"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Paid in Full

“I got my pride.”

–Ralph Kramden

Joel Sherman has an interesting piece about Derek Jeter’s looming contract talks and the Hall of Fame shortstop’s pride:

Even his most loyal supporters — and [former manager, Joe] Torre was as loyal to Jeter as anyone — recognized a position change might be necessary. There had been some sentiment to make Jeter the successor to Bernie Williams in center before Johnny Damon came aboard in 2006. And by the time the 2007 season ended, the issue could not be ignored any more.

So Cashman took Jeter to dinner in Manhattan and told the Yankees captain that his side-to-side actions must improve. Jeter has an outsized athletic arrogance. He believes in himself completely, which allows him to deftly block out criticism and negativity. This trait enables him to thrive in the cauldron, but also prevents him from seeing personal shortcomings the way others perceive them. Still, to his credit, he agreed to try a new way.

With the Yankees paying the bills, Jeter enlisted Jason Riley, the director of performance at the Athletes Compound in Tampa. Riley formulated a plan to increase Jeter’s first-step quickness, particularly in fielding grounders to his left. Power lifting was diminished, agility — especially in the hips — was empha – sized , weight was lost. The results came slowly at first in 2008 and in a wave last year when Jeter had one of his finest defensive seasons.

“The player Derek is, he took to it and said, ‘Watch, I will prove you wrong,’ ” Cashman said.

There is no telling how Jeter’s career will play out from here. It could get ugly, as it does for so many of the great ones. One thing is sure: He’ll sign a big contract with the Yankees after this season. Jeter is more than a star, after all. He’s a Legend.

Share: Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share via email %PRINT_TEXT


1 Mattpat11   ~  Feb 10, 2010 11:52 am

I don't know why, But I saw the picture of Willie with the quote above it, and for a second I thought he had died. I actually panicked.

2 monkeypants   ~  Feb 10, 2010 12:53 pm

So the evidence for Jeter's outsized pride is that he...agreed to work harder/differently to improve his defense?

3 Horace Clarke Era   ~  Feb 10, 2010 2:00 pm

Much as I adore Jeter, Sherman's suggested 4 years for 100 million made me blink. Several times. Then I thought about how they will be paying A Rod into his 40s at an insane number, and ... maybe he'll get it. There's no way he'll earn it, though. What Becomes a Legend Most? 100 million?

4 hiscross   ~  Feb 10, 2010 3:34 pm

Heavy weight lifting slows you down. I never understood why baseball players need to pump
tons weight. Agility and gymnastics are the best over conditioning any baseball player can
do. Both require flexibility, endurance and strength. My son moved from baseball to pole vaulting I
took him a pole vault coach who once was on the Russian track team. That coach worked his vaulters
on gymnastics for 60% of his training and then vaulted. In less than a year my son went from 11" to
13'3' and competed in indoor and outdoor state. His coach's best vaulters in men and women
both won state. My son now a college freshman vaults in college with only 2 full high school
seasons of vaulting. He now does 14'+. Agility and gymnastics do work and much better than
heavy weight lifting.

5 boslaw   ~  Feb 10, 2010 4:09 pm

This shows why Jeter is a "legend" - the best have supreme confidence, and will do whatever it takes to prove you wrong if you criticize their ability. He may not be worth full $$ through his next contract, but you can be sure he'll give you 100% of what he has to give.

6 Horace Clarke Era   ~  Feb 10, 2010 5:23 pm

boslaw, well, again, I really love DJ, my favorite non-Mo Yankee, but he was criticized for a few years for his defence before agreeing to try this conditioning regimen. In other words, the confidence got in the way of adjusting a bit. He spent a couple of years dissing defensive stats.

A lot of players do give 100%, I'd say, or close to it. The guys who dog it get nailed by their teammates unless they are insane superstars. Jeter sets a terrific example in every way, but 25 million a year as he hits 40? I feel same way about Alex's contract, by the way. Jorge got an extra year at 13 million for long service, so maybe the case is that Jeter deserves 2 extra at twice as much? He'd turn 40 midway through that 4th season. Will almost surely not be a shortstop, possibly for the last 2 years.

I want him, I want him to retire a Yankee his whole career. Does that cost 100 million?

7 Alex Belth   ~  Feb 10, 2010 5:34 pm

I almost think it is better not to pay attention to what Jeter is going to cost because it's going to be ridiculous and you won't be able to quantify it as a on-the-field expense. It will be outrageous, on that level. But the Jeter thing is just bigger than that. The one thing that could make it really interesting is if Jeter has an injury-plagued season, or just a flat-out decline. That could make things dicey.

Man, when you think about it, dislike as he may be in certain quarters, Alex Rodriguez maximized his earning potential--contractually, not via endorsements, especially after the steriods admission--better than any player in history.

8 Horace Clarke Era   ~  Feb 10, 2010 6:27 pm

Alex, that's a fair take to propose. I think there's some risk here, though, for him and the team and 'legacy' etc. Alex Rodriguez maximized, as you said, brilliantly, in part because of the timing - he was not yet in decline in any obvious way, though it could be seen to be coming, purely on age. Jeter's contract is up when he is several years older. If he gets a ludicrous contract (based on on-field worth) there's some chance the ridiculousness of it will cause him to be mocked, put down harshly, as a 38, 39 year old performing perfectly adequately for a trying-hard aging ballplayer with a great past but NOT worth even a third of his contract on the field.

Legacy deals can go sour when they run for too long or come too late. You trot out there every day carrying a crazy contract and trying to live up to it. If you are a proud man, and Jeter is, it can become an issue.

9 Diane Firstman   ~  Feb 10, 2010 6:41 pm

Heck ... just give Jetes 20 million for 3 years, and then equity in the Yankees for the rest of his life.

feed Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share via email
"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver