November 2010

Thoughts on Derek Jeter Part II – A Fan’s Defense

So, as quickly as one friend wrote, the other responded:

He was brought up through the minors never sought out, and practically, at times single handedly won several championships for the Yankees. He created a “Team” mentality amongst egos and was a silent Captain when Mattingly left in his first year in Baseball. Now, sadly he has gotten a big ego, but his talent, plays, and time, will whether anyone likes it or not rank him up with names such as Mantle and Joe D. If you’re not a true Yankee fan you’d only know this. The contract talks are ridiculous, but I’d hardly say he’s dwindling, but I do think for the sake of his rep, and retiring his name in the Hall of Fame he should grab it. And whether you like it or not he is an icon, on a team that is an icon. From watching him since 1996 I can confidently say that. It is sad, how over the years he has gotten caught up in the contracts and yes a semi ridiculous demand since Paul O’neill agreed to play for less money after he was getting up there in age which was probably the most admirable thing anything sports player has done. I honestly think if A Rod wasn’t on this team, this contract would have been done a while ago. Sadly, players are now measuring performances by how big the next guy is getting paid. Jeter is not A-Rod, but not far off. He needs to remember what he has done, what his limits are, and what he brings to the team in his natural talent and leadership and accept that this is what makes him the Yankees captain; and will etch him to be remembered as a Yankee great. I hope, that he, like Mariano Rivera will prove that despite his age he will continue to be great. And don’t forget Favre was 2 mins from the Superbowl last year, then he started snapping pix of his D*ck!

Thoughts on Derek Jeter – Part I

A friend of mine, an outsider to baseball fanaticism, brings an interesting perspective to the Derek Jeter contract negotiations.  I don’t necesarily agree with all of this, but again…it’s an interesting look from an outsider’s point of view:

Derek Jeter, you are not an icon.  You are a member of an iconic team.  I’m sorry that management sought out, budgeted, and paid for a lot of big names, and at a crucial time, you were one of them.  I’m sorry that someone led you to believe that you were irreplaceable, ageless, and, like a skid mark that defies bleach, will never, ever go away.  It’s a shame, really, that you believed the hype that Yankees marketing kept alive, and that sports networks made so much money by showing your team (not just you) play baseball.

Let’s look at this situation through a particular lens -

Brett Favre.

Like you, someone who’s name will forever be associated with one team, during a time when watching that team play was pretty exciting.  Unlike you, he was a man who was loved, not only for his on field abilities, but for (a time) a squeaky clean, good ol’ boy, Wrangler wearing persona.

But look how the mighty have fallen.  He is in the process of going way, way down in the sports lover polls because he can’t admit that football can live on without him.  He can’t admit that a game played without him among the ranks will continue to be played.  But because of who he is, he continues to play.  One can argue that without football, he wouldn’t know what else to do, so he keeps going – against the entire sports worlds better judgement.

Here’s what Favre did right.  He didn’t bring his final years of playing the game down to the fattest contract he could bully himself into.  Be it for ego, or for love of the game, or a refusal to believe he’s done, he didn’t turn his relationship to the sport into a haggling match.

I don’t understand how, after multiple World Series, and a career that could put you in the hall of fame, you still feel you need more.  You’ve done it all.  You’ve gotten a lion’s share of the Steinbrenner budget for overpaid players. ( And let’s face it – you’ll find other things to occupy your time.  I won’t list them, but one of them is sell luxury cars in commercials.)  Now is the time to accept that your time is winding down, show some class, and live out these last years playing the best ball you can in front of the fans who have been cheering you on since you were just barely a man.  Stop acting like a pimp who needs to be shown “respect” from his underlings, and accept that you already have the respect and admiration of the people who care about the Yankees. 

In short – people care about YOU less than you think, Jeter.  Get over it, and take this enormous contract before they hand it to someone else younger, and more excited about being a Yankee, than your iconic self.

 

 

And the Winner of This Year’s Cy Young Award – Sabermetrics!

Felix Hernandez of the Seattle Mariners was named the 2010 American League Cy Young Award winner, going to show that the evaluation of a pitchers’ collateral has gone far beyond the wins column. Hernandez was ranked 18th in AL victories, trailing C.C. Sabathia by eight. Sabathia would wind up finishing a very distant third in Cy Young voting. 

 

This wasn’t your typical Cy Young vote though.  It was a referendum regarding statistics as a measurement of pitching worth. Nerds, raise your pocket protectors in pride.  Numbers are finally sexy.

 

*Please note: I’m a former member of SABR.   Don’t waste your Star Trek stationary writing me a disparaging letter, because I just called you a nerd. 

 

Hernandez led the Major Leagues with an earned run average of 2.27 and led the AL in innings pitched with 249 2/3. He was second in strikeouts, with 232, and in WHIP, with a 1.06. He received 21 of 28 first-place votes from the voting members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.   

