Hi Derek, this is Kevin Anthony Howard. I’ve been a fan of yours since you first came into the league in 96.
When you came up I wanted to be a shortstop and idolized every great one that ever played the game. You know the names; Ozzie, Cal… Guys like that.
So you came along at the perfect time to feed my desire for being a shortstop.
I’ve watched you make diving stops in the whole, range to your left and through off of your back foot which has become your patented move, watched time and time again come up with clutch hits and lead us to victory with your desire and attitude.
I’ve never doubted you ever on the 15 years that you’ve played for the Yankees… Until now.
You see Derek I’ve watched you have slow starts before, like last year when you batted .207 in the first two weeks of the season, but you eventually pulled out of it and had Jeter-esque seasons. I’m still waiting for it to happen this year.
You had your worst offensive season ever this year hitting below .270 and with a .334 on base percentage. I kept hoping you would break out of it but to no avail.
The media had been waiting for forever to have something to devalue you with and they finally got it. You’re a shortstop with declining range that can’t get it done at the top of the lineup anymore, an right now they’re right.
I’ve been hoping that Joe Girardi would move you to the seventh spot in the lineup but he’s been grinding it out as well hoping, just like the rest of us, that you would break out of it… No dice.
However, all of that rubbish from the regular season is in the past. This is the postseason, your season. The time where you got five hits against Detroit, the third man ever to do it, the time where you carried us to victory over the Mets in 2000, the time where you saved us against Oakland with that ridiculous flip to Jorge or that home run against Baltimore that started a dynasty. This is where you step your game up no matter the situation, and you have to do it again this year.
This ain’t our best team Derek. Pitching wise were throwing C.C. Sabathia and a bunch of question marks out there so we need to score lots of runs. The only way that we can do that is if the top of our order brings it consistently night in and out.
And that starts with you sir.
You’ve got to hit better and get on base for us to get going and score. If you do that, then we have a shot at title 28, if not, then we get swept.
You’re 36, which is crazy to think about. I know it’s asking a lot and I know I’m foolish to think that after the year you’ve had that you could just turn it on all of a sudden. However, this is the expectation that you’ve made and came through on for your entire career, It’s what we’ve come to expect. So even as you begin the twilight of your career I’m still hoping that you can dig back to the Captain Clutch days an lead an enigmatic team on another run to glory.
Call me crazy, but I’ve seen it before, and we need it again.
Kevin Anthony Howard