Jeter’s final All Star Game.
[Pictures Via: It's a Long Season]
Jeter’s final All Star Game.
[Pictures Via: It's a Long Season]
The Yanks split a double header with the Pirates by winning a close one (4-3) and then losing a close one (5-3). What I’ll remember most from the game is Derek Jeter. This year, pitchers are challenging him with fastballs and for the most part, they are beating him. He isn’t bent and fat in his old age, but his bat is slow (and so is Ichiro’s). After hitting a weak ground ball to second in the first game, I watched Jeter jog back to the dugout. For an old man he still looks trim. Yes, he is thicker in the face and he now wears his hair so low as to be practically bald, but he still looks good. Not DiMaggio never-make-a-mistake good, just fit, still hard-working.
Jeter didn’t play in the second game but was called on as a pinch hitter in the 8th inning, the Yanks down a run. He fell behind 0-2, then took 3 balls before he fouled off a couple of pitches. On the tenth pitch of the at bat he got a breaking ball. It was low, but Jeter handled it, and looped a base hit to center field. The 3,353rd hit of his career. It wasn’t the most dramatic or the most important–and he never scored–but it was the kind of hit that typifies Jeter. It’s the kind of at bat we’ve come to admire (even take for granted) over the years. Won’t be too many of these left.
Yesterday, I took it all in.
[Photo Credit: Andrew Theodorakis/N.Y. Daily News]
I have to admit that if I was a major league pitcher today, and Jeter was at the peak of his game, Derek Jeter would be the one shortstop I’d want to play behind me. Why? Simple. Jeter’s always caught the ball. J.J. Hardy, the Orioles’ Gold Glove shortstop told me the cardinal rule of playing shortstop is, “You can’t throw the ball if you don’t catch it.”
[Photo Via: Bleeding Yankee Blue]
Derek Jeter spoke to reporters today. The always excellent Chad Jennings has the skinny.
[Photo Credit: John Dunn]
Now, that we’ve got that out of the way, check out Steven Goldman’s ranking of Derek Jeter against the greatest shortstops of all time:
Sixteen shortstops rated, Jeter wins 13-3, with only Banks, Smith and Ripken coming out ahead. Given Jeter’s extraordinary consistency at bat and career accomplishments, that seems fair. While a few shortstops exceeded him at their peak moment, and many were fairly rated as superior on defense, the totality of his contributions, combined with when he made them, at a time when baseball was at its most cosmopolitan and competitive, means he cleared a higher bar than most of his predecessors. He might not have been the best shortstop ever, but he wasn’t far off.
[Photo Credit: Al Bello/Getty Images]
[Photo Credit: Kalamazoo Gazette]
According to this report, 2014 will be Derek Jeter’s final season as a player. The announcement came on Jeter’s Facebook page.
[Painting by Michael Pattison]
Derek Jeter’s near-magical ability to hit his mark in the big moment, to rise to the occasion, has been the subject of some of this century’s worst sports writing, and sparked an understandable backlash in baseball fans who got sick of hearing him slobbered over. But even those who rolled their eyes when the sports media went off on one its over-the-top paeans to Captain Clutch would concede that Derek Jeter deserved a large percentage of that slobber.
So this season — a “nightmare,” as Jeter has repeatedly called it — has been jarring, even though we all know even the most larger-than-life stars are just people, and that people age and their bodies change, and that the end of the road for athletes is rarely neat or easy.
When Jeter came off the disabled list for the second time this season on July 28 (after just a one-game return earlier in the month), he did it yet again: In the very first pitch of his very first at-bat, he homered. “He’s back!” crowed the headlines. But he wasn’t; Jeter strained his calf four days later. Determined to help the Yankees with their tantalizing playoff hopes — only one game out of a wild-card spot, going into Thursday, despite everything — he came back in late August… this time for all of 12 games.
That makes 17 total games played in this lost season. And Jeter is 39. The number of players who have performed at a high level at that age, let alone those who’ve come back from very serious injury to do so, is not very large.
[Picture via It's About The Money]
Do we really need another article about Derek Jeter’s fielding? Even though he’s only played a handful of games this season, even though the topic has been beaten to death? Apparently so, and this one by Ben Lindbergh comes recommended from our pal Hank Waddles. Check it out over at Grantland.
