Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Swan Song of Jeter Month: A Paean to The Greatest Man Who Ever Lived

I swear, sometime we're going to actually stop writing about Derek Jeter's retirement.  But there's just too much.  I don't write very much these days because I don't consume much crappy sports media these days, and I don't make the time to go search for bad sportswriting.  But when an event like Jeter's retirement comes along, it's just too easy to find.    I promise, we'll eventually stop Jeter Month™.
Here's The New York Times, ostensibly the nation's premier source of good journalism, presenting Doug Glanville's "The Book on Jeter".  Right, I know, Glanville probably just gets writing gigs because he was a player.  But  still: this is horrendous. It's a mixture of terrible writing, dramatic prose, awful cliches and a bald-faced lie.
Every major league player is deeded real estate in the book of baseball. 
Are we talking real estate or literature here, Doug?  Holy mixed metaphor!

Some may be granted only one word, others a paragraph. And then there is Derek Jeter, who is closing out, in a masterly way, one of the great chapters in baseball’s history.
Would anyone argue that Jeter is closing a chapter in baseball's history, or rather merely in his own? I'm sorry, folks, but Jeter is not a symbol of anything. Unless you want to make him a symbol of a Player Who Did Not Do Steroids, which as Larry B mentioned previously, was the sort of thing that only hundreds of other players could manage.
It is rare when you can craft both the beginning and end of your entry and also guide the pen in between. The serendipity that marks a life in the game can add pages of unforeseen horror (or romance) to your story. 
Swoon!  Oh, the horror, the romance, the drama!  Coming out next month in trade paperback, Doug Glanville's Fifty Shades of Derek Jeter.  Spoiler alert: there are no pictures.
The wayward hand of the larger forces in baseball can act like a toddler’s first dance with a crayon. Wantonly scribbling out previous work, recklessly writing outside the lines without control.
Toddlers dance with crayons?  Good lord, this is a terrible metaphor, made worse by terrible execution.  It's like a heaping dose of terrible garbage force-fed to a dancing, drawing toddler who spews the terrible garbage everywhere, even on the walls, and then the Times publishes it.

But a major league player has a magic pen, too.
What?  Is Jeter now Harry &#@*% Potter?
 In Jeter’s letter to the fans, he expressed a common player belief that this game was a dream, the domain of the supernatural and unexplainable, enduring against all odds. 
Look at Jeter, going all Puck on the audience here. Also, I can only imagine the game of baseball, with its billions and billions of revenue, feels pretty scrappy because it's enduring against all odds.
So you tap your dreams, and accept that every once in a while they will be interrupted by a trip to the disabled list or a subpar season. Yet Jeter lived the daily dream of being an exceptional player with an exceptional organization behind him, and he became one of the best of baseball's dream.
With an exceptionally huge market and an exceptionally huge amount of money behind him buying exceptionally awesome players to fit around him.
Jeter has built a career on grit and hustle, on an inside-out swing and a jump throw to first from deep in the hole. The ice water in his veins enabled him to expect victory in the most dire circumstances, and doubled as an antidote to the sometimes venomous scrutiny that comes with playing in New York.
Grit?  Hustle?  Inside-out swing?  Jump throw? ICE WATER IN HIS VEINS?  JETER BINGO!
[And I didn't even use the free The Flip square in the center]
Jeter has always been daring and fearless, 
By fielding a lot of ground balls and hitting a lot of opposite field singles?  Shit, I did that in high school.  
and it takes a lot of courage to pre-empt the inevitable physical decline of a professional baseball player and do what he did this week: declare a self-imposed deadline and submit, finally, to baseball’s history book. 
How courageous of Jeter.  What COURAGE.  It's the most COURAGEOUS letter that's ever appeared on Facebook.  Other players merely retire when they get old, but nobody does it with Jeter's COURAGE. 
This is ridiculous.  The only baseball players whose retirement MIGHT be considered courageous are Sandy Koufax, Ralph Kiner, and Kirby Puckett, and even then, those were Sort of Obvious That They Couldn't Keep Playing.
The game’s actuarial tables don’t generally put a 40-year-old shortstop in the starting lineup on Opening Day for any contender, so he already enters this season as an anomaly.
Doug Glanville is lying.  Jeter will actually be 39 when he's in the starting lineup on Opening Day.  But why care about the truth when you're trying to sanctify the holiest shortstop ever to play the Game? 
Yet no player can completely control the ending. Happenstance is one of baseball’s great gifts and curses. When you are playing 162 games in a season, nearly every single day, anything can happen.
Anything can happen is our only hope.  Maybe Jeter's ankle will completely disintegrate on Opening Day and we will be spared the Jeter Parade of 2014.
Jeter never gave up until he knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that it was over, and even then, he winked.
1. Never gave up.  BINGO.
2.What the hell?    He winked? Was Jeter trying to be coy?  Or did he have some of the good old grit in his eye?
 He is pragmatic and knows the risk of entering a season at this stage in his career without a plan: it’s an invitation to chaos. 
But he has a plan: waltz around the country, get lots of attention and gifts, help the Yankees to a first-round exit, and distribute gift baskets all along!  omg. Best.  Summer.  Ever.
There would be the inevitable questions about a slow bat or an unhealed ankle, the distractions and self-doubts that come with a slump at 40 versus a slump at 25.
In many ways, Jeter’s declaration not only provided parameters for himself, it spared his teammates and his manager. They will not have to explain his future struggles, they will not have to consider joining a conversation that suggests he think about retirement.
He spared them that! How noble! And then he courageously and generously and nobly invited them to 30 different Jeter Day parties.   I bet by the end of the season Brendan Ryan's face will be permanently distorted from 162 postgame interviews of fake smiling and he will just lose it if he has to tell one more reporter about the Honor of Backing Up Jeter.
Truth is, he does not know how this year will unfold. We can imagine the impossible — like a standing ovation in his honor at Fenway Park or a game-winning home run in Game 7 of the World Series — because all along he played for something bigger than rivalry and organizational pride. 
Oh god, what a nightmare. That's worse than my recurring nightmare about flunking out of graduate school, my wife leaving me and being sent to a gulag while my leprosy spreads over the just-healed gangrene. Please god by all that is good and ho do not let this happen.
Those priorities earn the respect of anyone who loves the game and cares about its future. Jeter transcended tried-and-true constructs, and it would be fitting if his transition from the game were transcendent.

