"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Winter Meetings Day Three (Open Thread)


Some fans love to play armchair manager or, especially these days, armchair GM. I like to play armchair shrink, not because I have any training as a social worker or as a doctor but because in an era where athletes are over-exposed and yet distant and sheltered, I find it amusing. It floats my boat, being a yenta. And when you get right down to it, so much of sports coverage these days is about being a yenta. The truth of it is we don’t know anything about these guys. Derek Jeter, Jim Thome, name a “good guy.” I have no idea what they are really like and I don’t know that I’d trust any writer–especially a writer–who claimed to know otherwise.

Some of my baseball pals don’t want to know anything about the players. Just keep it to the playing field. The more they know, the harder it would be to root. But it has always been complicated to separate the artist from his or her work. What do you think of when you watch Charlie Chaplin? Or Woody Allen? Can you watch a Roman Polanski movie and not think about the man behind the camera? What about Elia Kazan? My wife won’t watch any movie with Mel Gibson anymore. Can you watch Alex Rodriguez and still enjoy him? Can you enjoy sports and art without being a moralist? I can, but sometimes it is easier than others.

So I enjoyed the show of emotion from Derek Jeter yesterday and had fun reading into it. Helps keep me warm as the weather gets colder.

Today is the third day of the winter meetings. Still nothing doing on Cliff Lee though the tweets and posts keep a coming.

We’ll keep ya posted…

Update: Yanks getting ready to show Cliff Lee their money-maker?

Here’s Chad Jennings on Carl Crawford.


1 Jon DeRosa   ~  Dec 8, 2010 9:22 am

I think those morals get expressed when convenient. Like rooting against Cam Newton and Auburn Tigers for flauting the NCAA so blatanly, and the NCAA completley caving. But I don't care anyway, so that's easy.

But I like Woody Allen movies, so I'd prefer to separate his personal life and what I know about it from his movies.

Also, moral superiority is another thing to cling to when your team is a loser. The supposed "moral superiority" to fielding players acquired via the draft vs free agency? That's just self-congratulating delusion. But it's accepted as creed now.

2 williamnyy23   ~  Dec 8, 2010 9:33 am

I am more in your mold. I can mostly separate the artist from his craft, depending on how heinous the act.

As for Arod, because he was mentioned, I have absolutely no problem with the steroids. It's so easy to see why so many players took them, and I am not so sure I wouldn't have done the same thing. His marital infidelity is my one disappointment, but it's really hard to judge another's relationships, especially celebrities. I think one reason I actually really like Arod is because he seems very real, which is kind of ironic considering he has always been labeled a phony (but then again, how many of us aren’t when it suits are purposes)?

The funny thing about Jeter is he was able to perfectly express his anger in a very calm, dignified manner. Even his human frailties are well controlled. Ironically, I think I developed a better appreciation for Jeter as a result of this process. While others were less than dignified, he handled things with class. Although I can probably related to someone like Arod better, Jeter is really worthy of admiration (even if emulation is impossible).

3 Alex Belth   ~  Dec 8, 2010 9:46 am

I keep waiting for Jeter's Joe D kicks the dirt moment. Still waiting for him to let the red ass out on the field, and not just arguing balls and strikes. I bet we never see it.

4 ms october   ~  Dec 8, 2010 9:46 am

[2] i think i am mostly able to separate the person for his work as well - unless a line has been crossed or perhaps if i think the person is getting much more of a pass than i think they should (like a charlie sheen say).

i also have no issue whatsoever rooting for arod. i find him i guess weird, and don't relate to him near as much as i do jeter.

5 ms october   ~  Dec 8, 2010 9:49 am

[3] yes i wouldn't hold your breath. the only time i could see him losing it like that would be if something crazy happened like say someone picked up a bat and ran at him to attack him or something, but otherwise he is too in control to have the red ass.

6 Jon DeRosa   ~  Dec 8, 2010 10:00 am

FanGraphs raises a question we have been dancing around this offseason:


Why is it OK to lose now and win later, but not OK to win now and lose later?

This ties into the discussion of morals as well, since we almost universally perceive the cheap, internal solution as morally superior to the expensive free agent.

7 Shaun P.   ~  Dec 8, 2010 10:01 am

[3] [5] I think its bound to happen eventually. I would be thrilled to see it happen, because it would make Jeter seem a little more human. I'd also be thrilled to never see it happen, because as william says in [2], Jeter's self-control is really amazing, and I respect it a lot.

I think separating the person (and their actions) from their work depends a lot on the type of work, and the act. Does that act significantly prohibit the person from doing the work well? If so, I'm probably less inclined to separate . . . unless the work is really not important.

I have no use for Mel Gibson, but I will still watch the DVD of Braveheart that I own. What's the point in getting rid of it or never watching it again? That said, I probably won't buy another Gibson movie on DVD, or buy a ticket to a new movie that Gibson acts in. Hit 'em where it hurts.

