More defense on my Jeter stance
I enjoyed the session at the Yogi Berra museum. You were the best in your row. As a Yankee fan, I felt a Pilgrim in an unholy land as Sean Connery said to Harrison Ford in Last Crusade. I thought the panel was sponsored by the Wilpons or the Kill the Evil empire society from Beantown.
There is plenty of baseball left in Derek Jeter. His paint is not peeling. He had a monster start after the last baseball classic. I expect another one. Derek will deliver. This is America. You are entitled to your opinion, but Derek Jeter will go out a Yankee. Be it as a DH or a shortstop. Nothing was better than watching Don Mattingly regain killer form in the 1985 playoffs.
Sports are more than about statistics, It is about heart and love of the game. Jeter is the Yankees, warts and all. So he can’t go to his left, Stop the world. So he is slowing down. Start a movement. He can teach the Yankee way until they pry the bat from his hands and Joe Torre, the right man in the right place at the right time, definitely belongs in the Hall Of Fame. I thank you. The panel was informative and interesting, but I felt I was in Fenway not Yogi Berra.
I have often said that the reason this feature was titled the Pinstriped Bible is that the real Bible is an argument about how to live your life in a moral way and the Pinstriped Bible is an argument about winning baseball. That means making every effort to be objective, regardless of what team or players I rooted for when I was a lad.
To the credit of the three organizations that have played host to the Pinstriped Bible in the past, YES, MLB.com, and the Yankees themselves, none have asked me to be anything less than that. If that means making unpopular but commonsense arguments about the impact of a player’s aging (and three years from now) on the team’s fortunes, so be it. You can get boosterism anywhere.
Modified from the script of Any Given Sunday, it fits right here with Derek Jeter:”
Hopefully some of you (and you, Steve) can appreciate that.
Just to clarify, Jeter isn’t dead and he’s not done, but we’ve been talking about what happens after 2010, not about today (not that today is a sure thing either). The question remains: What is your greatest priority? Seeing the team win, or seeing an aging player do an increasingly vague approximation of the things he did well ten years earlier? Those that choose the latter are the ones guilty of disloyalty, both to the team and to the player. The worst thing that can happen to a self-aware performer like Jeter is to receive applause for something that was previously beneath him. Lou Gehrig understood this, which is why he asked out of the lineup when teammates began congratulating him for making routine plays.
“So you know Albert Pujols, the great Cardinals, first baseman, two-time MVP? Well, he was in a severe car accident. His life was saved, but there was some severe damage. His left leg is permanently shorter than the right one, so he can no longer run around the bases, he hobbles, or lopes. Due to the fact that his right arm was bent into itself like a Möbius strip, his power is all but gone. He’s lucky to hit the ball out of the infield now. Should the Cardinals play him, or let him go?”
“Let him go, obviously.”
“Okay, say the same thing happened to Derek Jeter?”
As I’ve been writing, rsiciliano added, “The Yanks owe Jeet too much not to resign him.” They owed Babe Ruth even more, but when he couldn’t help anymore they were all too happy to move him on to the Boston Braves. Gehrig wasn’t even offered an office job. The pruning of the roster during the dynasty years of the 40s and 50s was merciless. Players age. Period. Winning requires youth, particularly young shortstops. In the next day or so I’ll complete a little historical survey on the matter, and you’ll find that you can count the number of teams that won with elderly guys at shortstop can be counted on just a few fingers.
Now, Jeter may have an atypical late-career surge in him. He may show you things on defense you’ve never seen before, or come back from last year’s weak (by his standards) offensive performance. Perhaps in October, 2010, we’re talking about whether the Yankees should re-sign a guy who just hit .330. I hope those things happen, but regardless of whether they do or do not, if you’re a Yankee fan, you have to be willing to discuss the consequences of going forward in 2011 or not. It’s not disloyalty. It’s just as acceptance of the facts.
I close this section with that great quote from G.K. Chesterton: “My country, right or wrong,” is a thing that no patriot would think of saying except in a desperate case. It is like saying, “My mother, drunk or sober.” Or like saying, “Derek Jeter, good or bad.”
AND AS IF I DON’T HAVE BOSTON ACCUSATIONS ENOUGH TO DEAL WITH…