By Sweeny Murti
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I feel like many of us struggle to understand exactly what people talk about when they describe Derek Jeter’s leadership or intangibles. Perhaps that’s because he keeps things close to the vest, and only those closest to Jeter really understand what he’s all about.
When the retired members of the Core Four — Jorge Posada, Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera — sat in an interview room inside Yankee Stadium moments after their ceremonial first pitch Monday, it was Jeter’s best friend, Posada, who seemed to hit the nail right on the head.
When asked to describe the impact Jeter had on his life as a player and a person, here is how Posada responded:
Derek for me is … he’s a brother. We’ve been together since 1992. I got to really know him in ’94 and more in ’95, and we’ve been together for a long time. I know what he likes, I know what ticks him off.
I’ve never been mad with these three people. Why? Because they wanted the same thing that I wanted. They represent the game the right way. They only wanted to win. That was the No. 1 thing.
Derek made me a better player. He’s tough, he’s very smart. He thinks of things you don’t think about. He steps in a room and he obviously demands attention. The leadership and the friendship and having him there all the time, but more than anything watching him play. You know, when he was hurt or not feeling a hundred percent he was still out there. And the same way with these two other guys.
I feel like he was a leader by example, really he was. Goes out there every day, no excuses. Hates excuses. And he demands the best out of himself, and he makes sure that he plays the game the right way. And I really gotta thank him for the way he was with me, and I think the same way with these guys—they go out there and they wanted the best every time even though they weren’t feeling a hundred percent every day, so they played the game the right way.
There will be many words spoken and written about Jeter between now and the end of this season. I’m not sure anybody will say it any better than Posada.
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