Monday, July 18, 2011

My Love Letter to Derek Jeter

Derek Jeter reached the 3,000 hit plateau a little over a week ago. My blog has turned into a Jeter blog the last several weeks and I have received more than a few emails asking why I did not post about Jeter's great accomplishment instead of bashing him all the time. In my defense I was on vacation, then again I did manage to bash Roger Clemens in a blog post from the beach house. So here it is, a favorable blog post about Jeter.

I will be the first to admit that I was shocked when Jeter went deep for #3,000. It was even more shocking that it was hit to left field and wasn't cheap. If you told me Jeter would go deep for his milestone hit, I would have guessed a pop fly to right field at Yankee Stadium with Jeffrey Maier stretched out over the warning track. I even tweeted this minutes before the homer:

Michael Dobreski
Where in the infield will Jeter's 3,000th hit stop rolling? 

I admit it, The Jete made me eat my twitter words. Derek would get five hits on the day and I can appreciate how great it must have been to be a Yankee fan at the ballpark to witness it all. I have my issues with Jeter and mainly how he is perceived by the so called baseball experts but I have always respected the way he plays the game. He always plays hard, always runs hard down to first base and gets the most out of his ability. He is the anti Robinson Cano.

I also respect the fact that he put up these numbers without the use of performance enhancing drugs. Obviously, nobody knows for sure who used and who didn't but evidence suggest Jeter has been clean throughout his career. This evidence has really been strong the last two years as Jeter has looked very old. This is not a knock on Jeter, just a fact. Jeter is aging like many great ballplayers have done in the past. Remember Willie Mays falling down in Shea Stadium? (my father just experienced chest pains as he read that, sorry Dad)

You don't peak at age 37, you regress, sorry to the fans of Barry Bonds who still have their head buried in the sand. Jeter is in decline and while it may be tough for his fans to watch, it doesn't hide the fact that it is happening. If I were a Jeter fan I would celebrate his decline as proof that he was clean all his career.

So to recap, I gave credit to Jeter's home run, praised his work ethic, put him in the same sentence with Willie Mays and also killing my father in the process and finally I proclaimed him PED free, a rarity in the Yankee clubhouse. Now let's move on.

The five hit day by Jeter ultimately will benefit the Red Sox because it gives the Jeter apologists a platform to say he is not done and should continue as the Yankee lead-off hitter. Those five hits may add an extra two weeks to the inevitable and those two weeks could be the difference between a playoff spot, a division title, or sitting home in October. The Yankees are not a better team with Jeter leading off. If Jeter really cared about winning above all else he would request to be moved down in the order and make Joe Girardi's job easier but I have beat these points into the ground on my previous posts which you can find here and here and here.

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