Everyone is human, everyone makes mistakes. I prefer to save my fire and brimstone for the really important stuff. A-Rod's personal life is not the really important stuff.

8 Shaun P.   ~  Dec 8, 2010 10:04 am

[6] There is a strain of Puritanism that has been underlying American culture since 1620, and I think we as a culture have to work very hard to get rid of the worst aspects of it. AFAIC, there's why the cheap, internal solution is seen as morally superior to the expensive free agent. I think its silly.

Oh, and there's only one answer to the question "Why is it OK to lose now and win later, but not OK to win now and lose later?". Its never OK to lose. ;)

9 williamnyy23   ~  Dec 8, 2010 10:12 am

[3] Even that moment was very tame, not to mention graceful.

[4] The funny thing about Sheen is he is in real life the same character that everyone loves on TV (they even share the same name). It's almost like he is life is an extension of the show. In an odd way, I think that's why he gets a pass.

10 williamnyy23   ~  Dec 8, 2010 10:14 am

[6] From my standpoint, it should never be ok to lose in the present because we have the least control over the future. What isn't ok, however, is treading water in the present instead of planning ahead.

11 Jon DeRosa   ~  Dec 8, 2010 10:18 am

[8 & 10] I think you guys both hit the nail on the head, and how that question, while it applies to the vast majority of MLB teams, maybe even 26 of them, does not apply to the Yanks. The Yanks should be setting it up to win now and later.

12 Alex Belth   ~  Dec 8, 2010 10:24 am

9) Sheen is more like a rock star, a celebrity who is expected to be a fuck up.

13 The Hawk   ~  Dec 8, 2010 10:33 am

What I took from Jeter's admission that he was angry is that he's not a buttoned-up as one might think. I don't think he's hiding a lot of controversial opinions; I think he simply doesn't have them. Evidently he'll be pretty candid when there's something to say, even something that's somewhat gratuitous (I don't say that critically, it was just an unnecessary revelation). Maybe all this time it was assumed he had a carefully-groomed image, it was more a case of Jeter not having much to hold back or manipulate.

14 OldYanksFan   ~  Dec 8, 2010 10:46 am

{2} I don't think 'doing steroids' is black and white. You could say that these 2 guys over here do drugs.... but if one smokes some weed, and the other shoots heroine daily, there is a huge difference between those 2 situations. I don't think it fair to talk about a player's 'steroid usage' without assigning a matter of degree... and especially duration.

After all, a cortizone shot is a powerful steroid, that puts a player incapable of playing at a high level, back on the field. It just happens to be legal, so we think nothing of it.

I read 2 articles about ARod on BP. I concluded that ARod might have added 2 or 3 HRs/yr due to his 'steroid usage', the other actually showed that ARod might have actually underperformed a bit.

One only had to look at the bodies of Big Mac, Sammy and Bonds to know something was going on. ARod seems to have had little if any physical changes. And I do believe there is a right way., wrong way and best way to gain advantages from steroids. If the Balco info we have heard is correct, Bonds was almost a scientific prototype of 'successful' steroid usage. ARod had his cousin sneak some up from Mexico.

Yeah... ARod used. But looking at his body, stats, what he said about it and the BP articles, it seems steroids had a very small impact on his career. I think comparing ARod to Bonds/Sammy/Mac is like comparing the casual pot smoker to the everyday heroine user.

15 Diane Firstman   ~  Dec 8, 2010 11:07 am

I think Jeter has a right to be "irked", but not for the "public" nature of the negotiations.

He CAN be irked because the Yanks re-signed Mr. "OptOut during the World Series" to a contract that EVERYONE KNOWS will be financially imprudent within the next 2-3 years, and yet he (Jeter) has been the good soldier and the Yanks didn't offer him that exhorbinant type of deal

(not that they should make the same mistake twice .... just saying from the perspective of all the things Jeter has done for the Yanks "mystique", as opposed to A-Rod)

16 williamnyy23   ~  Dec 8, 2010 11:07 am

[13] Playing amateur psychologist, I also don’t think Jeter is hiding anything. I just think he realizes he is a public person because he plays baseball, so there is no need to make his private life part of the equation.

He may also be smart enough to know that we (and by we, I mean human beings) can often be hypocrites. On the one hand, we want celebrities to be more personable, but then as soon as they say or do something we don’t like, the axe is dropped.

Jeter seems as if he comes from a good, solid family. He doesn’t need to be loved by anyone else. In this facebook age, some people might not understand why a celebrity like Jeter would still value privacy, but I have a feeling it’s because he doesn’t taken himself as seriously as so many others seem to do. I think Jeter simply cares most about playing shortstop for the Yankees, and everything else takes a back seat.

