Look, Royals fans: It really is OK to cheer Derek Jeter at Kauffman Stadium
JUN 09, 2014 9:32p ET
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Royals brought a check and a video to the party. Mother Nature brought rain.
Ergo, Kansas City's "Salute To Derek Jeter" has been moved from its scheduled Monday night slot, along with the Yankees-Royals contest that was supposed to follow it, to Aug. 25.
Mark your calendars and voodoo dolls accordingly.
Now those who hate the idea of feting an opposing ballplayer at their park -- and you could hear the cage-rattling from Garner to Liberty -- will no doubt feel sated by the rainout, will no doubt sit back smugly and declare that God has spoken, and God thinks Jeter can go suck an egg.
In 1993, on his last road trip as a big-league player, Royals great George Brett was presented a little bling by the Texas Rangers. Last May, the Royals gave retiring Yankees closer Mariano Rivera a short presentation, along with a donation to his foundation.
When Missouri basketball coach Norm Stewart retired, Kansas gave him a rocking chair. Then he gave the masses at Allen Fieldhouse what they'd wanted for decades: He sat down in it.
See, it is possible -- laudable, even -- to hate thy neighbor and still respect the hell out of what he or she has accomplished, even at your occasional expense.
It's called grace. It's called class.
Jeter is hitting .315, lifetime, at Kauffman Stadium. He's hitting .311 in his career. Trust us. It wasn't personal.
Look, we get the backlash. Jeter, who says the 2014 season will be his last in The Show, robbed more deserving shortstops of All-Star starts (and will probably do so again, one final time) and Gold Gloves, especially in the twilight of his career, the apple of the Big Apple's eye.
But the 39-year-old infielder also owns, to date, 3,370 career hits, is a first-ballot Hall of Famer, one of the best shortstops of his generation, a winner of seven American League pennants and five World Series. And maybe the funniest non-Manning, non-Barkley athlete ever to guest-host "Saturday Night Live." (The Brady Bunch-gone-wrong sketch from December 2001 that features Ana Gasteyer, Will Ferrell, Chris Kattan, Amy Poehler and The Captain -- "Hey man, your kid sucks," Jeter says at one point -- should be bronzed. Google it.)
Unlike teammate Alex Rodriguez, Big No. 2 is generally liked and respected by the piranhas that follow him in the New York media. Unlike A-Rod, Jeter has never been definitively linked to questionable pharmaceuticals.
Did he deserve each of those five Gold Gloves? Probably not. But between the lines, No. 2 was seemingly always in the right place at the right time, the thinking man's ballplayer, one of the sharpest knives in the drawer.
And, by all accounts, he did it above board. In an era of creams and clears, El Capitano built his temple on smarts and guts.
Well, that and clutch: Jeter holds a .321 career batting average in the World Series and a .308 average, lifetime, in the postseason.
You could set your watch to that bat, when it was right.
Again: Wasn't personal.
The Royals planned to give Jeter a $10,000 check for his Turn 2 charity. Hall of Fame broadcaster Denny Matthews even made a point late Monday afternoon, as the rain started to fall outside The K, to venture down to the Yankee clubhouse, shake Jeter's hand and congratulate him on a career well played.
If honoring Jeter is cool by Denny, kids, it's cool for the rest of us mortals, too.
When No. 2 takes the check in August, cheer the career, an era come and gone.
When Jeter comes to the plate, if he comes to the plate, boo to your heart's content. Trust us: He wouldn't want it any other way.