Friday, July 02, 2004

Captain on a Mission

People question sometimes what does a Captain bring or mean to a team. It most cases it is sort of an honorary thing. The guy who has been there the longest; loyal to the Manager; loyal to ownership. Lou Gehrig was always the definitive Captain. He led by example. What an example. Years later Cal Ripken, Jr. would emulate Gehrig in more ways than one. There have been great Captains, good Captains and just Captains. Mark Messier would bring a new dimension to Captaincy. Bravado! He not only led but when the chips were down he literally carried the team on his back and predicted future successes. To me they were the truly great Captains, Gehrig and Messier. There were good ones. Mel Ott, PeeWee Reese, Larry Bird, Cal Ripken Jr. and Willis Reed. Last night we saw another great Captain, Derek Jeter. Jeter is on a mission this year and he is bringing the Yankees along with him. Perhaps it is because the Yanks haven't won it all in two years. Maybe its because his buddy ARod is playing along side him and Derek wants him to know its Derek's team or maybe it is just because he is Derek Jeter. Anyone who saw last night's game and the play Derek made with a game saving catch that could have severely injured him could not have been more impressed. And while Jeter and the Yanks came back to win a game trailing by a run, two down, two strikes there was Garciaparra sitting on the bench the entire game, motionless. I might add Ortiz making a fool of himself along with Ramirez who thought he would be the hero. What a contrast. A team, the Yankees, and a player, Derek Jeter, refusing to lose and on a mission and The Dead Sox, smug, complacent and losers. I think its time to add Jeter to the Great Captain list and maybe his team to one of the greatest list. Lou, Mark meet Derek.

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