Jeter would have a lot to lose if he left the Yankees after this season, when his 10-year, $189 million contract expires. He understood the team’s history long before he was part of it. Most of the Yankees’ icons never wore another major league uniform. Gehrig. DiMaggio. Mantle. Mattingly.
Jeter’s name fits beside them, with his teammates Mariano Rivera and Jorge Posada. Putting Jeter at Wrigley Field or Angel Stadium would be as incongruous as relocating the Statue of Liberty to Boston Harbor.
Jeter without the Yankees, though, is somewhat harder to fathom. He would be just another mercenary star — Pete Rose with the Phillies, Rod Carew with the Angels, Paul Molitor with the Blue Jays. He could still win championships and chase milestones, but something important would be lost.
Jeter said he would not think about his legacy until his career is over. But there is value in preserving that legacy and all it represents.
Remember how weird it looked when Jeter was wearing the Team USA uniform in the World Baseball Classic? ESPN's Jayson Stark, and several Yankee players, can't even picture the possibility of Jeter wearing another major league uniform.
"Some things in life are impossible," Javier Vazquez said. "And that's got to be impossible."
"Come on, man," Andy Pettitte said. "He won't be in another uniform. Never. Him or Mariano Rivera. That can't happen."
"That would be weird," Joba Chamberlain said. "Really weird. You see guys like Johnny Damon who weren't with this team anywhere near as long, and it looks weird with them. So if it happened to [Jeter], it would be really, really weird."
Yeah, no kidding. Try, we told Chamberlain, to even envision the sight of Jeter running around a field wearing a Royals uniform. Just try.
"I can't," Chamberlain said. "He'd look so out of place. If you ever saw him in anything other than pinstripes or the grays, everybody'd be looking at him, going: 'Who is that guy?'"
Just a couple of other notes this morning.