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Jeter watch is officially on

Chris Ruddick,
MLB Editor


Rounding Third Logo Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Let's be honest, it's not going to be the same if Derek Jeter gets his 3,000th hit anywhere other than Yankee Stadium.

That is the situation we find ourselves with, as the Yankee captain sits seven hits shy of the magical milestone with just four games left in the Bronx before a six-game interleague trip.

An interleague trip? Are you kidding me?

You can make the argument that this is going to be the most celebrated milestone of all-time.

For one, it's the Yankees. They do everything big. If you don't believe me why don't you relive some of the events leading up to Jeter passing Lou Gehrig for the franchise lead in hits.

Can you even name other teams' all-time hits leaders?

By the time you are done with the video tributes, endless De-rek Je-ter chants, the Yankees will have you thinking he is the only to ever get to 3,000 hits not just the first player in their amazing history to do it, and believe me you'll hear that little nugget ad nauseam as well.

This just won't be a Yankee celebration, though. Major League Baseball will make a big deal about this. He is the face of baseball. He has been since he entered the league on a regular basis in 1996.


Derek Jeter probably punched his
Hall of Fame ticket a long time ago, but
3,000 hits will serve as validation.
You can call him overrated. You can say he was just at the right place at the right time. You can say whatever you want. But 3,000 hits is 3,000 hits. That is one of those numbers that just catapults you to Cooperstown, kind of like 500 home runs used to.

Jeter probably punched his Hall of Fame ticket a long time ago, but this will serve as validation.

Yea he's never won an MVP, or a batting title, has been labeled the worst defensive shortstop in the game by some, and consistently appears on baseball's overrated lists year in and year out.

I am not the biggest Jeter guy. Never have been, but even I have to laugh at the overrated thing. I mean really? Are you paying attention at all? Perhaps it's jealousy. Maybe it's all the winning or the attention that comes with it, or perhaps it's the girls he's been rumored to be with.

Let's face it. It's probably pretty cool being Derek Jeter.

And here we are faced with the fact that Jeter could reach this milestone on the road. In Wrigley Field of all places where the Yankees head for the first leg of the six-game trip that will wind down with three games in Cincinnati, the city that the team named him their 11th captain back in 2003.

Is it possible for Jeter to get seven hits in four games. Sure. He's done it countless times throughout his career. He actually had seven hits in a three- game series against Texas earlier in the year. Now he has to do it again.

If I had to place money on this happening before the Yanks leave town, I'd bet on Jeter. Why? Because there hasn't been a player who has embraced the big moment and has been aware of it more than Jeter in my time following baseball.

The biggest reason I think he's going to do it, though, is because he always comes through. That's why he is such a big deal, because he always seems to deliver in the biggest spots possible.

Jeter homered in his first game as a regular, he hit the Jeffrey Maier home run, he became Mr. November when New York as a city was at its lowest point, heck he even passed Gehrig on the eight-year anniversary of 9/11. I'm quite sure he is more aware of the fact that the Yanks hit the road for six games after these next four games than you may think.

It's funny that a player whose sole inevitable enshrinement to the Hall of Fame is based mostly on intangibles and team accomplishments, is now going to be celebrated for a statistical achievement.

The ridiculous talk will soon begin of where he belongs among the all-time Yankee greats. I personally don't put him anywhere near the top. A Hall of Fame player for sure, but he is not even the best Yankee of this generation. That is a spot saved for the great Mariano Rivera, who is not only the best Yankee of this generation, I argue he may be the best player period of this generation. That is a different argument for a different day.

No offense to Jeter, but when it comes to the all-time Yankee greats, he is sitting at the children's table, while Babe Ruth, Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle and Yogi Berra dine in style.

Either way I want the moment. Cal Ripken passing Gehrig was a big deal. Barry Bonds surpassing Hank Aaron should have been a big deal. It turned out to be a sham. This one is going to be nuts, even though it is something that has happened 27 other times.

Selfishly I am hoping he either goes crazy and gets it in the next two days or goes into a major slump until about June 23rd, because more than likely I am going to be on a cruise somewhere in the Eastern Caribbean at the time he finally gets it.

It probably serves me right. While I respect everything he's done, I've just never been a big Jeter guy. Although, my kids have about five Jeter shirts and jerseys. So, it's probably fitting that baseball gods seem to have gotten together in order for me to miss this.

Thankfully there is DVR.

But like it won't be the same if he gets it anywhere other than Yankee Stadium, it won't be the same watching it however many days after it has already happened.

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Chris Ruddick at cruddick@sportsnetwork.com.

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