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Derek Jeter and the Yankees should let Bob Sheppard rest in peace

Jim McIsaac

Apparently Derek Jeter is introduced by Bob Sheppard even in Scranton. For me, that's going a little too far. Jeter's insistence that he be introduced by the the late "Voice of God" has always been a little macabre for my taste. A man has died, but thanks to the wonders of modern technology, we have his voice for all eternity. The Yankees could have had him record his introduction of every possible name and every possible number combination so they could splice together a full lineup on a daily basis and it would be like he never died, if they wanted to. But they didn't and they don't.

Only Derek Jeter continues to be Sherpard-ized, even when he's in the middle of a rehab assignment. Instead of focusing on baseball, Jeter has instead decided to hold onto a man's very identity, his voice, so that he can have it like it always has been. Being in the league since 1995, he should know that not everything can always stay like it once was, in fact, most things don't or simply can't. Jeter has seen his fair share of turnover in players, staff, and even stadiums. He was there for the end of Yankee Stadium! Yet he clings to this man's voice and it feels like he's beginning to trivialize what the man was.

Bob Sheppard was all about subtlety. He wasn't about loud fancy intros or calling attention to himself, Bob Sheppard simply did his job and that is why he has been remembered. He was classic and tasteful, like Vin Scully has always been. Keeping his voice around long after he is gone just garners unnecessary attention. Now he sticks out like a sore thumb every time Jeter comes to the plate. A man's voice, long gone, but strung up in order to maintain that good old Yankee Way.

Derek Jeter isn't the only one. The YES Network has long used his voice on commercials that just don't seem right. It was nice when he was alive, and maybe a year or so after he passed, but keeping him around doesn't make it feel like the legend continues, but more like it lurches on as the Yankees beat it with a stick. It's just not the same.

Just like the YMCA during the seventh inning stretch used to be exciting, Bob Sheppard too has been worn out to desensitization. The grounds crew doesn't look like they're having much fun out there and neither does Bob's voice. It goes along with the wax museum that is the new Yankee Stadium and everything about John Sterling's rehearsed and overly repeated existence.

Like that one time Brian Wilson's beard was entertaining back in 2010, and yet he's continued to grow it despite everyone being over it for years now. He just made his debut with the Dodgers and his facial hair now fits in a pony tail. It's almost like he knows no one cares anymore, and he doesn't look like he cares anymore, but he doesn't want us to know he doesn't care. It's been four years. There's a razor company offering him $1 million to shave it. It's time to move on.

Everything has an end. There could have been an argument made to have Yankee Stadium declared a national landmark and protected before it was bulldozed, but it's gone now. If Yankee Stadium isn't indestructible than neither is the YMCA, or Brian Wilson's beard or Bob Sheppard.

I don't want to marginalize Bob Sheppard's existence by comparing him to Brian Wilson's facial hair, but Derek Jeter has practically made him into a thing. It's time we start retiring those special things before they get out of hand and lose all meaning. If Derek Jeter is insisting Sheppard go on tour with him, it feels like we've already reached the point of overwear and it's a little sad.

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