Doing my part to help the Yanks win

Way back in 2002, after I saw him lose in a preliminary round at the Hamlet Open in Commack, I suggested in this space that it was time for tennis legend Pete Sampras to retire. After all, I reasoned, he was 32 years old and had not won a major tournament since who knows when.

About three weeks later, he won his fifth U.S. Open and 14th Grand Slam title overall. So much for career counseling from yours truly.

So it is with a certain sense of hopeful symmetry that I call this week for the retirement of my favorite baseball player, New York Yankee shortstop Derek Jeter. After all, I reason, he is 36 years old and mired in one of his worst seasons ever, statistically speaking.

The timing of this call is not accidental. It comes the morning after yet another heartbreaking Yankee loss, their fourth in a row, this time 1-0 to the as-of-last-night, gulp, first-place Tampa Bay Rays.

Obviously, something’s got to give, and if it means making a prognosticating fool of myself one more time, then so be it. (And let us not forget the long-ago column I wrote — and eventually ended up eating, literally — about the Greenport High School varsity football team.)

So please hang up those cleats, Derek. The time has come … for the Yanks to win their 28th World Series title.