But even though Jeter’s baseball legacy will be there for all time, the world changes, and how that legacy is interpreted will change with it. This is what is so hard. Even if we end on our terms, we still can’t know how we will be remembered.
That's not hard.  That's normal. In fact, I' m looking forward to seeing how history will look back on Jeter as an excellent Hall of Fame shortstop who did not transcend anything.  Nothing about this will be hard.
We hope there is something immutable about our effort. That we are somehow timeless and forever.
Good god, this overblown prose is worse than Rick Reilly.
 But we have to wait and see, and clarity still might not come in our lifetime. As Jeter stated in his letter to his fans, “Now it is time for a new chapter. I have new dreams and aspirations, and I want new challenges.”
Because playing baseball has become too challenging.
His greatest challenge may be those first steps without the pinstripes, without the packed stadium, without the opponent 60 feet 6 inches away.
A fifth of a billion dollars, the adulation of the biggest city in the country and worldwide fame might help him navigate that.
 It might arise while he’s sitting on the couch, opening up baseball’s history and seeing his entry complete, with nothing more to be added.
And saying, YEAH JEETS while pounding his chest.
And now for the dramatic ending, where Doug has saved the worst for last:
But the good news, as baseball turns to the next chapter, is that it’s a game that looks forward and backward equally, and something tells me that Derek Jeter will be that rarity who will find a way to travel through time and stand in both the past and in the future.
There it is, people! Doug Glanville thinks that Jeter will be able to travel through time.

That's it, folks.  I can't do any more Jeter Month.  Unless someone else takes up the torch, I'm done.  Next post will come sometime this week where I will discus how ESPN is digging up good old fashioned racism and decorating it with the facade of statistics!  Believe me, it's putrid.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

I would get more worked up about how fucking stupid this is

But Bono was ranked #8 on the same list, so obviously it's meant to be a joke.  Well played, Fortune/CNN.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Jeter Month: In Defense of Jeter

Because boy, does he need it from this guy.  "This guy" (cue up Jon Gruden) is just some no-name blogger.  So, full disclosure and confession from me: this is absolutely the lowest of low hanging fruit.  I know that.  I KNOW.  I feel 100x weirder about breaking this down than I did about breaking down the article from the Poughkeepsie Journal.  But man, this anonymous dude put just enough thought into this, and it's just insane enough, that I felt like covering it anyways when I uncovered it doing a Google search for insane Jeter articles on the other side of the spectrum.  I mean, come on, it's still Jeter Month and I'm getting sick of dumping on Jeter.  This is a borderline insane sports opinion masterpiece, like something Bill Plaschke might write.  Therefore I must treat it as such.  (Since it's by a non-journalist, I'll cut out criticism of grammar, vocabulary, sentence structure, etc.)

Derek Jeter: Hall of Famer?

Yes.  And possibly Pope.

Derek Jeter is one of the most prolific players in Major League Baseball. He's captain of one of the most prestigious teams in the game, the New York Yankees. However, does prestige alone justify a player’s eligibility into the Hall of Fame?

That is a great question, which can be answered by looking at the players in the Hall of Fame.  Since with very, very few exceptions (Veterans Committee guys, usually), the players in the HOF are all somewhere between "awesome" and "unbelievably amazing," I would say that the answer to your question is "No."

I would dare say that the majority of MLB fans would answer "yes" without batting an eye.

No they would not.  This is a horrible, ugly, disfigured straw man.  Please set it on fire.

I partially don't blame them. Hell, Jeter's nickname is "Mr. November" for crying out loud! 

That's not really a "prestige" label.  That's more of a "He happened to hit one really important home run during the World Series (a World Series during which that home run was his only RBI in seven games, and he hit .148/.179/.259 by the way, but hey, I'm supposed to be on his side during this post so I'll drop it) the same year that an unprecedented tragedy caused the World Series to be delayed for a few weeks so the home run came just after 12:01 AM on November 1." label.

