Ichiro Suzuki hit his first home run of the season last night, a three-run homer that put the Yankees on top of the Blue Jays 6-4. It was Ichiro’s first home run in almost a full calendar year, and as he approached the dugout, Jeter gave him the who are you and what have you done with Ichiro? look. And then busted into a laughing fist bump. This is why I will miss Derek Jeter.
Jeets is basically a baseball robot, giving canned answers to every single question ever posed to him and revered for it to point of absurdity. He is so reserved and every word is so calculated and boring that you forget that he is a person and not a doctor’s office. If you studied every interview he’s ever given you would learn two things: 1) he wants to win baseball games and, 2) he’s just trying to win baseball games. You could eat a meal off his public persona, but occasionally there are glimpses that point to him maybe not being a robot and maybe being a depraved weirdo like the rest of us.
Busting Ichiro’s balls after he finally hit a home run and yucking it up with him is another one of those glimpses. Maybe Derek Jeter really is a person who has friends and enjoys (some?) of his colleagues. It’s neat when athletes drop the facade and we can see them having fun with other humans and teammates like real people.