Derek Jeter #2 of the New York Yankees hits a solo home run in the third inning for career hit 3000 while playing against the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Michael Heiman/Getty Images)
I write you today with a modest proposal: Now that you've achieved one of the game's most treasured milestones in a most spectacular fashion, you have been afforded the perfect opportunity to call it a day and hang up your spikes.
I know that you feel great and think you've got a lot left to give, but the signs are there that this isn't the case. Do you want people to remember you as you were on July 9, 2011, going 5-for-5 and homering for your 3,000th hit? Or would you rather have them recall your declining years as you become a mere shadow of your former self.
Baseball history is filled with men who could not face the reality that their greatness was a thing of the past. You, on the other hand, having just joined the exalted 3,000 Hits Club, have the rare chance to shape your own legacy, to have as your last moment in the collective memory be a great one. How many people get to do that?
Yes, there is the question of the millions of dollars you are still owed on your long-term contract. But that's what makes this retirement idea so much sweeter! What better way to solidify your place as the Greatest Yankee of Them All than to selflessly step aside at this juncture? Think of what the Yankees could do with all that money they still owe you. For starters, your departure could clear the way for them to sign an incredibly gifted free-agent shortstop.
You've made sacrifices for the team before. After all, it was you who generously changed positions when a more talented defensive shortstop was signed by the Yankees, as was only fitting of a team captain.
Think of this All-Star break as a fork in your career's glorious path. In one direction the road narrows and becomes rocky, leading to nowhere but oblivion. In the other direction, the road ascends to a plane so high that few mortals have ever trod upon it.
Correction: Apparently I was mistaken. A number of readers have pointed out that Jeter did not change positions upon the arrival of Alex Rodriguez in 2004.