Derek Jeter's walk-off hit was a neat and clean close to the end of an era for Yankees baseball. The Core Four, The Dynasty, the nostalgic memories of playoff heroics; it's all gone. Those memories are no longer living entities that we can watch, day in and day out. This era is now a relic that will sit in a museum for our children to ogle at like we did for Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Mickey Mantle; we stared at them like the ruins of an ancient city. A Golden Age.
The good thing about Golden Ages, though, is that they ebb and flow. Rome eventually fell, but new great cities and civilizations grew out of the ashes to take its place. And so it goes with the Yankees. As Yankees fans, we may feel we are staring out over the precipice of eternity, looking at a bleak future, but I am telling you, fellow fans: the future is exciting.
I won't sugarcoat this, though. There will be tough years, tougher than this one. I hope we don't have to endure what Kansas City Royals fans have had to go through, but there will be years to forget. With the increasing parity in the league, there's no way that this team can stay on top forever. I doubt they have it in them for the type of postseason run they had from 1995-2012 anytime soon. But that isn't a bad thing at all.
Lucky for all fans, the business of baseball–and of the Yankees for that matter–has changed. It's clear that this team cannot succeed on spending alone, which is why there has been an increased emphasis on player development and creative roster moves/trades in the past few years. We've seen how invigorating it has been as a fan to watch the likes of Luis Severino, Eric Jagielo, and Aaron Judge climb up through the system, and there will be many more to get excited about. Most will fail, but a few will trickle through to give us more great Yankees moments. We've seen flashes of that this year with Dellin Betances and Shane Greene, and there will obviously be more.
Although money has not given the team the clear advantage it once did, the Steinbrenner's are willing to spend to make the team better, and I doubt that will change for a long time. As long as the team has needs, they will be willing to put down large sums of money to get what they need. With many of the stars of the 2009 World Series team coming off the books in a couple of years, I'm sure they will fill those voids too, for better or worse. It may make some fans uncomfortable, but large contracts will always be present. Hopefully, though, the organization signs the deals that make the most sense.
I don't know what the future will really hold, but the future will not be devoid of an enjoyable experience. We cling to the thoughts of Derek Jeter and the Core Four because it is what is familiar, what reminds us of a time when we were younger, and because it is what we know. And when this new era finally comes into form, we can look back on the Jeter Era fondly, hopefully one of many great epochs we will see in our lifetime.