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Sweeny: Derek Jeter Still Great At 38

Derek Jeter (credit: Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

Derek Jeter (credit: Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

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By Sweeny Murti
» More Columns

Did it make you feel old to hear that Derek Jeter turned 38 on Tuesday?

Jeter has never made a big deal about turning older, he simply deals with it day-by-day, the same way he’s dealt with his entire career actually.

Jeter spent a few minutes discussing his latest birthday milestone as he got ready to play his 2,498th game as a Yankee.  It was a little more prep time than he spent for his 24th game or his 98th game.  Jeter, as we all found out last year, doesn’t like to think that getting older should mean he’s not as good a player.  But he does admit that it takes a little more effort to get ready for the day’s battle.

“You probably spend a little bit more time getting ready,” Jeter said.  “I don’t know if you’d say it gets harder.  You know, when you’re younger you come in, you show up, you don’t have BP, you get dressed, you don’t even stretch, you just go out there and play.  Now it’s more of a process.  But I think it’s something that you learn through time you have to do.  I don’t know if it’s something that gets harder, it just gets longer.”

Playing is the easy part.  Okay, maybe not easy, but it’s the fun part.  All the hours in the weight room, the batting cage, and the trainer’s room make actually playing the game a little more of a task for some.  For Jeter, it’s simply what he’s here to do.

“It’s discipline.  It’s my job.  That’s the way I’ve always looked at it.  My job is to come here and be ready to play, and be ready to play every single day…I know what it takes to do that.”

Andy Pettitte, who turned 40 earlier this month, understands the commitment that needs to be made, mentally and physically, and admires that the most as he sees Jeter at age 38.

“I was at the point in my career last year, that I didn’t want to go to the weight room,” Pettitte said.  “That was why I retired.  The desire really wasn’t there to get prepared like I needed to get prepared.  So just to see him be able to do it every year and get prepared the way he does, it takes a lot of dedication.  I’m just really happy for him, that’s for sure.”

It’s been pointed out that Jeter had 11 more hits on his 38th birthday (3,181) than Pete Rose did at the same milestone.  Jeter’s one-day-at-a-time approach will not let him think about getting the nearly 1,100 hits he needs to catch the all-time hit king.

“I don’t think about. I really don’t.  I’m trying to figure out how to get hits today.”

“Unless it can happen today. Can it happen today?”

No, it cannot.  But it’s fun watching the number go higher and higher.  My opinon?  Let’s see him aim for Stan Musial’s 3,630 and take it from there.

In the meantime, Happy Birthday Derek.

Sweeny Murti

www.twitter.com/YankeesWFAN

Do you think Tuesday’s birthday boy will some day pass Rose? Make your case in the comments below…