New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, who’s won four world championships in his five full major league seasons, is not only one of baseball’s best all-around players, but one of its steadiest. Neither a great home run hitter nor a great fielder, Jeter’s strength comes from his ability to play at a high level day after day.
AW: Where does your consistency come from?
DJ: I don’t dwell on things. I realize that baseball is a game of failure. Even a great hitter makes outs 35 percent of the time. And even a great team loses at least 60 times in a year. You have to understand you’re going to fail occasionally, and move on. If you don’t, it’ll drive you crazy. You have to be ready the next time around, the next play or the next game. This isn’t football. This isn’t 16 games; it’s 162. If you dwell on mistakes, you’ll burn out by the end of the season.
AW: But how about when you strike out with the bases loaded or make an error to lose a game?
DJ: It hurts for a second, then I’m past it. The thing is, I have no other choice than to move on. I can’t change what happened, can I? All I can do is learn technically from it and try to keep it from happening again.
AW: Did you ever dwell on mistakes?
DJ: Yeah, as a little kid.
AW: Nothing recently?
DJ: Well, yeah, in 1997, after we got knocked out [in the first round] of the [American League] playoffs. That stayed with me most of the winter. I hated losing. It hurt so much I couldn’t even bring myself to watch the World Series on TV.