Yankees shortstop and captain Derek Jeter not long ago announced that the 2014 season -- his 20th in the majors -- would be his last. On Wednesday at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, he addressed the media for the first time on the subject of his pending retirement ...
And now some highlights from his presser ...
- On why he chose this time to announce his retirement:
"It's like I said. I took a lot of time thinking about this. Last year I was very vocal on how hard it was last year, I know how hard it was to come to the stadium each and every day. You start thinking about how long you want to do this. Let me say one thing: This is not a retirement for a press conference, I still have a season to play. But I felt this was the right time. It's part of 20 season I played in new York and parts of 23 if you include the major league. But I thought I'd do some more things in my life. But I can't reiterate enough that I've still got a season to play."
- On why he's stepping away after 2014:
"Because I feel as though the time is right. There's other things I want to do. I look forward to doing other things. This is a difficult job. I put everything into it each and every year. It's a 12-month job. It's not a sixth-month season, this is 12 months. And I look forward to doing other things – not yet, but the idea of doing other things is something I look forward to. I know a lot of people have turned this into ‘Physically I can't do this or that,' but I've been fortunate. I've played pretty much my entire career with just one major injury. Besides the separated shoulder -- it was six weeks -- I've been fortunate so I can't complain about what happened last year. So I just look forward to doing other things -- not yet, I see the Steinbrenner family looking at me -- not yet, but I look forward to doing other things."
- On announcing his retirement on Facebook:
"... [T]he point of doing that -- a lot of people said, 'First of all, I didn't even know you had a Facebook page' – but if you guys scroll down a little further, you'd see a lot of my Facebook page has to do with my foundation. So that was one of my hopes: One, I wanted to get the entire message out; and two, I thought it would draw a little bit more attention to the foundation. ...
"It was something that…first of all, I wrote it. Each and every word, I wrote. I was sitting down at home and I had a few questions I wanted to answer so I started taking notes. I wish I brought the notebook to show you, but it was a lot of pages. I could have written another 3-4 pages but I thought I'd lose interest after one. But I answered a few questions I had, and I wrote down my thoughts and ideas. I know I haven't been as open with some of you guys as you would have liked me to be over the last 20 years, but that's by design. It doesn't mean I don't have those feelings. That's just how I felt I'd be able to make it this long in New York."
- On how he feels physically coming off an injury-plagued 2013:
"This has nothing to do with how I feel physically. When I first started speaking about his with family and friends, they said take your time don't base this decision on what happened last season. Wait until you're healthy and then make the decision. This has nothing to do with how I feel physically. Physically I feel great, and I look forward to playing a full season."
" ... My ankle was back to 100 percent last year at the end of the year. It's just that everything around my ankle wasn't strong enough – my leg wasn't strong enough, that's why I continued to pull muscles. It wasn't that something was wrong with my ankle. I feel great, everybody comes to spring training and says, 'I'm in the greatest shape of my life.' But who's to measure that? I know I worked harder than I ever worked before, but I feel good."
- On how the struggles of 2013 led to his decision:
"This is a job, sitting here and answering all these questions is a job. I think the game never came easy. It's a very, very difficult game. But coming to the field was always easy, if that makes sense. Because I was blessed to have pretty much good health throughout my career. It wasn't fun [last year] because I wasn't playing. It forced me to start thinking about, 'how long do I want to do this?' That's how I came to my decision. But it just became a job last year, especially with all the injuries and basically not coming to work, coming to rehab. That was not fun at all."
- On whether a more enjoyable 2014 could change his mind:
"It will be fun. [But] the time is now. Listen, I always have fun playing. Last year was not fun which forced me to think about how long I want to do this. But it's fun. I'm going to have fun. I'm going to have fun tomorrow and have fun the entire season. That's why you play. You can't play this game unless you have fun. So no, it's not wait and see if I have a good year – I'm planning on having a good year. If I didn't plan on having a good year, I wouldn't come here and play."