Derek Jeter's addressed his decision to retire at the end of the 2014 season for the first time today. Jeter commented on his retirement but reiterated that he "still has a season to play". Jeter talked with the press in Tampa as the first day of Spring Training kicked off.
Jeter who faced many questions about his pending retirement said that he wasn't really ready for a farewell tour. "I don't know what that means," Jeter said. He added that he has to take some time to figure it out. Based on the size of today's turnout, this is something the Captain will have to deal with all season. Jeter has always been a humble player, so a season filled with tributes and admiration may be some thing that he will get used to as the season progresses. At this point in time Jeter didn't seem too comfortable speaking about his retirement.
This is not a retirement press conference, I still have a season to play.
Of course that didn't deter the press from asking about his decision to hang 'em up at seasons' end. By making his announcement before the season started, he will have to deal with these questions all season long. Jeter's decision to announce his news via Facebook took some people by surprise. Jeter explained how he tried to contact Hal Steinbrenner about his decision and was unable to. When he finally reached him the next day Steinbrenner said, " do it how you want to do it." Of course his retirement was the main focus in Tampa today. Jeter admitted that this has been an emotional time for him. "You trying to get me to cry?", Jeter said jokingly. He said it has been a little tough for him and that he does "have feelings." Jeter did have this to say about his legacy:
You want to be remembered as someone who played hard. But I've said it time and time again, what I most want to be remembered as is a Yankee.
The Captain explained that this is something he had thought about for a while. He added, that he still feels that he can play, but that he thought it was just the right time. He admitted that he had discussed the possibility of this year being his last with those who he is close with. He said that Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte new as early as last season that Jeter would play his last game in 2014. Last years ankle injury a had big part in Jeter's thought process. Jeter added that last season, baseball became more of a job " because of all the injuries". He also felt that 2013 wasn't fun, due to the fact that he wasn't playing.
Last year I was very vocal about how disapointing it was. How hard it was for me to come to the stadium each and every day. You start to think about about how much you want to do this
Derek was upbeat and positive and kept moving the questions towards this season and the excitement of this years Yankee team. He said that he feels good emotionally and is looking forward to getting back on the field after only playing in 17 games last season. Jeter was optimistic about making a full return to health this season and that he was excited to get back on the field and be out there with his teammates.
These are the guy's you go out with and do battle with each and every day.
Jeter suffered a dislocated ankle in Game 1 of the 2012 AL Championship Series. After attempting to comeback last season, Jeter feels that his ankle will not be an issue this year. He said that he is fully healed and that the problem last year wasn't so much about the health of the ankle. Jeter said that the problem really centered around the total stability of the muscles and the overall strength in his lower leg. Jeter said that once he retires that there are many things that he wants to do. He commented that he would like to start a family and that he a great respect for his teammates who have wives and kids.
I look forward to other things. But the idea of doing other things is something I look forward to. I know a lot of people have turned this in to physically, I can't do this I can't do that.
Jeter added that there many things he still wants to accomplish, but that he was in no rush and that he would accomplish those things "when the time is right". Jeter has mentioned in the past that one of his main goals is to be the owner of a Major League baseball team. The sky seems to be the limit for Derek Jeter and his future, but he still has one last season to add to his already impressive Yankee legacy.
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