Now that our collective LeBronenfreude has nothing else to do but fizzle (I think), this country's main sports stage belongs to Derek Jeter(notes) and his pursuit to become the first New York Yankees player to reach 3,000 career hits.
Quite frankly, in a season that has only seen the Buster Posey(notes)-Scott Cousins collision reach critical mass as a big baseball story, it's something we've all been waiting for. For the next week or so, all eyes will be on everyone's favorite Yankee as he goes about picking up the seven hits he needs for that nice, round number. There will be live cut-ins, above-the-fold mentions, maybe even a special section or two. Even if you hate all things pinstripe, you will likely applaud the moment because Jeter has been good for baseball and he's hitting a figure that earns an ovation no matter which uniform the player is wearing — Wade Boggs as a Devil Ray, anyone? — at the time.
Here's my one beef with the storyline, though: As the Yankees finish their series against Cleveland on Monday night and then head into a three-game midweek series with Texas, the Captain's chase has taken on a certain urgency. If he picks up seven hits over the next four games — an improbability, but not an impossibility — Jeter will achieve the feat at Yankee Stadium in front of his adoring hometown fans. If he doesn't? Well, the implied giddyup! tells me that no one's quite sure that the collective disappointment won't lead to some sort of apocalyptic event.
(Seriously, if this were an early episode of "Lost," Jeter would currently be receiving instructions to hurriedly enter random numbers into a computer lest some unsaid misfortune fall upon Yankee Universe if he failed.)
It occurs to me that perhaps some are advancing this deadline as a way to inject some additional drama into an otherwise inevitable moment, but then I read articles like this one or entire blog posts inventing excuses for Joe Girardi so he can sit Jeter for an entire road trip and I'm back to believing the hysteria is really approaching.
And for what exactly? Is that section of the Bronx really that starved for memorable moments? Have a World Series title, A-Rod's 600th and Rob Iracane's dad catching a Mark Teixeira home run not been enough for the still-young new Stadium?
What's more, how do you postpone a pennant race with the Boston Red Sox just so you can define the parameters for your postcard? What would have happened had the Yankees asked Jeter to wait until they got back to New York before making the flip to get Jeremy Giambi out in Oakland? The totality of a player's greatness — and the memories he creates for us — comes in what he does both at home and on the road.
Not to mention that we have no control on where our milestones happen or that Yankees fans don't have a birthright to see these things happen in New York. As a big Chicago Blackhawks fan, I always dreamed of being able to see the Cup presented to my team on home ice. It didn't exactly happen that way last June — heck, neither did the overtime game-winner — but it didn't make the experience any less sweeter.
All that said, I'd personally like to see Jeter pick up these last seven hits over the next four games and become the 28th player to reach 3,000. I get that he's a special case here and that it would make for the best theater and that each Yankee fan would be able to claim that they were there for the hit (even if they weren't).
Really, though, let's not act as if Jeter poking out H3K at Wrigley Field or Great American Ballpark will grind the Earth to a halt before either place has the chance to become an answer to a Derek Jeter trivia question (and give him a very nice ovation as well).
Quite simply, it will happen where it happens.
And we will cheer and remember the moment because of the who, not the when or the where.
Other popular stories on Yahoo! Sports:
• Embarrassing Daily Herald ad proclaims Heat champs
• Awkward encounter between Lance Armstrong and Tyler Hamilton
• College football star's absurd speeding ticket
• Can LeBron transform from choker to champ?