exactly why it’s so impactful to the people it was meant for, New Yorkers. A fraternity that Derek was not himself born into, but one he over a 20-year career earned his way into day after day, at bat after at bat and World Series title after World Series title.
The fact that this whole video is about that process and why it was so important and meaningful to him only makes New Yorkers respect him even more. The story being told through real New Yorkers adds even more to that effect. It’s a pleasant reminder of what the city does for people who truly embrace it. But don’t worry Derek, we didn’t forget and we never will.
Yes, Derek Jeter is loved and respected by pretty much everyone, including in Boston, it’s impossible not to feel that way about him, but it’s different for New Yorkers. It’s a different kind of love and respect. It’s a “you’re one of us forever” type of respect. This weekend when the Yankees finally retire Derek Jeter’s famous #2 it will be the last emotional scene in a 20-year long list of continuous joy and passion this man has brought to the greatest city on the planet. There’s a reason he calls it THE big city. As much as anyone outside New York hates to admit it and as pompous as you think New Yorkers might be for constantly reminding you of it, the world revolves around New York City and that’s a fact that will never change as long as humans walk this earth.
I’ll leave you with the most significant part of Jeter’s words…
And throughout 20 years in pinstripes, I learned that despite the pace and the pressure, one code truly makes this city go: Get up each day, put on your uniform, go to work, do your best, and don’t make excuses.
That’s all New York ever really asks for.
And that’s what I tried to do.
Thank you, New York, for asking a lot of me. For challenging me. For giving this kid a place to grow up. I wasn’t born a New Yorker — you asked me to earn it. I wasn’t born a Yankee, but you made me into one. Everyone comes to this city with dreams of being No. 1. You showed me that being No. 2 was more than enough.
These are the truest words in there. That’s all New York ever asks for. That’s what New York is all about. Go to work, do your best and NEVER make excuses. New Yorkers don’t have time for excuses, especially from professional athletes, people got real problems, but Jeter never dreamed of doing that. It’s in his DNA. Just like a New Yorker. He took the good with the bad, weathered the storm and ate the punches. Just like a New Yorker. He never got out of line, he did his job and he worked harder than anyone there was. Just like a New Yorker. Derek Jeter represented the city with grace, humility, respect and success. Just like a New Yorker. He didn’t let anyone push him around, or talk bad about his team or his city.
Just like a New Yorker.
Derek Jeter wasn’t born a New Yorker, but he sure as hell proved to us he deserved to be one. You’ve completed every challenge we put in front of you. Together we watched you become the most precious Yankee of a generation, perhaps of all-time, our Captain. Number 2 will always be more than enough. We are forever grateful. So, Derek, it’s not “Thank us”, from the bottom of our heart, it’s
“Thank You, Derek”
P.S These two commercials give you all the feels and even more insight into how much impact Derek Jeter had on the greatest city on the planet. Cue the water works once again.