Thursday, September 07, 2006

Derek Jeter for MVP (and trust me, that hurts to say)

I am not a Yankee fan, never have been. Too arrogant, too successful, too much money etc etc. To play for this team, you need to have nerves of steel. Playing in Yankee Stadium, with those crowds has killed careers. Players like Jeff Weaver, Kenny Rogers, Kevin Brown...the road is strewn with solid players who simply could not play in New York. The latest casualty could be Alex Rodriguez but that is material for another blog.

Derek Jeter has always exemplified everything I hate about the Yankees. He is a solid shortstop but his success is partially due to luck having started with the Yankees when they started their run of success in the mid-to-late 90s. I once had an argument with someone who tried to tell me that Derek Jeter is one of the top 5 shortstops in the history of baseball. I replied that he is not even the best shortstop on his team! (Rodriguez was originally a shortstop). In the end, this was a dumb argument. This is a guy whose dog is named Jeter, so he was a little biased.

This season, I have become a believer on Derek Jeter. Unfortunaly, since I only work in public relations for a sports network, I do not have a vote for American League MVP. However, if I did, I would vote for Jeter. Currently he is second in the AL batting race hitting .344 with 12 home runs, 85 RBI, 97 runs scored and 29 stolen bases. He has had three seperate hitting streaks over 10 games this season. All the while, leading a Yankee team to first place despite injuried to other Yanks like Hideki Matsui, Gary Sheffield and Robinson Cano. The only other American Leaguer I could think to vote for MVP would be David Ortiz but with his current injury issues and the fact that he is only a DH negates that for me.

There have been some magical moments in Jeter's history. There was the time he dove in to the stands during an extra inning game versus the Red Sox to snag a Trot Nixon foul ball in 2004. Then there was the the play in the American League Divisional Series vs. the Oakland A's in 2001. With Jeremy Giambi on first base, Terrence Long lashed a double to right field. The throw by Yankee outfielder Shane Spencer was way off line and Giambi raced home. Jeter came out of nowhere to pick up the errant ball, he then backhanded the ball to Yankee catcher Jorge Posada who was able to tag Giambi out. Admittedly, had Giambi slid, he would have been safe. But still, it was a hell of a play. At that point, the Yanks were done 2-0 in the series but ended up winning that series.

Here is one of those magical Derek Jeter moments from the 2001 World Series. The end of the season was delayed due to the tragic events of 9/11 and this game ended up being played in November. Despite all that, Jeter takes a frisbee of a slider off Byun-Hung Kim and takes it the other way to right field for a walk-off home run.

The Yankees would end up losing the series to the Diamondbacks. I remember that final inning where the D-backs fought back against super star closer Mariano Rivera to win the game and the series. J-Mac, a Yankee fan from way back, could no longer bare to watch and took a bath. I took that opportunity to wear her Yankee jersey as I cheered those bronx bombers to lose. Ahhh, good times.

Top 5 Baseball Movies
1. Bull Durham
2. The Natural
3. Soul Of The Game
4. The Bad News Bears
5. Eight Men Out

(with apologies to Bingo Long & The Travelling All Stars)



Blogger JMacK said...

Hah! After almost ten years of living with me you are finally seeing the light....Jeter is the ultimate team player. He goes all out. I do agree about A Rod being a better short stop but I am still pissed off with A-Rod for slapping that ball out of the first basemans hands during a play off game. VERY poor display of sportsmanship for A-Rod.

10:39 AM  
Anonymous 7 said...


Although I don't like the yankees, it's like cheering for the IRS (or CCRA in the great white north), Jeter is fantastic.

He plays the game the way it was meant to be played. He does all the little things, is a great leader and team player, NEVER makes a mental error and always hits smart (he leaves the 3 run HR in a blowout to Ass Rod).

People should name their pets after him -- I would name my son after him.

8:55 PM  
Blogger Cogs said...

I agree with the narrator on Jeter. I respect his talent and accomplishments, but don't like him for the same reasons you mentioned. I wouldn't name a goldfish after him.

9:37 AM  

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