Derek Jeter is done for the season with a broken ankle from a year ago still lingering. Jeter says there's no way an ankle injury, or any injury, is going to keep him from returning to form.
His 19-year career is incomplete, and there's plenty more opportunities for the Yankee legend to stack more base hits in custom fashion.
But even with respect to Jeter's expected competitive streak, scoffing at the idea that his career could be over or close to it, or that a 39-year-old shortstop is reaching the end of his career is not something we can just bury. With Jeter on the shelf for the rest of the season, he and Mariano Rivera will likely never play together again. And the questions on what's left of Jeter, and the Yankees as they fight for a Wild Card spot, are legitimate at this point.
Jeter said he wasn't moving the way he wanted to move, hitting the way he wanted to hit, or throwing the way he wanted to throw. That's what tends to happen when Father Time gets on a mean streak. No one's wishing the end on Jeter, but he's a fascinating case of how elite athletes deal with the reality of inevitable decline.
"A lot of end talk here," Jeter said (via USA Today) in a media session less than two hours after the team decided to place him on the disabled list and end a season that has seen him play just 17 games – and bat just .190. "You guys want this to be the end for me?"
It's not about what the media wants, or what Jeter wants. These are the discussions, even if it's uncomfortable to consider. Say he recovers from the ankle nightmare, the same durability questions will be there the next time Jeter gets dinged up. This is who he is now; the old guy you actually start to appreciate more because you never know when it will be the last time.