Derek Jeter had two hits last night, giving him 2,996 for his career. It’s become somewhat of the snark du jour to mock the New York Yankees shortstop’s pursuit of the 3,000 hit milestone, but I think it’s time to get over ourselves.
Yes, Jeter plays for the New York Yankees, and anyone who has ever picked up a New York Post knows that when it comes to the Yankees, things have a tendency to get blown somewhat out of proportion. And yes, Jeter is a human being, and not as good of a player as he once was. And yes, he’s overpaid. And yes, he probably isn’t as deserving of starting the 82nd All-Star game as the other players for whom MLB fans voted. However, that shouldn’t justify our scorn.
I’m not suggesting that we all get Suzyn Waldman up in here (you can’t see it, but I’m pointing at my eyes right now and putting on a pouty face), but there’s nothing wrong with exhibiting a healthy dose of respect toward Jeter as one of the longer lasting and better shortstops of his era. As a star in New York, he’s done a remarkable job of handling his public persona both on the field and off.
Derek Jeter isn’t Alex Rodriguez. After almost sixteen years of baseball, the worst thing you can say about Jeter is that he once pretended to get hit by a pitch that didn’t actually hit him. And yet almost every fan base outside of New York reserves a special brand of vitriol for Jeter.
As a fan of another team in the same division as the Yankees, I hate the team more than most, and find myself cheering against them without much thought when I end up watching their games on television or on MLB.TV. It’s ingrained, involuntary at this point in my life. But I can still maintain my hatred of the greatest franchise in baseball history while cheering on a great player in his pursuit of a milestone that should guarantee him a spot in the Hall of Fame.
Instead of mockery or disdain for Jeter’s achievement, I feel somewhat privileged as a fan of the game to watch Jeter get to 3,000 hits. While Craig Biggio was close, Jeter is the first player whom I’ve been able to watch from the very beginning his career reach a milestone like this. I had an understanding of the game when Jeter started playing, and now, as Jeter reaches the twilight of his career, that understanding has evolved to the point where I can appreciate his contributions.
He’s about to become the 28th player in the history of the game to reach 3,000 hits and some people are acting as though it’s just the byproduct of having a long career. This is a major accomplishment, and it deserves to be celebrated as such.
And The Rest
I know it’s kind of lame, but I like the way that MLB has recognized its All-Stars on the back of their jerseys and caps.
The participants for the 2011 Home Run Derby have been announced. Rickie Weeks over Wily Mo Pena? Really, Prince Fielder?
It’s one thing to go to every ballpark in baseball, but it’s quite another to bike to every single one.
If Tim Flannery is the wind beneath Andres Torres’ wings, where was he last night when Torres was tagged out at the plate after a Chad Qualls wild pitch didn’t go quite as far as it may have been initially believed. This is Qualls, a milisecond before he spiked the baseball like it was a football after getting the out. Stay classy, Chad.
Buzz Bissinger thinks that there’s a deficit of heroes in sports today. Also, get off his lawn and stop playing that loud music.
Bruce Bochy lays some hate down on the haters.
The Florida Marlins took Mike Cameron off the Boston Red Sox hands.
Newsflash: Kevin Youkilis doesn’t like getting hit by pitches. Oh, does the widdle baby have a boo boo on his back?
I guess that if I called the Barry Bonds trial a waste of time and money, the same should hold true for the Roger Clemens trial. However, I just can’t feel that way.
I put this video up on Getting Blanked’s facebook page last night (just “like” it already), but here’s one of the better public service addresses against underage drinking: