Jeter's leadership really makes an impact

February, 27, 2009
02/27/09
12:37
PM ET
Writing about Jason Giambi, Bob Klapisch got me to thinking about a certain pinstriped shortstop. …

    PHOENIX -- Jason Giambi has been closely following the Alex Rodriguez vigil from 2,500 miles away, safely embedded in the A's hysteria-free universe. After seven years in the Bronx, Giambi says returning to his Oakland roots is like coming home to a soft, feathery bed.

    Still, Giambi is a Yankee emeritus, which means he's in sync with every last detail of A-Rod's fall from grace -- if only because it mirrored his. Both sluggers were exposed as steroid users, both confessed (to some degree) and both were publicly rescued by Derek Jeter.

    Well, at least Giambi was, and he's not ashamed to say it was Jeter who saved his Yankee career.

    "I'll thank Derek until the day I die," Giambi was saying Thursday. "What he did for me, after what I'd been through, made it possible for me to keep playing in New York. The fans forgave me because of Derek. I'll never forget that for the rest of my life."

It's easy to make sport of Jeter's supposed leadership and I've done plenty of that. But you hear and read something enough times and you start to believe it. I think it's really, really easy to make too much of stuff like this -- if he's such a great leader, why haven't the Yankees won a World Series lately? -- but if you want to give Captain Jetes a few bonus points for stuff that doesn't show up in the stats, I'm not going to argue with you. Not that he needs any bonus points to be considered the Yankees' greatest shortstop and a lock Hall of Famer.

(H/T: BTF's Newsstand)

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