Farewell to 'The Captain'

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SALT LAKE CITY — Dear Derek Jeter,

Short of some miraculous events, your remarkable career will come to an unceremonious ending with the Yankees missing the playoffs for just the second time in your 20-year career. With your pending retirement comes an end to the last link of the Yankee dynasty of the 1990s. Your retirement also marks a bittersweet ending to the career of my favorite ballplayer since I was 10 years old.

Growing up in Salt Lake City, I never had a pro team to cheer for, so I picked the Yankees because their best player, Don Mattingly, wore an epic moustache like my father. Fortunately for me, my family would move to New York when I was 8 years old and I got to see Mattingly play in person. The way he went about every game stood out to me even from a young age — the guy played with so much respect for the game. When Mattingly retired, it felt as if I had lost a hero and maybe even a friend.

The year after Donnie Baseball called it quits, I was in need of a new player to root for. There was suddenly this skinny, tall shortstop who was making plays all over the field and smiling the whole time. He ran out every ground ball that he hit and showed respect for the game that I loved. Little did I know that this connection with this player would last well into my late 20s. Now you, “The Captain,” are retiring.

Again I feel like I am losing an old friend though I’ve never met you and probably never will — you roll in the company of supermodels and millionaire ballplayers and I well, don’t.

I had similar experiences when my hometown heroes, Karl Malone and John Stockton, finally felt like they just couldn’t do it anymore game in and game out (I, like many Jazz fans, choose to conveniently forget that “The Mailman” played one forgettable season for the hated Lakers). So, I’d just like to take this opportunity to say thank you, Derek, for playing the game the right way for all these years. It’s been a great ride.

Sincerely, Dylan Cannon and thousands of other baseball fans around the world

To my readers: what were your experiences when your favorite ballplayer retired?

Dylan Cannon is a regular KSL.com contributor and can be reached by email at dylancannon86@gmail.com or via Twitter @DylanCannon11.

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