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Yanks Need More From Jeter, Unfair Deal, What If, #5,000



By Mike Silva ~ July 10th, 2011. Filed under: Morning Digest.

It’s all Jeter all the time this morning.

There is no need for me to throw out a larger than life narrative about Derek Jeter‘s 3,000th hit. With HBO in the building putting the finishing touches on his story, they couldn’t have scripted a better performance. Not only did they get the 3,000th hit on a home run, the kid who caught it handed it over without a fight, and The Captain drives in the winning run to cap the afternoon. Roll the credits. The real narrative I am going to perpetuate is the Yankees need more games, like yesterdays, from Jeter. They need it since their aging team is starting to show the wear and tear that comes with bodies north of thirty.

Alex Rodriguez can go for all the second opinions he wants; Even if he continues to play through these lower body injuries, it will sap his ability to play defense, hit for power, and stay on the field. Why go out there less than 100%? Have the surgery now so you can use September as rehab for a big postseason run. Mariano Rivera was his usual perfect self yesterday, but the elbow pain this week is a reminder how fast and fleeting the Yankees season can be if Rivera were ever out for an extended period. The starting pitching continues to do a good job for a team that scores six runs a game. You don’t expect anyone not named CC Sabathia to handle the 3-2 type of contests.

You still have Granderson, Teixeira, and the resurgent Robinson Cano. They could survive without A-Rod for the summer, but you saw yesterday how Jeter’s bat can really bring this offense to a new level. He can make the Yankees lineup nine deep for the first time all season. He could let them play Eduardo Nunez or Brandon Laird at third base for an extended period.

There has been enough criticism of the Yankees relying too much on the long ball to score their runs this season. Jeter in his prime beat you with timely and well placed base hits. We all talk about the home run for number 3,000, but it was a soft single up the middle that won the game for the Yankees.

Without Jeter yesterday we are talking about another uninspiring performance from A.J. Burnett. We are talking about A-Rod’s injury. We are talking about the need to acquire another arm.

A huge summer from Jeter can lock up this division. It will push the pesky Rays far enough away so they can’t make it a three team race. The time for the “lifetime achievement tour” is over. They need Derek Jeter the Yankees Captain to step up. I don’t expect him to be Jeter of 1999 for the rest of the season, but how about for the next eight weeks? Help this team put a nail in the AL East.

That would be a real and tangible narrative.

***

Some of the narratives you have read from the sports writers are plain awful. I love sports narratives, but throughout his career they have been over the top when it comes to Jeter. Take Sports Illustrated’s Joe Posnanski who had this gem earlier in the week:

Derek Jeter, almost the second the fans begin to say his name (before they get the “urr” in DEH-rick JEET-urr) holds out his glove toward the fans. He does this without looking, while staring in at the batter. It feels to me like the perfect Derek Jeter gesture. He’s saluting the fans while never taking his eye off the game. He seems to me to be saying, “I hear you, and I love you, but I’m working right now.”

As John Kreese of NoMaas said Jeter was attempting to get 3,000 hits; he wasn’t dying. There is no need to eulogize him. Yes, he had a flair for the dramatic yesterday, but he is a baseball player, not an immortal Greek God.

Nothing personal against Posnanski, but I never have seen the star status heaped on him throughout the internet. He appears no different than any other sportswriter except he throws in some advanced numbers throughout a column that is probably 500 words too long.

Maybe it’s me. I follow stories, not writers. There are plenty of great writers out there if the topic lends itself to a great story. It seems Posnanski is trying too hard to be Joe Posnanski.

Some of the younger sports fans just are trying to latch on to a mainstream writer that speaks their jargon. It gives them hope that one day they could possibly be in his shoes. There are plenty of smart guys out there, but good sports writing doesn’t need fancy graphs or integers. It just needs a good story that flows. A real story, not a contrived one.

***

I don’t know what to say about Highland Mills, NY resident Christian Lopez who willingly gave Derek Jeter his 3,000th hit ball without any negotiations. Take this quote from the Daily News this morning:

The lifelong Yankees fan who snagged Derek Jeter’s 3,000th hit shares a few qualities with The Captain: Hustle, generosity and class.

You mean the exact same things that will not be displayed (well hustle will, just not the kind we see from Jeter) from the Yankees and memorabilia industry (cough…cough Steiner Sports) as they sell Jeter merchandise?

The Yankees put a note on the scoreboard about Jeter merchandise being on sale right after the hit. Michael Kay made sure to point out on YES that the lines were getting long at the Stadium concession. Everyone is going to profit big time off this achievement: Jeter, the Yankees, Steiner Sports and various other memorabilia outlets. Why shouldn’t this kid get fair market value for this ball?

