As he enters the final weeks of his illustrious career, Derek Jeter is going out on his own terms.
So while this weekend officially begins the “retirement celebration,” Jeter insisted on talking about being focused on getting the Yankees to the playoffs one more time before he begins life as a former ballplayer.
“I want to win. That’s it. It doesn’t get any more complicated from that,” he said. “When you’re playing, you want to win. That’s the mindset I’ve always had, that’s the mindset I’ll have until my last game. I enjoy competing and when you compete, you want to win. That’s the last thing I want to do.”
Hall of Famers have different ways of going out and when he made the announcement in February, he knew it was time, especially after repeated injuries in 2013 made coming to the ballpark feel like a chore.
“I think you just realize it,” Jeter said. “I don’t know if there’s necessarily a magic formula that tells you it’s time to retire. I just felt like this was the right time for me. I’ve done it long enough, I look forward to doing other things, so I decided this was going to be my last year.”
Even if Jeter finishes this season well below his .310 career batting average, his last year is going better than some other Yankee greats.
Babe Ruth finished his career in Boston, Mickey Mantle languished for seasons as a shell of his former self and Yogi Berra was released after 1963.
The Yankees have retired every single digit number besides Jeter’s No. 2.
And while that may or may not happen Sunday — the Yankees deny it — you can bet it’ll be done how Jeter wants it.
Follow Yankees beat writer Larry Fleisher on Twitter @LarryFleisher.