‘I’ll Be Back Soon’

Here’s what we knew about Derek Jeter 24 hours ago.

1. He hasn’t played since breaking his ankle in Game 1 of the ALCS.

2. His plan was to be ready for Opening Day.

3. He suffered another fracture in his ankle during spring training and didn’t return in time for Opening Day.

4. He’s wearing a walking boot and can’t do anything until the bone heals from the spring training fracture.

Here’s what we now know after Derek Jeter answered questions from the media for 18 minutes and 20 seconds on Thursday at Yankee Stadium.

1. He hasn’t played since breaking his ankle in Game 1 of the ALCS.

2. His plan was to be ready for Opening Day.

3. He suffered another fracture in his ankle during spring training and didn’t return in time for Opening Day.

4. He’s wearing a walking boot and can’t do anything until the bone heals from the spring training fracture.

Jeter spoke to the media for 18 minutes and 20 seconds, barely missing out on tying Pink Floyd’s “Echoes” in length, and it was all for nothing. Nothing. NOTH-ING! NOTHINGGGGGG!

That’s right, the media packed the Yankee Stadium press conference room to hear the Yankees captain speak about his ankle for a little more than an NHL intermission and received no real information. It didn’t take me long to think about what I would title this column. I just went with the most important words that Jeter said on Thursday afternoon at Yankee Stadium: “I’ll be back soon.” And really they should have been the only words. Why? Because we all know Jeter has a broken bone in his ankle and we all know he isn’t playing baseball right now for the Yankees and we all know that until the bone heals he can’t play baseball for the Yankees.

Thursday started with media members speculating and fans worrying that the number “2” was headed for behind the wall in center field. But I find it hard to believe that anyone could have actually believed the idea that Jeter was going to hold a retirement press conference on Thursday afternoon. Though part of me has a feeling that Joel Sherman had a series of outrageous tweets regarding Jeter’s retirement in the hopper and I’m sure Ken Rosenthal has his 350-word column on the end of Jeter saved as a draft in WordPress. I would bet on Jeff Passan fighting back some tears as he opened a fresh Microsoft Word document to try and poetically capture the end of the all-time Yankees hits leader’s career and I’m sure someone at Baseball Prospectus was ready to tell us about a stat that proves that Eduardo Nunez is a better baseball player than Derek Jeter. (And it wouldn’t surprise me if Richard Justice was somewhere writing a story about carpentry work Bobby Valentine did in the offseason.)

I understand why Jeter “had” to meet with the media on Thursday because beat writers and reporters need to speak with players to obtain quotes to fill their word counts to fill the pages of their paper that no one’s buying. But can they at least ask questions worthy of an answer? Nothing was going to come out of Jeter’s media session the way that nothing has ever come out of a Jeter media session yet several people took exception to the way Jeter gave his responses and the way he seemingly “talked down” to the media. If you’re the captain of the Yankees and the face of the franchise and you can’t physically do your job as either and you’re asked, “You seem to be in pretty good spirits, was there a period when you were a little down after you first found out?” wouldn’t your answer have some attitude in it? But Jeter and the Yankees still held a media session because that’s what “you’re supposed to do” even if the only thing that can be done is to wait until the broken bone in Jeter’s ankle is healed.

Jeter talked about “being happy Nunez is getting an opportunity to play,” which makes him the only person happy about this. He talked about not having the MLB package at his home in Tampa and not being able to watch every Yankees game, which shocked some media members, who couldn’t believe a superstar athlete and celebrity who has made over $250 million playing baseball doesn’t have other things to do with his time in his mansion on the water. And he talked about wanting to receive a CT scan every day and not understanding why he can’t get one every day unless it has to do with finances. But mostly he answered ridiculous questions that deserved ridiculous answers about his ankle. Luckily for you, I transcribed the questions that were asked over the longest, most unnecessary press conference ever held.

How difficult has this whole process been for you?

We had heard you’d be in a boot, you’re not in a boot anymore?

Is there any doubt in your mind that you’re going to be able to come back this season and come back as the same player before?

Do you have any idea of a timeline of what the rehab process is going to be like for you?

Do you know when this happened in spring training and is it a whole new fracture or is it the same fracture?

Do you regret setting the timeline for Opening Day?

Do you think this problem was caused because of impatience and has that informed you in any way of how you have to treat this second one going forward?

Do you think because there isn’t a finite date that you were looking at with opening day that this will take a little bit longer?

We’ve heard sometime after the All-Star break. Does that mesh with the date in your head?

What’s this process (the season) been like to watch from afar?

Did the doctor express to you at all that that area is weakened by what you have been through already?

How difficult do you think it’s going to be to get the timing back once you’re back?

How much does Mariano’s comeback play into you psychologically?

Was there any point where you thought you wouldn’t be able to come back?

Do you have any doubt that when you’re back you will be able to play at the same level?

Any feedback from your teammates? What do you want to say to your fans?

What do you think of the job Nunez’s done so far and impressions of the team and what you’ve been able to see?

Will you be fully able to be as mobile as you were previously?

In short-term goals, what’s the most important thing in the next few things?

Do you have another CT scan lined up or is it not for a while?

You seem to be in pretty good spirits, was there a period when you were a little down after you first found out?

Has any of this made you think about your baseball mortality?

Would you treat injuries differently now going through what you’ve been through?

The unnecessary line of questioning could have been asked in the one question everyone needed answered:

When will you be back?

And that one question would have given everyone the one and only answer anyone cares about:

“I’ll be back soon.”

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