Since 1996, the face of the most famous American sports team has been one man.  The shortstop.  The eventual captain.  #2.  The future Hall of Famer.  Derek Sanderson Jeter.  2013 seems like such a strange year without him.All athletes are mortal.  Eventually Joe Montana stopped throwing lasers and Muhammad Ali stopping jabbing and cutting and rope-a-doping.  Michael Jordan went from Air Jordan to Floor Jordan.  Wayne Gretzky eventually couldn't hold up.  Eventually, Willie Mays stumbled around in a Met uniform and Mickey Mantle couldn't circle the bases.  Derek Jeter is no different.

But this happened fast.  Jeter had a nice year in 2012 and was healthy.  He was "back" considering how bad he played in 2010 and 2011 according to baseball pundits who said he was washed up.  And then poof, in front of our eyes, a shattered ankle in the ALCS vs. Detroit.  And we have only since seen him fighting through meaningless Spring Training earlier in the year.

Jeter won't be back until at least mid to late July.  Until then, Yankee games will look weird every time #2 doesn't come up to bat or when the ball gets hit to shortstop.  Unless we have to wait until next year for things to return to normal until they get weird again, when Derek Jeter retires, a thought, though eventual and realistic, that Yankee fans don't want to enter the mind.

By:  Mike Lindsley, "Mid-Day with Mike," 1-4, Yankees pre/post game host on 104.5 The Team ESPN Radio.  Follow him on Twitter @MikeLSports.  

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