When it comes to pressure situations, Jeter may very well be the first name that comes to mind. He is the very definition of clutch. 

It's been said a hundred times, but of course: Jeter regular season: .312/.381/.446.  Jeter postseason: .308/.374/.465.  Jeter 2 outs, RISP: .305/.404/.428.  Jeter "late and close:" .290/.382/.410.  It is not that Jeter is clutch.  It's that he's good all the time, and has had a shitload of chance to be good in the postseason because of the team he plays for, and then dipshits in the media have washed his balls and called him the greatest clutcher who ever clutched a clutch because he has been successful in the postseason at about the rate you'd expect him to be.  Fuckity fuck fuck fuck.

Furthermore, Jeter has 5 World Series championships (including a World Series MVP). Also, he is the winner of 4 golden glove awards and has a career batting average of over 300.

I will agree with all of that, even the reference to the GGs, since I'm trying to pump Jetes' tires here.

With all that said, I still question his legitimacy into the Hall of Fame. 


From my observation, many baseball fans believe he is a first ballot Hall of Famer due to his post season performances. I'm not blaming them. 

I sure am.  He's a first ballot HOFer because of his entire career, his whole body of work.  If he had his same postseason numbers but had hit .220/.290/.330 during the regular season with 1500 career hits, he would not be a HOFer.  And yes, I know, even if that were the case there would still be plenty of zilcheroos who would insist he belonged in the Hall.  But if Scott Brosius didn't make it past one ballot, I don't think imaginary "only good in the postseason" Jeter makes it either.

I think that's how most people do it. 

This man needs new friends.

But sometimes memories can be deceiving. 

Little does he know, he's totally right.  No really, little does he know.  I think this guy started following baseball from his hometown of Worcester MA about three weeks before writing this.

Sometimes fans, myself included, have a narrow view of something based on limited exposure. In Jeter's case, they may only remember a few great moments, and those moments alone may cloud their judgement. 

You don't say.

The following is a list of reasons why I believe Derek Jeter does not deserve to be in the Hall of Fame (if he were to retire today, the 2009 offseason):

He means the offseason after the 2009 season, when the Yankees won the WS.  At this point in his career, Jeter had about 2750 hits, 225 HR, a lifetime .317/.388/.459 slash line, and about 67 rWAR.  He was Barry Larkin (who got in on the 3rd ballot) with a worse glove, but a slightly better triple slash (and 400 more hits), and four additional RINGZZZZ.  He most likely would have been a first ballot guy if he had retired right then.  Whether that happened or not, he was a HOFer, unquestionably.

Top MLB Shortstops

1.) Derek is not the most dominating shortstop in his era.

Ah, this old chestnut.  Start filling out your bingo card.  "Must have been the absolute best at his position during his 'era' (however that's actually defined)" is right next to "Would you buy a ticket to see him play?"

In fact, Derek Jeter isn't even the best shortstop on his team! Alex Rodriguez is the best shortstop in the game, 

This is true.

and Jeter (the Captain) wouldn't even relinquish his throne to the better player. 

This is also true.  But Jeter only did this because he likes to win so much, and knew that his arm wouldn't really play at third, while A-Rod's would.  And they got a World Series out of the arrangement.  QED.

I can easily rattle off four more shortstops that are not only better at the position, but also have a more legitimate bid for the Hall of Fame during his era.

No you can't.

For example, someone who I think should be an automatic bid for the Hall is Omar Visquel. 

BUT WAS HE THE MOST DOMINANT SHORTSTOP IN THE GAME DURING HIS ERA?  Dear God, Omar Vizquel has 12,000 career PAs (17th all time, although Jeter is about to pass him) and 28 dWAR... and still only has 45 rWAR.  He's an interesting HOF case, but if you have 12,000 PAs and can't get to 3,000 hits, and you aren't Ozzie Smith (who was a much better hitter than Vizquel anyways)... I don't think you should go in.

He was an average hitter at the plate, but he's a dominant defensive shortstop. He has the second most glove glove awards with 11 (2 behind Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith). What's even more impressive is that he won it in both the American League and National League.

What's even more impressive is that he happened to play for teams in both leagues, unlike that bum Ozzie Smith!

Number three would have be Jimmy Rollins. 

Through 2009, Jimmy Rollins had 1600 hits, a career OPS+ of 98, and 35 rWAR.

He possesses all-star qualities in every aspect of the game from batting to fielding. 

I like that this guy's argument against Jeter is "Now you can't believe everything you see... you've got to THINK, sheeple!"  And then he's all over Rollins, who is maybe 2/3rds the player Jeter is.

He hits for power 

True, although not as well as Jeter does.

and contact, 

Not true.

steals bases, 

True, although Jeter does too, almost as well.

and hardly makes any defensive mistakes. 

He has a much better glove than Jeter.  Pretty much all shortstops do.  Unfortunately, Jeter is so much better with the bat that it doesn't matter.  Jimmy Rollins is a low OBP guy who in his prime, could hit home runs and steal bases at a slightly better rate than Jeter.  To be fair to this blogger, at the time this was written, Rollins was arguably still in his prime--he just finished his age 30 season on a down note, but was theoretically still capable of doing what he did in his mid 20s.  To be fair to Jeter, even in Rollins's prime (which ended after that 2009 season--he's been hurt/crappy ever since), Rollins wasn't a better overall player than Jeter.

