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Derek Jeter

July 13, 2011

Derek Jeter.  Last week, I was going to write a totally different blog about you.  And I will get to some of the same points.  But it is going to be tainted.  You see, I was going to look at your career, go over some of his highlights, and reflect on the fact that you became the first Yankee to reach 3000 hits.  Then you made the worst decision of your career.

Let’s start with the positive.  Derek Jeter is one of my favorite players.  This is coming from a self-proclaimed Yankee hater.  But I have watched what he has done and been very impressed.  He has (had) great skills for a shortstop.  I never thought he was the best defender.  Most of the time I would have had him in the top 3 or 4.  His hitting was almost always solid.  He is a player that I would have loved to have on my team.

But he is more than his skills.  His leadership sets him above the rest.  He is the type of player that would have brought any team to the World Series.  He finds the right place at the right time.  The perfect example was his play in game 3 of the 2001 AL Divisional Series.  With a 1-0 Yankee lead in the seventh and Jason Giambi on first, Terrence Long hit a double to right.  Shane Spencer came up with the ball and uncorked a wild throw to the plate, missing the cutoff man.  Jeter came from his shortstop position to grab the ball and flip it to Jorge Posada, who tagged Giambi out to end the inning.  It is this kind of play that inspires teammates and deflates the opponent.

I don’t know what is more amazing, Jeter getting his 3000th hit or the fact that he is the only Yankee to get to that milestone.  Of all of the great Yankee hitters, none of them got to 3000?  I admit, I had to look it up when I heard that earlier this year.  Paul Waner, Dave Winfield, Ricky Henderson and Wade Boggs played for the Yankees, but reached 3000 with other teams.  In fact, Paul Waner was the only one to play for the Yankees as a member of the 3000 hit club (Winfield, Henderson and Boggs each reached 3000 after leaving the Yankees).  Derek Jeter became just the 28th member of the club, and the 14th to do it with one team (10, including Jeter, have only played for one team for their entire career).

Now, about this bad decision.  WTF!?  Up until this week, I have not had a bad thing to say about you, other than you play for the Yankees.  You were having an OK season.  You were voted in as the starting shortstop for the AL All-Star Team.  You reached hit number 3000.  Then you don’t go to the All-Star Game?  Don’t even show up?  You were voted in by your fans!  You are making 15 MILLION dollars to play baseball this year.  It is my opinion that, if you are able to play before and after the All-Star Game, you should at least be able to show up.  You owe it to your fans.  Willie Mays summed it up, “It’s not jury duty, guys should show up.”  If you are not on the DL, you should show up.  Others were not able to play, but had the decency to be there, represent their teams, and respect the fact that the fans voted them into the All-Star Game.

I really hope that this was just a lapse in judgement and not a change in the way you treat the game.

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