America's Baseball Writers Mourn The Passing Of Derek Jeter

Like the rest of us, America's baseball writers were surprised when New York Yankees captain Derek Jeter took to Facebook yesterday to announce his retirement. Unlike the rest of us, many of them seem to have been so surprised that they mistook his retirement for his death, and wrote obituaries. Here are some of those obituaries, rated in rough order of how dead the writer seems to think Jeter is.

1) "Jeter deserving of place among Yankees' legends"—Richard Justice, MLB.com

How certain is the writer that Jeter is dead?

He pretty clearly wrote this right after sending a floral arrangement to Mr. and Mrs. Jeter.

How does he feel about Jeter?

it could be argued that Jeter is the greatest player who ever lived... Think of all the ways we assess a player's career and tell me another player who ranks ahead of Jeter... you got to see the great Jeter. As long as baseball is played, he'll be one of those players every other is measured against—not just by the raw numbers, but the way he moved and reacted, the ease with which he played the most difficult game on earth.

2) "For Derek Jeter, ring always was only thing"—David Lennon, Newsday

How certain is the writer that Jeter is dead?

It would be surprising if he hasn't sent a funeral-appropriate suit out for dry cleaning.

How does he feel about Jeter?

And honestly, the Yankees will never have another Jeter, just like there has never been another Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio or Mantle. The sport will always produce great players ticketed for Cooperstown. But how many more will win five World Series rings? As the Yankees' captain? Jeter is something we may not see again in our lifetimes...

3) "Derek Jeter's greatest feat? Staying irrepressibly likeable as a Yankee (and baseball) icon"—Joe Posnanski, NBC Sports

How certain is the writer that Jeter is dead?

You can expect a column shortly on how the Hall of Fame ought to invoke the Roberto Clemente precedent so that he can be elected next winter.

How does he feel about Jeter?

Derek Jeter began playing baseball in a very different America, a very different world... He was exalted to the heavens by his fans, detested to his core by opposing fans. He was the most visible man in a game that had such a deep steroid problem that it would get dragged before Congress. He had more hosannas thrown his way than any player of his time...

4) "There will never be a Yankee that matters more than Derek Jeter"—Mike Lupica, New York Daily News

How certain is the writer that Jeter is dead?

He held a wake last night.

How does he feel about Jeter?

For two decades he was the Yankee that kids wanted to be.

You know the Yankees sell their history and tradition with both hands, in all possible ways, and try to buy more by overpaying all these free agents over the years. More than any of that, though, for these two decades, the best promotion they had was at shortstop. They just had to send Jeter out there day after day and summer after summer.

5) "Derek Jeter represented everything a superstar should be"—Tom Verducci, Sports Illustrated

How certain is the writer that Jeter is dead?

There's an empty bottle of Bushmill's in the Verducci household this afternoon.

How does he feel about Jeter?

Jeter was the consummate leader. He arrived in the big leagues fully baked. He understood from day one that it was better to be defined by championships than by statistics. He started with that premise, and upon that layered extraordinary talent and remarkable physical and mental toughness to become the archetype of what a Major League Baseball franchise player should be.

6) "How Derek Jeter survived 20 years in New York"—Joel Sherman, New York Post

How certain is the writer that Jeter is dead?

Sure enough to write about things Jeter told him off the record.

How does he feel about Jeter?

He was warmly cold—receptive to the questions, guarded in the answers. In the end, I knew what everyone knew. He loved two items above all else: his family and being the Yankees shortstop.... Fans loved him for what they thought they knew, when I actually think it was because of what they never learned, because Jeter would not reveal or because he lived a careful existence.

It isn't only writers who are under the impression that Jeter has died; Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim designated hitter Albert Pujols, according to a report, thinks Jeter is "pretty close" to Jesus, perhaps sitting at His right hand now that he's in Heaven.

Meanwhile, USA Today's Bob Nightengale not only is aware that Jeter isn't dead, but was able to get Yankees president Randy Levine on the record predicting a sad, grim fate for the revered icon:

"He wants to go out like Michael Jordan."

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