He is a 3-time golden glove winner and holds yearly titles in stolen bases and the 2007 NL MVP award.

He won the stolen base title once, in 2002.  And Jeter's GGs are a hilarious joke, but if we're bringing up Rollins's, we should probably mention that Jeter had four as of this writing.  Also, that MVP vote was a fucking sham.  David Wright and Chase Utley wuz robbed.

Next is Miguel Tejada 

Tejada is like Rollins with more power, no SBs and a worse glove.  As of this writing his career was essentially over.  He was worse than Jeter in every way except defensively, where he wasn't anything special.

who also holds yearly titles in RBIs 

He did that once, in 2004.

and the 2002 AL MVP award. 

Another sham MVP, given to the much less deserving candidate because Oakland made the playoffs and Texas didn't and A-FRAUD is a cheater anyways.  Also, that was the year that Barry Zito won 23 games and the Cy with a 2.75 ERA.  Barry Zito used to be awesome!  I had forgotten about that during his long, slow descent into sub-mediocrity in San Francisco.  I am getting old.

Much like Rollins, his best asset is his work at the plate. 

Much like Jeter, who is way better at the plate than either of those clowns.

He can hit for both contact and power. He is a dominant force and is someone I would place ahead of Derek Jeter.


And last but not least is Alex Rodriguez. 

You already brought him up.

The name alone justifies his bid over Derek Jeter. 

What?  I hate Jeter but I think "Derek" is a pretty alright name.  It's better than "Alex" any day.

Not only is Rodriguez a better shortstop but he is arguably the best player in baseball. Although he is currently a 3rd baseman, many of Rodriguez's dominant years was as a shortstop with 2 golden gloves under his belt.

Again, Jeter had four as of this writing.  Just saying.

MLB Statistics

2.) Derek doesn't have the stats to back it up

Finally.  Let's get to some gritty statistical analysis.

If one looks at it from a statistical standpoint, Jeter does not measure up.

He can't hold Omaz Vizquel's jockstrap!

- Offensively, Jeter doesn't hold a single batting title. 

Same number of batting titles won by Rollins, Tejada and Vizquel combined.  A-ROID has one, way back in 1996.

In my heart of hearts, I think that matters. 

From earlier in this article: "Sometimes fans, myself included, have a narrow view of something based on limited exposure."  MIKE SCHMIDT AND EDDIE MATHEWS: WHERE ARE YOUR BATTING TITLES?  SHAME ON YOU.  LEAVE COOPERSTOWN IMMEDIATELY.  BABE RUTH AND WILLIE MAYS, YOU GET OFF WITH A WARNING SINCE YOU ONLY WON ONE EACH.

For instance, he doesn't possess a single season MVP title. 

And this brings me so much glee.  But it means absolutely fuck-all.  EDDIE MATHEWS, WITH 96 CAREER RWAR, YOU AGAIN.  YOU WORTHLESS SHITFUCK.  MEL OTT, YOU TOO!

Although many look at him as a power hitter, 

No.  Maybe during the 1910s they would have.

at least from a shortstop standpoint, 

Not even then, no.

he has never hit over 25 homeruns in one season (only 3 seasons with over 20 homeruns). Also, he only has one season with 100 RBIs or more.

Those bastards at the bottom of the Yankee lineup are to blame for this.  He should have made Joe Torre bat him 4th.  That would have changed everything.

- On the defensive side of things, Jeter is mediocre at best. Sure he has made some spectacular plays that we all have etched in our minds, but he's really inconsistent. He's never really had a wide range, so on average, he's not going to stop anything past routine grounders. Plus, even when Jeter does manage to get to the ball, he commits a lot of erros. In total, Jeter has 213 errors in 15 years (an average of 14.2 errors per year.). To put that in perspective, Omar Visquel (as mentioned above, 11-time gold glove winner) has a total of 183 errors in 21 years (an average of 8.7 errors per year.)

No argument.  My pro-Jeter stance has limits.

Or even better, let’s take the average shortstop, someone like Adam Everett. 

Adam Everett was an insanely good defensive shortstop.  He was nuts.  He had to be, to get to play in almost 900 career games with an OPS+ of 66.

He’s solid and has been a starter for the Detroit Tigers for 9 years. He is your everyday player, but by no means a household name and hardly a Hall of Fame candidate. He has committed 84 errors in his career, averaging 12 errors per season.

And the argument just ends right there.  Jeter averages 2.2 more errors per year than Adam Everett.  Hall of Fame: ACCESS DENIED.

New York Yankees

3) Derek is a Yankee!

Is he ever!  I like the exclamation mark, like this is a feature in Us Weekly or something.

That’s right folks, whether anyone wants to admit it, Jeter gets special treatment because he is a New York Yankee. If Jeter began his career for any other team, nobody would pay him much attention.

Yeah, with his 2750 hits, 225 HRs and 300 SBs while playing a premium defensive position (poorly, but stil), I agree.  If he were a Royal or a Padre, he'd have been forgotten about.

Derek would be the equivalent of a Yunel Escobar, the Atlanta Braves current shortstop (meaning good but definitely not Hall of Fame material.). 

Through 2009, Escobar was a career .301/.375/.429 hitter.  Pretty good.  But not nearly as good as my boy JEETS.

The Yankees are a major enterprise. They are, by far, the most recognizable American sports franchise. Since Derek is their proclaimed captain, he receives more attention that may not have been warranted.

Yup.  And he still would have been a Hall of Famer if he retired in December 2009.

Now, I’m not saying that Derek Jeter isn't a good player. In fact, my opinion of him is far from that. He's really good. He hits in the clutch and helps the Yankees win ball games. He does the right things and says the right things. He is a good role model for children all across the United States and is loved by millions. Of course, I know that none of this matters. I can him praise, but most of you will just glance over this part. But the fact of the matter is, I think he's good and very popular.

That's an A+ paragraph.  My ears are smoking as my mind tries to process how this guy can agree with all of that, and still think Jeter is a non-HOFer who doesn't hold a candle to Miguel Tejada.  It's glorious.  It's one of the best cases of double wrongism I've ever seen.  It's like a Bears fan writing an article about how overrated and mediocre Aaron Rodgers is, while also expressing the opinion that Rodgers is absolutely hilarious in those insurance commercials.

However, the Hall of Fame isn’t about popularity or at least it shouldn't be. The Hall of Fame is not about clutch hitters during the month of November. And it isn’t about average shortstops that commit 13-15 errors during their golden glove season.

That is correct.  The Hall of Fame is about the collective waste of skin that is the BBWAA, and their quest to make sure everyone knows how righteous and good the BBWAA is.

The Hall of Fame is about the best of the best. Who cares if he gets 3,000 hits over an extended period of time? So? Good for him. 

And fuck Hank Aaron and the 23 seasons it took him to hit all those home runs.  So?  Good for him.

It's a great achievement, but I don't think it's an automatic bid to the Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame should be about being a dominant player at your position during an extended period of time. 

Like Omar Vizquel.

To me, batting titles should take precedence over longevity.


Also, the number of world series rings you have on your fingers shouldn't matter. Winning the World Series is a team effort. Did Derek Jeter help Yankees win those championships? Sure he did. But he wasn't the sole reason why the Yankees won. This isn't basketball. The Yankees won because they had a great team, every single time.

This whole article should just be this paragraph cut and pasted over and over.

Again, the Hall of Fame is about being the best over the course of many seasons (not just postseason and 15 years of racking up singles). In my humble opinion, Derek Jeter simply doesn’t demonstrate these qualities.

I am ashamed for having picked on this.  I hope whoever wrote it never finds this blog.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Jeter Month Continues

Well, it's still Jeter month, and the spectre of the Jeter love that will be spilling all over baseball this season is enough to make fans of the actual game of baseball somewhat ill. This one comes from Anthony Castrovince, an reporter. I know, I know, is just a mouthpiece for happy puff pieces, but this one takes the cake.

Jeter stays stoic in face of impending farewell tour

Gag. The headline makes it seem like he's facing chemotherapy or something, instead of a season of thousands of people kissing his high butt.

We don't really know Derek Jeter.

I can only imagine that some poor parent had to deal with that problem as some impressionable ten-year old who stumbled across the New York Post.

"Hey mom, why does Derek Jeter give away autographed baseballs to those ladies?" '

"I don't know, son, we don't really know Derek Jeter".

We know his feats and his impressive lack of public foibles. We know all about the World Series rings, the stats that will make him a first-ballot Hall of Famer and the moments that will make up whatever highlight reel serves as the standard.

Is Jeter's lack of public foibles all that impressive? I know he has played under close scrutiny in New York over all these years, so maybe it is. Then again, maybe after being on several World Series winning teams as a young player gave him the status in the city to have his foibles conveniently left out of the press.

We know that nobody who has played with or against him has even a harmlessly unflattering word to say about him. We know he's got a huge waterfront home down here with an annual real estate tax bill likely larger than your total mortgage, and, yes, we know he's dated or otherwise befriended some gorgeous girls over the course of two decades on the big league stage.
"Mom, what does or otherwise befriended mean?"

"I don't know, son, we really don't know Derek Jeter"

Even in an era of unfathomable finances and TMZ and 24/7, well, everything, 

&*&% the heck? What are unfathomable finances? Is Mr. Castrovince really so flummoxed by the state of the world in 2014 that he calls it an era of 24/7, everything? You'd think a man paid to write words could look a little harder for them.

he's been one guy you can feel pretty good about your kids adoring and emulating. That's legacy enough.

There are plenty of other players who you can feel pretty good about. In fact, I'd venture to say there are more players you can feel pretty good about your kids adoring and emulating than ones you feel bad about. It's just that the bad ones get notice. I bet on most MLB teams, 23 or 24 of the guys you can feel pretty good about. There are a dozen Sean Caseys for every Milton Bradley.

