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Jeter's career ending with a shrug

Some were hoping for one last hurrah, while others were expecting an exit that was hard to watch. But it really hasn't been either.

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

I think entertainment sometimes colors our perspective on real life matters. There are the occasional films and shows that feature unremarkable people in a stories where nothing of note happens, but for the most part screens feature extraordinary people who are put in extreme situations. Most consumers don't want to see a guy commute to work, go through his day and come home without any fantastic dilemmas or wacky situations. This mindset seems to lend itself to sports, where everything is either terrible or wonderful. Where the average and the vanilla does not capture the attention of fans or the media like the positive and negative extremes do. It's particularly interesting to me, then, that while Derek Jeter is in the midst of his farewell tour that has gotten more attention than the moon landing he's also having a  completely unremarkable season. Not good or bad, it's just kind of....sitting there.

Those looking for him to be the Jeter of days gone by have been disappointed, but his detractors hoping for him to mostly resemble a living and breathing fossil haven't been rewarded for their awfulness either. Jeter's 85 wRC+ is 16th among all qualified shortstops, which isn't great or anything but still workable. His .277 batting average just feels mediocre. I'd argue .270 is the least interesting average a player can have (there's no disputing this). Even his defense, normally the most lampooned portion of his game isn't going to come near his career worsts as per defensive metrics. I suppose he's seemed kind of slow out there, but according to the always fallible eye test I think he's looked mostly okay.  He sits currently at 0.6 fWAR, which when compared to the output of some other Yankee greats in their last year is downright shiny. It's a performance that can best be described as "meh".

It just doesn't seem right. To have such a fascinating career end with such an uninteresting final season. It's not that I would prefer him to hit .190 or anything or punch out Joe Girardi and add some real drama to his starting every day, but it all feels so anticlimactic. Maybe Jeter still has a couple of crazy moments left in him down the stretch. But in all likelyhood he'll just stay an okay contributor who chips in a big hit from time to time and grounds into an absurd number of double plays. In some ways, Jeter's end serves as a reminder that life doesn't always imitate art. Whether it's the end of our careers or even our existence on this planet, the likelyhood is that they will conclude without any particle accelerator explosions or sacrifices to save Earth from an alien force. They'll just end.

So unless the Yankees go on to win the World Series, the director of "Yeah Jeets: The Derek Jeter Story" would probably be better served not focusing too much on the player's final season. There's been no adversity to overcome, no tragic downfall, no triumphant return to greatness. It's just been a middling performance on a so-so team. A very calm ending to a bombastic career.