Funny thing happened on my way home last night. As I was walking across 6th avenue my ankle gave in. It’s the same foot I broke years ago and it remains prone to twisting. I got a cab home and then Emily took me to the emergency room. Fortunately, nothing’s broken–there might be a minor fracture, otherwise just some torn ligaments, a bad sprain. I got suited up with crutches and returned home to watch Mariano’s two innings. Then I went to bed. I didn’t even hear about Derek Jeter’s tough night until this morning.
Back in December, writing the Jeter comment for this year’s Baseball Prospectus annual, I said, “For years, Jeter’s offense has made him a net positive at shortstop despite his defense. The second half of 2007, taken together with his age, suggests that the day of reckoning may finally have arrived.” Emphasis on “may” added-if you have the book, you will note that the qualifier isn’t there. Cliff Corcoran, who reviewed the text in his sagacious way, and an experienced follower of the Yankees in his own right, argued that we should strike it, making the statement more definitive: “The day of reckoning has finally arrived.”
“Argue” is probably too strong a word for what Cliff did, as I didn’t argue with him. I noted the change and mentally shrugged, saying, “He’s right. By all available evidence, the time has come.” Yet, in the back of my mind, I was still hedging. “This is Derek Jeter! He’s got an edge, baby!” (Of course he does; he’s the only one who can afford the gas.) As time has gone by, I’ve become more convinced that that change was the right one, and become grateful for it, as Jeter’s performance has borne out the more emphatic prediction.
Tough times for Jeter and the Yanks right about now.