Tuesday is the final first day of the season for Derek Jeter. For him, it means he has 162 games to get to one more postseason. For me, it means I have 162 games to find a new favorite player.

It’s not as if anyone could ever replace Derek Jeter. Not many guys start their careers with an Opening Day home run, earn the title of Captain, and then go on to have the kind of movie-script 3,000th hit Jeter did.

Yankees GM Brian Cashman joined Jim Duquette and Mike Ferrin on MLB Network Radio’s Spring Training Tour and talked about all the things that make Jeter unforgettable.

So what does it take to be Jeterian? Which qualities will my new favorite player most definitely have to possess?

  1. Talent. I’m not ashamed to admit that Derek Jeter’s handsome face caused grade school me to practice my cursive by writing “Mrs. Derek Jeter” all over my Trapper Keeper. But nobody can stick with an adorable loser for 20 years. Like Derek Jeter, my new favorite player has to be talented enough to consistently win.
  2. Class. Stay away from PEDs, play the game with respect, and keep the headlines on your game — not your shenanigans.
  3. Determination. Come to each game expecting to win, and give all of your effort to make that happen. Learn from mistakes. Always try to improve.
  4. Leadership. This will come with time, but start by playing for the name on the front of the jersey, not the name on the back. In a top 50 list, Fortune Magazine recently ranked Derek Jeter as the 11th greatest leader — not in the history of baseball, but in the history of the world. Just a little something for my new favorite player to aspire to.
  5. Longevity. As with leadership, this will be hard to predict, but I don’t want to audition a new favorite player every few years. I need one that can go the distance.
  6. Wow factor. My new favorite player can’t just make the routine plays; he has to live up to The Flip and The Dive.

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So far, Archie Bradley is my leading candidate. The Diamondbacks sent the 6’4 right-hand pitcher down to Triple-A Reno to start the season, but MLB Network Radio hosts Casey Stern and Jim Duquette picked him to win Rookie of the Year, and Diamondbacks Director of Player Development Mike Bell had nothing but good things to say about Bradley when he joined Duquette and Mike Ferrin on Power Alley.

It’s unclear whether the early season hype will mean anything in terms of Bradley’s success. After all, Jeter logged 56 errors in his 1993 minor league season, and look where he is today. My new favorite player could be anybody.

The audition starts now.

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