By Elias Rodriguez
October memories bring me to declare a few words in commemoration of our just retired Yankees team captain, reliable #2, Derek Jeter. Babe Ruth was #3. Baseball season will soon be over and a new champion will be crowned. Our region is distinct and one source of pride is that we are home to the winningest team in professional baseball history. Sadly, for my beloved New York Yankees, the season is already over given their uncharacteristically poor hitting and anemic pitching this year. Ever optimistic, perhaps we will add to our 27 World Series championships next year?
I am not sure what El Capitán’s stance is on the environment, but he certainly warmed the earth with his obvious love for the game and changed the climate in professional sports with his on and off the field goodwill. There is no real need to review Jeter’s illustrious career but for the unfamiliar: on his way to helping the team win five championships, he was also named Rookie of Year in 1996, Sports Illustrated’s 2009 Sportsman of the Year, a five time winner of the Golden Glove (which you do not get for dropping the ball) and winner of the Roberto Clemente Award, which is given each year to the league player who “best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement and the individual’s contribution to his team.” Yep, our shortstop only played on one team during his career and he was a paragon in pinstripes. We lovingly refer to Yankee Stadium as the Bronx Zoo for its spectacular atmosphere and wild incidents.
Of course, becoming a world renowned competitor does not signify that you are an inherently positive role model. Yet, according to most accounts, Jeter leaves behind a legacy of professionalism, hard work and earned the respect of peers and fans alike.
We will sorely miss the Bronx Bomber. What legacy will you produce? Each of us can contribute to a better world and healthier environment. Switch to clean energy. Use less energy. Watch your water use. Reduce waste. You don’t have to be a professional athlete to bat in a run or score a point for planet Earth!
About the Author: Elias serves as EPA Region 2’s bilingual public information officer. Prior to joining EPA, the proud Nuyorican worked at Time Inc. conducting research for TIME, LIFE, FORTUNE and PEOPLE magazines. He is a graduate of Hunter College, Baruch College and the Theological Institute of the Assembly of Christian Churches in NYC.