No Tears for Jeter
At first it seemed like postseason baseball as usual.
The Yankees were losing 4-0 in the 9th inning at Yankee Stadium when two recent hires, two ex-Mariners in fact, Ichiro Suzuki and Raul Ibanez, both hit 2-run homeruns to tie the game and send it into extra innings. I was actually kind of rooting for Ichiro when he came to the plate with one out and a man on, because it's hard to turn that shit off. C'mon, it's Ichiro. And when Raul came up with two outs and a man on? I didn't assume homerun like everyone else. I wasn't worried. Sure, lightning strikes twice. But three times? Get out of town. When he did it, when Ibanez sent the ball over the right-field wall, I actually laughed out loud. It was so absurd. Has anyone had this kind of postseason? Ever?
It was also depressing. I assumed the game and the series were over right then. You don't give it up in the 9th inning in the postseason at Yankee Stadium and expect to win in extras. So Patricia and I began watching something less depressing, “Delicacy,” a 2011 French film about a young woman (Audrey Tautou) whose husband is killed in a car accident.
But it's a DVD so you pause, and in the pauses I'd check the score. Just to see. It was 4-4 for a while but I was sure, sooner or later, one of those pinstriped bastards would pull a Leyritz or a Jeter or a Boone. They always do.
They didn't. First, Tigers scored two. Second, Derek Jeter, Yankees captain, was helped off the field. Third, Detroit won it in 12. Wow.
It's a broken ankle for Jeter, which means the Yankees, the longest-running prime time soap opera this side of “Law & Order,” are now without their closer (Mo) and their captain (Jeter).
I'll spare the tears. You know how I feel. Jeter's had a good run. He's had a better run than any baseball player deserves. Here are the records he holds in career postseason categories:
- Games played: 158 (33 more than No. 2, Bernie Williams)
- At-Bats: 650 (185 more than Bernie)
- Hits: 200 (72 more than Bernie)
- Runs: 111 (28 over Bernie)
- Total Bases: 302 (79 more than Bernie and Manny Ramirez)
- Doubles: 32 (3 more than Bernie)
- Triples: 5 (tied with Rafael Furcal and George Brett)
- Strikeouts: 135 (26 more than Jorge Posada)
He's also third in homeruns (20), fourth in RBI (61), sixth in stolen bases (18), and first in FOX-Sports slow-motion shots of celebratory prancing and gamboling after the final out.
He's played in 38 World Series games, which isn't even top 10 (those '90s Yanks can't compete with those '50s Yanks), but it's 38 more World Series games than Ernie Banks or Frank Thomas or Ken Griffey, Jr. ever played in.
So no tears.
Here's Tyler Kepner's encomium/hand-wringing in the Times. Meanwhile, in The Detroit Free-Press, Mitch Albom reminds us that it ain't over as long as the fat man pitches.
Then there's, as always, Joey P., who gave me my first big laugh of the morning when the talked up all the big stories in the game last night—the public humiliation of Alex Rodriguez, the misplaced loyalty of Jim Leyland, the Hollywood heroics of Raul Ibanez, and, yes, Derek Jeter and his ankle—and then recounted the conversation he heard post-game on TBS:
“So what's the story of the night?” the question went.
“Delmon Young,” panelist and former pitcher David Wells said.
Exactly, see the … I'm sorry, wait a minute, what? Delmon Young? Because he hit a home run? Because he hit the ball that Nick Swisher misplayed? Delmon Young? That's like saying Johnny Two-Times was the star of “Goodfellas.”
Posnanski's ending is also true and poignant.
Is there a next gen for the Yankees? Or even a voyager?
Jayson Nix will replace Jeter at short but he's a career .214 hitter as well as a recent hire. The core of that '90s Yankees squad was home-grown and organic. This one is made up of Robinson Cano and middle-aged dudes from elsewhere: Teixeira, A-Rod, Granderson, Swisher, Sabathia.
Game 2 at 1 pm PST today. No mercy, Tigers. Derek Jeter would understand.