Here is what should have been done for Mr. Lopez. Jeter and the Yankees should figure out what fair market value for that baseball is and go 50/50 on giving the kid the money. He should be rewarded for trusting a big conglomerate like the Yankees who gave him 50 cents on the dollar for his merchandise (it’s the American Corporate way these days- they love 50 cents on the dollar deals).

Let me tell you, if yours truly had that ball it would not be given away for any tickets. It would be at a safe deposit box and the Yankees could talk to my lawyer about what it would take to get it out of there.

I would be fair. All I would ask for his fair market value. Nothing more, nothing less. That isn’t greedy, that is the American way. At least the old American way, not the new age greed that is passed off as capitalism.

You know what is greedy? How the Yankees lifted that ball and took advantage of a 23 year old kid. Giving him suite tickets that weren’t going to be sold. Signed merchandised. Please. At least the kid knows it’s real, which is more than I could say for the fans buying stuff from these other outlets. Trust me, I know for a fact there is tons of manipulation that goes on in that industry.

The kid, by the way, told Michael Kay on the broadcast he just graduated from college and admitted he is living day by day financially. Another new American way: pay thousands for dollars to a wealthy university so you have the privilege of being in debt the rest of your life.

***

Michael Kay could take some lessons from Vin Scully when it comes to dramatic moments. Make the call and shut up for a while. Listen to Scully announce the Kirk Gibson homer and the ’86 Bucker play. Let the moment breath. All he did was jabber the rest of the inning. Kay again shows me that he makes the Yankee broadcast about him. He is a boorish and arrogant announcer.

***

Let’s play What If? Imagine if the Reds didn’t decide to pass on Jeter at the last minute. Forget about what it would have done to the Yankees (I suspect there would have still be a few championships), let’s see what it could have done to Jeter.

Think about it. The Reds already had an in prime Hall of Fame caliber shortstop on their team in Barry Larkin. Jeter would have been the natural “heir-apparent,” but he struggled mightily in 1993 when he made 56 errors. Would the Reds been as patient as the Yankees? Larkin had some of the best years of his career in 1995 and 1996. They probably wouldn’t have promoted Jeter, and if they did, it might have been as a backup. Jeter might have been dealt before he ever made it to the big leagues.

We may be talking about a very good player today, but one that isn’t close to 3,000 hits. The Reds not picking Jeter was not only a stroke of luck for the Yankees, but equally so for The Captain.

Also remember that if Tony Fernandez doesn’t break his arm, Jeter never gets an opportunity to play in the big leagues in 1996. Who knows how that turns out?

Amazing the little things that change the course of history.

***

By the way, according to John Sterling, Jeter got his 5,000th hit yesterday. The Yankees have a lot of Hall of Fame things about their franchise, the television and radio booth is not one of them.

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Mike Silva has hosted sports shows on 107.1 FM Champions ESPN Radio Long Island ,1240 AM WGBB , Blog Talk Radio and live from Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant. He’s also built and maintained two popular social media hubs: New York Baseball Digest and Sports Media Watchdog. Mike has broken national and local stories, as well as been mentioned on the YES Network, SNY.tv, WFAN, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, NY Daily News, New York Magazine, Journal News and the NY Post. Contact Mike professionally at mikesilvamedia.com

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3 Responses to Yanks Need More From Jeter, Unfair Deal, What If, #5,000

  1. zman

    Wait until he gets a tax bill for the merchandise received! He sure doesn’t seem to have any cash.

  2. Barbara

    Derek, I have been a life long Yankee fan for 64 years and counting.
    You are a class act.

    If I were you, I would contact Christian Lopez and pay his off his college loans, or buy his family a house, or write a him a big check
    without all the publicity. You can surely afford it.

    Do not let big business Yankees and baseball take advantage of a kid who was trying to do the right thing for all the world to see.

    The news said that Cjristian got his ticket from his girlfriend. Boy, never let that girl go, she has the smarts. Girl, never let that boy go, he is a gem.

  3. Ralph C

    Are Sterling and Kay arrogant? Without a doubt they are. I actually enjoy Sterling to an extent but can’t tolerate Kay at all. On Vin Scully, I find him extremely overrated. He may be ok on the national level because his simple style leaves little room for biased commentary. However, I don’t like his work at all on the local level. I just find him boring and I’m sure most New York fans, if he worked here full time, would as well. Mets’ fans love Gary Cohen and he screams as much as anybody. He also comes across as arrogant because he refuses to have a partner thus sharing the glory.

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