 

I agree with Mike Bauman of MLB.com who wrote about this topic today.  The voters got it right. Worth should not be measured merely by victories alone.  That’s like measuring players solely by what they do in the postseason.

 

*Oh wait.  We kinda do.

 

As much as I feel that C.C. pitched one heck of a season for a team that can best be described by their fans as aggravating, Hernandez shouldn’t be penalized because he pitched for a last-place team.  The Mariners scored fewer runs per game than any team since the designated hitter rule was adopted by the AL in 1973.

 

*Now, who’s got tickets to Comic-Con?!  Kidding…or am I?

MLB remembers Veterans Day

Veterans Day is an interesting holiday.  You probably had the day off.  You got to wake up late… and how ’bout those awesome sales?  Nevertheless, I think we can all take a good hard look at ourselves. The true meaning behind the day is often lost.

Fans my age know a cursory history of Baseball’s role in the Second World War, thanks to “A League of Their Own.”  However, Baseball’s ties with men and women in uniform go far deeper than most people realize.  If you had the opportunity to check out New York City’s annual Veterans Day Parade (either in person or on television) or Bailey Stephen’s article on MLB.com, you saw it.

Yesterday, one of the last remaining players who left the Major Leagues to fight in WWII (and later the Korean War), former Yankee and Hall of Fame broadcaster Jerry Coleman, rode down Fifth Avenue in New York as the grand marshal of the city’s annual Veterans Day Parade.   I knew that Jerry Coleman was a poet on the mic and pretty darn funny, but I didn’t know that he served his country not once…but twice.  It kinda makes you feel guilty for waking up late, huh?

Thousands of Americans greeted Coleman, active duty serviceman and veterans participating in yesterday’s parade. (Did you know the city’s annual parade is the nation’s largest?) It’s that reverence which is at the heart of “The Spirit of ’45,” a non-profit organization in which Coleman is involved. Coleman’s role as grand marshal in the parade capped off a year of campaigning for the 501c3.

The Spirit of ’45 initiative held events throughout 2010 to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the end of WWII. Coleman successfully lobbied to have Major League Baseball and its thirty teams recognize Aug. 14, 2010, around the league. The campaign sought to recognize the past and inspire a call to service for young Americans. Thursday’s parade only helped spread that message.  If anything, as I look at my shopping bags, I’m listening with some guilt.

Ok…a lot of guilt…

“I hope so,” Coleman said. “It’s to make people aware of what can happen in wartime. I would hope people would stop to think about the people serving. Any time young American men are challenged, someone steps to the forefront.”  Coleman along with Ted Williams, Yogi Berra and Bob Feller were just some of the few who went to bat for their country over 65 years ago.  With everything going on today, maybe it’s time we all take a look to see how we can get in the on deck circle as well.

Check out Bailey Stephens’ original article at http://tinyurl.com/BaileyStephens.  She is a reporter for MLB.com and can also be followed on Twitter at Bstephens27.

 

To Lee or Not to Lee…

With two days of organizational meetings complete, the Yankees turn their attention to the pursuit of Cliff Lee.  The club determines him their top priority outside the organization.

 

I wholeheartedly agree that pitching should be the top priority looking toward 2011.  It was the team’s “Achilles’ Heel.”  Sure, the Yankees weren’t hitting either but if the 2010 World Championship Giants have taught us anything, they taught us that pitching always beats hitting…

 

And that Brian Wilson is kinda creepy… or a comedic genius….I haven’t figured it out yet.

 

Cliff Lee is the best Free Agent pitcher out there, hands down.  However, have we forgotten the lessons of Greg Maddox?  We shouldn’t put all of our eggs into one basket. This isn’t a slam dunk.  One of the biggest factors working against us is his wife.  How do you compete with that?

 

Also, can Lee even handle the biggest sports market in the world?  He’s an Arkansas boy who has only played for small market teams.  Even Catfish Hunter struggled when he first got to New York. I don’t know.

 

The Yankees also state that signing legends Mo Rivera and Derek Jeter are their top internal priorities.  Regardless of age, Mo Rivera is still the guy I want on the mound in a tough situation.  If I can’t have him, then maybe Billy Wagner…

 

I have to be a closet Metallica fan…

 

Either that or I’m still creeped out by Brian Wilson.  (What’s up with that beard?  Why is it so much darker than the rest of his hair?)

 

And even if Derek Jeter doesn’t have the range of his earlier days, he brings intangibles to his team that no other shortstop has brought since Cal Ripken.  Remember when the Mets dumped Seaver?  Do you want that on your head?

 

The Yankees organization needs to swallow their pride and sign Mo and Jeter quickly.  They bring far more to the team than they detract.  Get some pitching to protect them and let’s get back to the business of winning, alright?

 

Now, I’m going to get back to trying to replicate that Brian Wilson Mohawk.

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.