But we don't really know the man, and that certainly wasn't going to change Wednesday morning, in a big room full of reporters and cameras and teammates and 27 minutes' worth of questions and something resembling answers.

Good job linking the specific details to your thesis, Anthony!

"I still have a season to play," Jeter told us

Even that phrase -- "press conference" -- was not to be embraced.

Why the passive voice here? Who is doing this not-embracing?

"Media availability" was the preferred terminology, because that's something Jeter is annually accustomed to on the position-player report date, and no Facebook retirement announcement was going to change that.
Sounds like a good old fashioned euphemism to me. It would sound arrogant of Jeter to go to a press conference to talk about himself, so instead he went to a place where he would be available to the media to talk about himself. I don't mean to criticize Jeter here. I'm sure he has to do it. But it sure smells of spin.

And so they poked and prodded him with queries about any emotions that might be bubbling beneath the surface here on the eve of his final season in pinstripes. But nobody honestly or realistically expected the curtain to suddenly be pulled back and the inner "Bachelor" contestant -- the tears, the fears, the sneers -- to be revealed.

No, but that would've been awesome.

"I have feelings," Jeter said, believably. "I'm not emotionally stunted. There's feelings there. I just think I've been pretty good at trying to hide my emotions over the years."

"I have feelings," Jeter said, believably. Ostensibly Mr. Castrovince is an actual paid sportswriter who gets paid actual money to write about how Jeter talked so believably about an utterly banal statement true of every single human being ever except maybe Jeffrey Dahmer and even he probably had feelings they were just really messed up feelings.

An understatement if ever there was one, and that's probably what makes Jeter's particular exit strategy so surprising.

Here's where this article is about to go off the rails: Castrovince's utter naivete / hero worship is going to shoot through the roof. Hold on to your hats, people.

"I was shocked he was doing it on Facebook," teammate Ichiro Suzuki said through an interpreter.

Well, sure, that's part of the intrigue. Who knew Jeter had a Facebook page, for one? It's not like he's going to use the medium to show us vacation photos or share his "feeling" status, with accompanying emoticons.

But we know Jeter has feelings. He said so, believably. Can you believe Jeter doesn't post a Facebook status about his emotions? Of course he doesn't/ His Facebook page is almost exclusively about his charity work. It has tons of pictures of the smiling children that are benefitting from his millions. I'm sure, like most players, he doesn't write a word of it. It's just a way to polish his image.

But what's most shocking of all, perhaps, is that Jeter is willingly subjecting himself to the Mariano Rivera-like farewell tour and all the attention, glad-handing, marketing ("Captain's Final Voyage" seems to be the working title), and, yes, the gifts it's sure to contain.
How torturous! Can you believe Jeter is willingly subjecting himself to more praise and Corvettes? The media crap is already out there preparing for the tour. It's just shocking that Jeter would do this. Shocking.

All Jeter has ever wanted is a career free of undue distractions from his annual goal of winning a World Series,

Well, he's sure going to be spending a lot of 2014 dealing with the undue distraction of every team giving him a Rolex or something and celebrating him for playing a lot of baseball games. Obviously Jeter's retirement announcement (or speculation about it, if he didn't announce it), no matter how he handled it, would have caused some distraction, but it hardly seems like the method he chose was anywhere close to minimizing the distraction.

and that's why he was so adamant at controlling the tone and tenor of this -- ahem -- media availability. The reason he used Facebook as his parting platform, he said, was to have his message heeded in full and his charitable foundation highlighted, two worthy goals.

His letter only included one word about the charity foundation, but the letter was spread out over tons of pages of Jeter helping kids and stuff.

But there will be so many elements of this endeavor that are sure to be out of Jeter's scope of comfort,

I like how the opening statement We don't really know Jeter has been abandoned here, since we know for sure that all this attention is just going to make old Derek uncomfortable, since he really is a small-town boy who doesn't like any kind of attention at all.

because, as you might have noticed, we tend to like to overdo things here in the land of the free and the home of the Super Bowl.
I submit this encomium as evidence.

"I can't comment yet [on what the farewell tour will be like]," said Jeter, "because I don't know what that means. I don't know what's going to happen. I really don't know."

Astonishing of Jeter to not know about what's going to happen on the farewell tour as he was announcing his retirement. But that's not a big deal. No doubt Mr. Castrovince had to include a certain number of quotations from Jeter himself in this article, and he probably only had blandness to choose from. But get yourself ready for some really miserable buttkissing:

We should thank him, then, for the opportunity to say thank you and providing the heads-up that 2014 would be an awfully good time to come to the yard and see No. 2, if you haven't already.

I'm just going to highlight that bit:

We should thank him, then, for the opportunity to say thank you
We should thank him, then, for the opportunity to say thank you
We should thank him, then, for the opportunity to say thank you

Listen people, you can start thanking Jeter now for being so kind as to subject us to a season full of Jeter's last Tuesday-afternoon appearance in the Rogers Centre on deck circle updates. Otherwise what would we talk about? Actual baseball?

Reading that paragraph made me feel like I was witnessing a middle-school team statistician kissing the butt of the star of the team.

