Derek Jeter put an expiration date on the end of an era on Feb. 12, as he announced 2014 will be his final season. With Jeter leaving, the New York Yankees will now spend all of 2014 saying goodbye to a legend who's spent his entire career in New York, and who symbolized their last dynasty. It's pretty much what the Yankees did in 2013 during Mariano Rivera's final year, but they hope Jeter's goodbye will go even better.
Rivera's final season was great for him, as he recovered from a severe injury in 2012 to become an All-Star again. However, the year wasn't as great for the Yankees, who missed the postseason in part because Jeter was hurt most of the way.
The Yankees would like to get back to the playoffs in 2014, despite contending with the defending world champion Boston Red Sox in their own division. At the least, Jeter's retirement gives them extra incentive, in the hopes that he will get one last chance to shine in October -- the chance Rivera never got.
Like Rivera, Jeter cemented his legend in October -- and even in November during the 2001 World Series. The Yankees captain led them to four World Series titles in his first five years in pinstripes, with the first coming in his rookie season in 1996. Even when Alex Rodriguez shared the spotlight with him, the New York faithful never wavered in their loyalty to Jeter.
They didn't waver when he broke his ankle in the 2012 ALCS, or when he played only 17 games in 2013. With that in mind, it would be only fair if Jeter played more than a handful of games in his last year, like Rivera did in his farewell tour.
Since every opposing team seemed to honor Rivera at the end, it will likely be small time compared to how all of baseball -- and New York -- stands to pay tribute to Jeter throughout 2014. But while he began his career with a championship, are the Yankees still equipped to give him a storybook finish too?
New York introduced new $155 million pitcher Masahiro Tanaka on Feb. 11, as it hopes he can help put it back over the top. However, the Yankees likely can't return to October without one more burst from Jeter, although they will have to learn how after that.