Baseball is losing its face

Is Mike Trout going to show up on your flat-screen in 16 of the next 18 postseasons? Is he going to play in seven World Series? Is he going to make 13 All-Star teams in the next 15 years? Is he going to win a World Series MVP Award and an All-Star Game MVP trophy? Derek Jeter can say he did all of that.

And is Trout going to find himself in the middle of every Big Moment in his sport, for pretty much his entire career -- and be as comfortable in those moments as Jeter? Really?

That's a lot to dream on for this sport -- isn't it? -- particularly in an age when the same old teams aren't showing up in October anymore, when 20 have played in the postseason in just the last five years. Heck, even the Yankees have played in only one of the last 10 World Series.

"That [stage] is just not there anymore," Seiferheld said. "Maybe it's the cycle of the sport. But you're now getting a pretty good circulation of teams in the postseason. So there hasn't been that opportunity for one player to be continuously associated with the big moments."

We have to remember, too, that Derek Jeter has become a walking history museum. It'll be kind of tough for anyone to pull that off, you'd think.

Jeter played with Wade Boggs and Tim Raines, with Dwight Gooden and Randy Johnson, with Roger Clemens and David Cone. He played practically his whole career with Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte, with Jorge Posada and Bernie Williams.

We're talking about a man who has stepped into the box against Orel Hershiser and Pedro Martinez, Greg Maddux and Dennis Eckersley, Ron Darling and Jesse Orosco.

Not to mention, by the time Jeter is finished, it's possible that the only names we'll find above Jeter's, on the all-time hit list, will be Pete Rose, Ty Cobb, Hank Aaron, Stan Musial and Tris Speaker. That's all.

And with a big year, The Captain could jump to eighth on the all-time runs scored list, right behind Babe Ruth, Rose and Willie Mays. Whoever they are.


Oh, one more thing: It's still totally mind-warping that this man has gotten more hits for the New York Yankees than any man who ever buttoned up those pinstripes. Wouldn't you say?

Seiferheld told a story about going recently to see the new Broadway show "Bronx Bombers." He was struck by a dream-sequence scene in which Jeter finds himself surrounded by the likes of Ruth, Mickey Mantle and Joe DiMaggio, and comes off as "very comfortable being among that crowd."

"So who," Seiferheld wondered, "will be the next player who would be comfortable in that role? Is there anyone?"

And the honest answer is: not really.

We've used that word, "comfortable," several times in this opus already. And it's the perfect word to describe this guy. Comfortable inside his own skin. Comfortable in any moment, big or small, or humongous.

But "comfortable" works on another level, too, because what our polling told us last summer is that baseball fans are also exceptionally comfortable with him.

When Turnkey told those fans to imagine they were in charge of baseball's marketing operation and they could pick one player to turn into the Face of Baseball, is there even any doubt which player they chose?

Jeter got nearly twice as many votes as any other player -- and more than Trout, Harper and McCutchen put together.

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