[Photo Via: N.Y. Daily News]
Last week Derek Jeter was on the Jimmy Fallon Show. The Roots and Fallon tried out some new theme music for Jeter’s at bats.
Here’s the winner:
[Photo Credit: N.Y. Daily News]
The Yankees honored Hideki Matsui before the game today and then Derek Jeter made like Derek Jeter and hit the first pitch he saw from Matt Moore over the wall in right field for a home run.
It was the first time a Yankee had homered since the All-Star break, the first time a right-handed Yankee batter homered since Christ was a cowboy.
By the end of the first the Yanks had a 3-0 lead. But then Phil Hughes made like Phil Hughes and he gave it away. Not once, but twice, both on impressive home runs by Wil Myers. The first, a 3-run job, came off a hanging slider that Myers hit it deep into the left field seats. Second one came off a fastball that Myers punched well over the wall in right.
Not to be outdone, Alfonso Soriano hit a 2-run homer–of the cheap-o right field seats variety. He got 4 of the Yankees’ 12 hits (Jeter had 2) including the game-winner in the 9th, a clean single up the middle. He didn’t whack any of them except his homer but hey, 4 hits be 4 hits, right?
So Jeter returns and is a stud, Soriano has a big day, our man Hideki is celebrated. A nifty win on a cool day in the Bronx. Should be mentioned that the Yanks don’t win this game without the stellar work by the bullpen. Preston Claiborne got six straight outs and then Boone Logan, David Robertson and Mariano Rivera each pitched a scoreless frame.
Final Score: Yanks 6, Rays 5.
[Photo Credit: Brad Penner; Kathy Willens]
Guy I know went to the game last week when Derek Jeter returned to action.
Sent me this e-mail:
Went to the game again today, got a $5 ticket, bought it a couple hours before the Jeter announcement.
On the train on the way up, I see a couple. (I was running late so there weren’t many of us). The girl’s wearing a Jeter T-shirt, looking at her cell phone. The guy’s got on a Yankees wife-beater, Yanks shorts, and he’s holding one of those bona fide gray Jeter jerseys that cost like a 100 bucks.
I sidle up and say, “Hey, got the Jeter gear! His first game of the year!”
The guy looks at me then looks away. “I dunno, we don’t follow them.”
The girl keeps on checking her phone.
[Photo Credit: Meredith Winn]
Maddon likes to do what he calls “theme road trips.” There was the pajama road trip, the nerd road trip. For the nerd one, he had the players pose for a photo outside their chartered flight dressed in high-water pants, bow ties, and suspenders. “Some guys won’t do it,” Maddon says. “They think it’s not big-league. They can’t laugh at themselves.” David Price, the Rays’ Cy Young Award-winning left-hander, says, “He asks us for theme ideas. Once, we dressed as cowboys. It’s fun.” Ben Zobrist, a utility player for the Rays, adds, “Joe wants us to do one wearing skinny jeans. Never gonna happen.”
“You couldn’t do theme days with Alex Rodriguez,” I say.
Maddon shakes his head. “I dunno. I hope I could convince A-Rod to wear onesies. He’s not a bad guy.” He looks over at me. “I hear a lot of Yankees like him better than Jeter.”
Maddon says the most important thing he has to do as manager is listen to the players. “I coached for a manager once who told his guys, ‘There’s 25 of you and one of me, so you have to adjust to me.’ I hope I’m never like that guy. The days of dictatorial managers are over.”
When I tell him the hotdogging and emotional outbursts of B.J. Upton (the former Rays center fielder, now with the Atlanta Braves) offend my sense of the way the game should be played, Maddon says, “Aw, he’s a good kid. He was brought to the big leagues too soon. He had to make his mistakes in front of a lot of people and the media. He’s learning mental stuff he should have learned in the minors.”
[Photo Credit: Associated Press]
Blogging will be light today what with the holiday and all.
Meanwhile, Chad Jennings has the recap of Derek Jeter’s first press conference of the spring. As well as some notes on Mark Teixeira and the WBC.
[Photo Credit: Charlie Riedel/AP via It's a Long Season]
Over at SI.com, Joe Sheehan offers this appreciation of Derek Jeter. And while you are there check out Cliff’s 10 worst contracts in baseball history.