And it's not like anyone who hasn't already come out to watch the Yankees is going to be telling their children, "I almost missed it, but I'm sure glad I got to see a kind of over the hill Jeter play!" If they haven't come to see the Yankees in the last 20 years, I don't see the point in coming out to watch Jeter now that he's far past his prime.

Now for some writing that isn't so much overly sentimental but is just poorly executed:

For the Yankees, though, it's a situation that is not without its potential pitfalls. The prevailing pleasantry about Jeter's adieu

Holy alliteration! Holy synonyms!

has been that he's "going out on his terms," but that's a little on the presumptive side. His physical condition will dictate the terms, and that condition is a constant concern for the rare animal that is the 40-year-old shortstop.

Animal? I suppose it is a stock phrase, but is there any reason to think of Jeter like a zoo specimen?

There will be days when Joe Girardi rests him for the betterment of the bottom line,
Doesn't that phrase usually refer to money? I'm confused.

and some kid in the stands who has never seen Jeter in action will be robbed of that pleasure.

An allusion to DiMaggio's famous comment about playing hard for that kid? Only Joe D retired at 36, and actually retired on his terms.

Backup shortstop Brendan Ryan has said he's already preparing to "embrace the boos" that will come with his job.

I wonder what Brendan Ryan is doing to prepare himself to embrace the boos. Does he ask his family and friends to practice booing him, then setting a steely face? Does he watch old videos of him striking out or making errors? Does he keep a picture of the high school crush who turned him down for a date in his locker?

"[Jeter] has always made my job difficult when you want to give him a day off," Girardi said. "I remember him always yelling at Mr. [Joe] Torre when he wanted to take him out of games and [asking] how was he ever going to break Cal's [Ripken] record if Torre kept pulling him out of games. We want him in the lineup as much as possible. But we also have to make sure he's productive."

I'm not going to argue with this too much. Jeter will most likely end up playing the second most games at shortstop in MLB history. But this article suggests that Jeter's attitude was a lot less grindy than Girardi claims here. And of course Jeter should've stopped playing shortstop in 2004 anyways. But he did play a lot of games and that's no mean feat.

It says here that Jeter has been blessed with too charmed a life to run out of good mojo now.

@#$% the heck again? What "here" is Castrovince referring to? Is he holding an imaginary conversation with a midget in his head?

Maybe his career won't end with another World Series trophy in hand, because there are far too many variables at play.


But all any of us can reasonably hope is that the final ride is free of physical potholes.
I don't know. I wouldn't go so far as to wish misfortune on Jeter, but if he hurt himself tomorrow and was out all season and never played another game, I wouldn't feel too bad for him.

He's earned at least that and probably much more.


Jeter has also, whether he wants to embrace it or not, earned all the applause and adulation and alms and awards sure to come his way over the next seven-plus months.

No he hasn't. He hasn't even earned all of the applause and adulation that sportswriters gave him in the first seven days after his announcement.

At some point, there will be a farewell speech, there will be a final tip of the cap, there might even be a few tears from the otherwise stoic shortstop.

How stoic.

For now, though, all we know is that Jeter will soon venture into a life after baseball centered on his foundation's work and his hope of starting a family (no, we don't know with whom). And we know, most importantly, that he still has one more season in him, which is why, on a dais reserved for him and him alone, and on a day assumed to serve as celebration of all that was and all he is, Jeter paused mid-availability, pointed to his teammates assembled on one side of the room and said this:

Seven commas in one sentence: generally not a good idea if you're trying for any semblance of clarity.

"If these guys got to go to work, go work."

That doesn't make any sense.

We don't really know Jeter. But we do know that's what's most important to him

Gift baskets for one night stands, only playing one position at the expense of his team, and being celebrated and applauded on every road trip this season?

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Local sports journalism is the worst

Making fun of regional or local sports media members isn't something I like to do.  But when it's Jeter Month here at FJayM, we throw out all the rules.  (Note, there is still one rule: no outside food please.)

I'm sure not many people (relative to the population of the United States) read the Poughkeepsie Journal every day, but if you had read it last month, you would have found this gem.  The question is: Jeter?  And the answer, as explained to us by some jackass named Dan who writes for the Poughkeepsie Journal, is: Jeter.

This is a plea to the Baseball Writers’ Association of America to bend the rules. It’s been done before, so do it again.

He's begging you: please give Jeter the Rookie of the Year again in 2014.  Wouldn't it be a perfect way to send him off?

Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera deserve to be inducted together into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2019.

You seem to think deserve means "Would be kind of neat since they played together for so long."  I tend to lean more towards "Has earned whatever the honor in question is, based on merit."  But really, think of it this way: if both get inducted at the same time, WILL THERE BE ENOUGH HOTEL ROOMS AVAILABLE IN COOPERSTOWN THAT WEEKEND?

It’s the right thing to do. 

Yankees fans are the worst people in America.

Jeter and Rivera came up through the New York Yankees organization together, won five World Series titles together with class on and off the field, 

There it is!  If you had "Third paragraph" in your "When will the author bring up the classy classiness of two guys who made millions playing baseball without murdering anyone?" pool, go collect your winnings.

and belong together on the stage in Cooperstown delivering their induction speeches on the same July day in 2019.

