My jerk coworkers won't understand, but Derek Jeter does represent something to Yankee fans of a certain age. Like me! Over the course of his career, baseball players went from grown men I admired to people who are now younger than me. These two pictures, of Jeter posing with Reds 3B Todd Frazier 16 years apart, deftly sum up why it's depressing that Jeter's retiring: it makes me feel so very old.
Frazier was a shortstop on the Toms River, N.J., Little League World Series-winning team in 1998, and so got invited to Yankee Stadium. He wanted to stand next to his favorite Yankee, Paul O'Neill, during the national anthem, but that was decided by position, so he got stuck with Jeter.
Fast-forward to the all-star game. Frazier, 28, is a little taller. Jeter, 40, has a little less hair. But they did the photo thing again. And yes, both remember the first time, though the memory was naturally a little more vivid for Frazier.
"I talked to him three years ago," Frazier said on Monday. "We worked out together in Florida for a little bit. I said, 'Do you remember that?' He started laughing. He said, 'Holy cow, don't tell anybody.'"
"I remember the Little League teams that come to the Stadium usually come and stand next to us. It means I've been doing it for a long time – a very long time. It's great to see guys that you run into when they're young. There's been plenty of players I've played against that have said I had an opportunity to met them earlier in my career. I enjoy those stories."