Yankees Suck postsTuesday September 16, 2014
How badly is Derek Jeter doing in the second half of this, his final, interminable, farewell season? I’m almost beginning to root for him.
Here are his numbers pre- and post-All-Star game:
But even that doesn’t get at how poorly he’s done lately.
On August 28, New York Post columnist Ken Davidoff asked Yankees manager Joe Girardi about the efficacy of batting Jeter No. 2 for a team that, then, still had an outside shot of making the postseason.
“Yeah,” Girardi said. “But it’s not like we have a bunch of guys hitting .300.”
Which: 1) couldn’t have made the “bunch of guys” very happy; and 2) there’s bad and there’s bad. At that point, Jeter had the worst OPS among regular Yankees, but it wasn’t a stark difference. Basically Girardi was saying, “He’s not doing so poorly, nor is the rest of the team doing so well, to move someone like him down in the order.” And he was kind of right.
But those were the good old days.
Since then, Jeter’s gone 7 for 61, a .114 batting average. He’s got one extra-base hit (a double on Sept. 4), three walks, no stolen bases. He’s scored two runs.
He’s gone from having the worst OPS among qualifying Yankees to the third-worst OPS (.596) among the 150 qualifying players in Major League Baseball. Thank god for Houston’s Matt Dominguez (.593) and Cincinnati’s Zack Cozart (.570). Although at least Cozart is an apparent Mozart with the glove: his defensive WAR is 2.7, making his overall WAR 2.3 Jeter’s is -0.2. You could make the argument that Derek Jeter is the worst regular player in all of Major League Baseball right now.
Is this how he goes, toothless and hitless, a burdensome lightweight at the top of the Yankees lineup? He makes the rounds, accepts the gifts in opposing ballparks, smiles for the crowds. He plays gags with reporters’ phone. He gets written about again and again. Meanwhile, his team is dying on the vine. Jeter was always considered the ultimate team player but from a distance he’s never seemed like the ultimate team player to me. It was A-Rod, after all, who agreed to switch positions. Jeter, at 40, is still out there at short. I get the feeling he’ll show up next year, too, to everyone’s embarrassment. He’ll be the Bartleby the Scrivener of shortstops. Leave? “I prefer not to.”
As a longtime Jeter hater, I assume his hitlessness won’t last. I assume, shortly, Jeter will get hot again, or at least lukewarm, because he always does. As I said, I’m almost rooting for it.
Derek Jeter posing with the best team in baseball.
A Blah Baseball Year Everywhere, Roger? Or Just in New York?
The New Yorker put Derek Jeter on its cover last week with a nice illustration by longtime contributor Mark Ulriksen. It's the classic, from-behind, baseball farewell shot. It's how we've done it ever since Nat Fein of The New York Herald Tribune captured this shot of Babe Ruth, dying, in 1948. It's also, not coincidentally, the look they give us as they exit the field: their back, their number, then gone.
Roger Angell also has a piece on Jeter in the issue and so I saved it for the weekend, assuming it was a feature. It's not. It's a “Talk of the Town” piece. Maybe Angell, in his 90s now, ready for his own farewell photo, doesn't do features anymore. Maybe The New Yorker had already done enough features on Jeter. Whatever the reason, it's short, an easy read. Angell describes Jeter's pre-batting ritual well (“the cop-at-a-crossing right hand ritually lifted astern ...”) and the extent of his celebrity. But then he gives us this:
He's not having a great year, but then neither are the Yanks, who trail the Orioles ... It's been a blah baseball year almost everywhere, and, come to think of it, watching Derek finish might be the best thing around.
A blah baseball year everywhere? I don't know, Roger. Tell it to fans in Baltimore. Tell it to fans in Washington, D.C., or Anaheim or LA. Tell it to me and my friends in Seattle, who are discussing the Mariners in August and September for the first time in more than a decade. Tell it to the long-suffering Kansas City Royals fan, whose team, Tyler Kepner reminds us today, hasn't been in the postseason since Derek Jeter was in sixth grade. Tell it to Joe Posnanski.
In fact, I think you've got it backwards. Any year in which the Yankees flounder and don't make the playoffs is an exceptional baseball year almost everywhere else.
New York Jeters Honor Jeter at Jeter Stadium
Yesterday was Derek Jeter Day at Yankee Stadium. There was a pregame farewell. It went long. Fans kept applauding. Then the Yankees went out and lost to the Kansas City Royals 2-0.
In his piece on the day (“Yankees Honor Derek Jeter as an Icon of his Generation” according to the URL; “Celebrating Glory, with Little Hope to Add to It,” according to the headline), Tyler Kepner gives us this startling bit of math: “The Royals have not reached the postseason since Jeter was in sixth grade, but they shut out the Yankees twice in three games.”
Sixth grade? Can that be right? That was in 1985 and Jeter started in the Yankees minor league system in 1992. Can only seven years separate sixth graders from minor leaguers? I guess.
The line that made me laugh out loud, though, was this:
The Yankees removed the Royals’ flag — and the flag of every other major league team — from atop Yankee Stadium, ringing their imperial palace with Jeter flags. His No. 2 flapped overhead while adorning the Yankees’ sleeves and caps down below, as it will for the rest of the season.
If this all seems a bit much, the players would never complain.
Removing the rest of Major League Baseball from your stadium? To honor one 40-year-old man? Why would anyone complain?
Indeed, maybe flags and patches aren't enough. Maybe the Yankees should rename the team for Jeter. Maybe they should rename the stadium for Jeter. Here's the question you need to ask yourselves: What have *you* done for Derek Jeter lately? Because he's retiring you know.
Jeter (left) with another retiree last month in Texas.
David Simon Uses the NY Yankees to Prove There is No God
David Simon, co-creator of “The Wire,” has an article in Sports Illustrated on his team, the Baltimore Orioles, and its chance of making the postseason this year. Any fan of any franchise that hasn't done well in, say, the last 30 years, will identify.
But this is the quote that had me nodding my head. Simon is writing about how the O's might win because anything can happen in an infinite universe. Then he asks, “How do we know this?”
Well, for one thing, there is no God. There is only science. If there were a God, he would be—as evidenced by all of modern baseball history—a devoted fan of the Yankees. And God, at least the Judeo-Christian version of Him rather than the Aristotelian unmoved mover, is said to be good. Ergo, there is no God.
Of course, Douglass Wallop had an alternative theory on Yankee domination.
Jeter and Rivera celebrate another triumph in a godless universe, 2009.
'I believe you've been waiting for this photo all your life'
My friend Adam Wahlberg posted this link, with the photo below, and the words above, on my Facebook page last night. I cracked up.
He knows I'm not a fan of either man—although I'd still take Jeter in a New York minute over W. I actually have admiration for Jeter. I just have no admiration for Jeter overadmiration, which is everywhere, even in Texas. Looking at the photo, I thought, all we need is “Transformers 2” playing in the background to complete the trifecta. My great big ICK of the first decade of the 21st century.
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In the meantime, what would your ICK trifecta look like?