17 williamnyy23   ~  Dec 8, 2010 11:10 am

[15] It might not be popular, but I don't regret the Arod contract for one second. Even if he continues to decline, his 2009 postseason is something I'll remember forever. If he never played another game for the Yankees, and I had the ability to erase the contract, but lose that World Series, I wouldn't change a thing.

18 Mattpat11   ~  Dec 8, 2010 11:12 am

If I stopped watching TV or movies because the star was a bad person, I'd be staring at the wall all day.

Roman Polanski is scum of the earth. Rosemary's Baby is a masterpiece. I can appreciate the movie while still thinking Roman Polanski should never see the light of day again.

I think Sean Penn is my one exception, but I also find his work itself horribly overrated.

19 ms october   ~  Dec 8, 2010 11:29 am

[15] curious diane, why don't you think jeter has the right to be irked over the public negotiations?

[16] i agree - i think he is a fairly private person (hence his being upset with the public negotiations) and he realizes the more he reveals the more opportunities that creates for scrutiny.

20 The Mick536   ~  Dec 8, 2010 11:32 am

[18] What? Never see the light of day? Only one Polanski movie makes your list? And you call that a masterpiece? Phew!

For the rest, check the image of Jete and daughter Steiney in NYT. Doesn't look comfy.

21 Diane Firstman   ~  Dec 8, 2010 11:47 am
22 OldYanksFan   ~  Dec 8, 2010 12:08 pm

[15] We all know Jeter got paid twice what he is worth, but we understand Jeter is a special player with special circumstances. However, the same is very true, if not more true, with ARod.

I saw 2 different financial analyses done of ARod's contract, and both said he was worth the money, and more, if he does break Bond's record. They were not based on WAR, but factors that lead directly to dollars.

Looking at attendance, the ARod years, 2004 - 2006, saw attendance jump 750,000. This is a substancial gain, considering these were post dynasty years. Post Season money was also a big part of the equation. ARod's probable status as a Top 10 player in baseball history was part of it also. And of course, if ARod break the HR record, he might still be generating money 50 years from now.

To compare Jeter's 'entitlement' to ARod, is like comparing Scutero's entitlement to Jeter. It is not apples and apples. I'm sorry if Jeter feels somewhat displaced by ARod's fame or dollars, but that's the way the Yankees set it up.

Maybe the Yankees are just dumb, but I believe they knew what they were doing with ARod, and that they didn't expect his onfield play to cover the contract.

23 Chyll Will   ~  Dec 8, 2010 1:25 pm

[21] He looks like he took a shower at Madame Toussand's house...

24 Mattpat11   ~  Dec 8, 2010 1:28 pm

[20] I like a lot of his movies. Rosemary's Baby is one of my favorites.

25 Mattpat11   ~  Dec 8, 2010 1:31 pm

So, Luke Scott is fucking nuts. http://tinyurl.com/2ayrqy8

26 Chyll Will   ~  Dec 8, 2010 2:05 pm

[25] So is the reporter for even asking. Dude, what does that have to do with baseball? Or were you trying to get a little extra in your Christmas bonus?

Still, he's no John Rocker...

27 williamnyy23   ~  Dec 8, 2010 2:18 pm

[26] I agree...Scott wasn't touting his views (some of which were odd, but others relatively mainstream and well articulated). He was responding to direct questions.

28 vockins   ~  Dec 8, 2010 3:12 pm

[25] Has he declined his membership in the MLBPA yet?

29 Diane Firstman   ~  Dec 8, 2010 3:20 pm

Meanwhile, happy 42nd birthday to Moosey Mike Mussina.

30 RIYank   ~  Dec 8, 2010 3:36 pm

Huh, that's weird. I also shrug off Woody's sins, and even Polanski's, and just love their movies, but I couldn't watch Mel Gibson anymore. (I hate Braveheart, actually, but Mad Max is one of my favorite movies.) Maybe it's just that I can ignore the director while watching, but I couldn't ignore Mel's presence.

31 The Mick536   ~  Dec 8, 2010 3:45 pm

[24] Not quibbling with it being a movie of note, just not a masterpiece. Wouldn't be in my three, but close. And he did what that was so bad that someone wouldn't watch his movies?

32 The Mick536   ~  Dec 8, 2010 3:45 pm

Any here remember John Lennon?

33 The Hawk   ~  Dec 8, 2010 5:17 pm

(This is not a political comment, I hope:)

When Obama was elected I was happy. I figured the left would be disappointed cause he didn't actually walk on water and the right would be beside themselves for various reasons. I thought this would be amusing, but it came too true and I really don't dig it.

If this comment gets nuked, I'd just like to bid it farewell - Farewell!

34 omarcoming   ~  Dec 8, 2010 9:29 pm

Luke Scott, you sir are an idiot!

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver