Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Captain?



Derek Jeter really is this generation's version of Joe Dimaggio. Joe Dimaggio was seen as soft spoken, classy, and a great quiet leader. We learned much later that wasn't quite the case. Dimaggio wasn't exactly friendly and a great teammate to a young kid named Mickey Mantle. Turns out that classy Dimaggio had an ego and while I am sure he loved to win, he wasn't much different than the normal pro athlete who thought of himself first. Dimaggio after all was the first player to hold out for more money, and after he retired, Joltin' Joe would only show up to events if his name was announced last and only if he was introduced as "the greatest living ballplayer". Stay classy Joe D.

Jeter is loved by Yankee fans because they view him as the ultimate winner. A team first guy, a leader, the Captain! We are starting to learn that Jeter may not be those things. Excerpts from Ian O'Connor's latest book have been released and The Captain comes off as more of a thin skinned athlete who is more concerned about personal agendas than winning on the field. Then there were his contract negotiations this past offseason where Jeter's agent took the negotations public first making the Yankees fire back in the press leaving Jeter upset that the Yankees were negotiation through the media. You can't make this stuff up.

Jeter is now struggling. It might be a slump or it may be the beginning of the end. The latest debate is whether or not to drop him in the order. Wallace Matthews and Andrew Marchand debate it in this article.

Andrew Marchand makes a great point at the end of debate. He writes "if Jeter is really all the things his captaincy and legend represents, then he should be all for the move. It is for the good of the team"  This makes perfect sense but here is the issue, Jeter isn't all the things his captaincy and legend represents. If he was all those things he would have moved positions in 2004 when Alex Rodriguez arrived. Rodriguez was the best defensive shortstop in baseball. He made only eight errors in 2003 and his range factor numbers dwarfed that of Jeter's. The 2004 Yankees would have been a much better team with Arod at SS and Jeter moving to second or third base. I don't know if Jeter was asked to move but a captain shouldn't have to be asked. He should do it when it makes the team better. Jeter won't move down in the lineup on his own just like he won't change positions on his own. He is there for himself first and foremost leaving Girardi twisting in the wind to make the decision which will only bring controversy and a split among Yankee fans and possibly the clubhouse. Does this sound like a captain to you?

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