Look, if anything, why don't the writers just decline to vote for Rivera in 2019, delaying him a year so Jeter and him can go in together in 2020?  Better yet, why not just follow the rules that are in place and stop washing Jeter's balls?  I know I'm overusing that, I don't care.  I like the way it reads.

Yes, this will require bending the rules because a player must be out of the game for five years before being on the Hall of Fame ballot. Jeter and Rivera are deservedly both first-ballot Hall of Famers, but are slated to enter the hall one year apart if chosen on their respective first ballot.

So why not bend the rules? It’s been done before and for Yankee greats. Lou Gehrig — the only player on a special ballot — was elected in a special vote at the 1939 Winter Meetings because it was uncertain how much longer Gehrig would live with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis — now also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

Wait, does Jeter have a terminal illness?  Is that the reason we should bend the rules for him?  Wow, I hadn't heard that.  Poor guy.

Joe DiMaggio was excluded when the five-year rule was introduced in 1954 because he was close to the 75 percent needed for election. He was elected in 1955 despite retiring in 1951.

Wait, is the HOF on the verge of changing the eligibility rules to only requiring four years after retirement, but not until after the 2015 season?  If so, I agree, it's OK to bend the rules for Jeets and let him take advantage of that a season early.

Like Jeter and Rivera, Gehrig and DiMaggio are two all-time Yankee and baseball greats. 

I like how he leaves Clemente out of his analysis.  "Sure, I'll bring up Gehrig, even though his situation has nothing to do with my case for Jeter.  And Clemente's situation was just like Gehrig's.  But why bring up Clemente?  Was he classy?  Only won two championships.  I think that answers that question."

DiMaggio hit in 56 consecutive games, played on nine World Series championship teams and was considered among the best defensive outfielders. Gehrig played in 2,130 consecutive games, won the 1934 Triple Crown and played on six World Series championship teams.

Those guys were awesome.  They were both considerably better than Jeter.  Also, they both got into the Hall earlier than the rulebook says they should have for reasons that were unrelated to "Has another HOF teammate who retired a year earlier, and wouldn't it be kind of neat if they were elected simultaneously?"

Like Gehrig and DiMaggio, Jeter and Rivera had their moments as they became a part of the Yankee lore. Remember Game 7 of the 2003 American League Championship Series, when Rivera’s emotions got the best of him on the mound after throwing three shutout innings and watching Aaron Boone’s game-winning home run against the Red Sox?

Look, I can't say my favorite team has ever "won" a "World" "Series," but I'll talk some trash anyways.  First of all, no, I don't remember Rivera getting emotional in that moment.  I remember Aaron Boone hitting the home run and then everyone going apeshit.  Second of all, remember the 2003 World Series, when the winningest winners of all time failed to win against a team with 1/3rd the payroll?  Not much class exhibited there.  That Josh Beckett, though--he was classy back then.

The next season, Jeter dove full speed into the stands to catch a pop up against the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium. 

Who gives a flying cunt?  Did he deliver a baby while he was in there?  Did he give a kid a full college scholarship?  Jesus fuck, he made an out in a regular season game on a play that most other shortstops would also make.  Holy fucking shit.

And who can forget “the flip” in the 2001 American League Division Series against the Athletics, where Jeter came out of nowhere to grab a throw from outfielder Shane Spencer and flip it to catcher Jorge Posada, who put the tag on Jeremy Giambi in a 1-0 Game 3 triumph? 

Yeah, who CAN forget, given the way tiresome Yankee fans bring it up every five minutes like Jeter was nailed to a cross and rose three days later?

The Yankees went on to win the next two games to claim the best-of-five series.

And went on to not win the World Series.  Look, I'm not saying they didn't also win several other World Series with Jeter and Rivera.  But facts are facts.  I'm hatin' here.  Don't try to stop me.

Here are some of Jeter’s and Rivera’s numbers:

Jeter is the only player to collect 3,000 hits in a Yankee uniform, sports a .312 career batting average and can finish his career among the top-5 players all-time in hits with 201 hits this season. In the postseason, the longest-tenured captain in Yankee history is a .308 lifetime hitter.

Rivera is Major League Baseball’s all-time saves leader with 652, has the lowest career all-time earned run average (2.21) for pitchers throwing at least 1,000 innings in the live-ball era and was one of the top fielding pitchers of the modern era. In the postseason, he ranks first all time with a 0.70 earned average and 42 saves.

Here are their numbers: Jeter's are good, slightly above average for a Hall of Fame middle infielder.  Rivera's are dominant, although he only participated in 80 or 90 innings per season.  So shouldn't we change the rules for these guys?  WHO SAYS NO?

Jeter and Rivera only wore the Yankee uniform in the era of free agency and were never mentioned in conversations of using performance enhancement drugs.

Again, congratulations to both of them for succeeding where literally dozens of MLB players have failed.

Rivera was deserving of the attention on his farewell tour in 2013 and the same can be said for Jeter in 2014. They are great role models and ambassadors for Major League Baseball.

They are not role models.  They are not heroes.  They do not ooze class from their pores.  The 2001 flip play did not turn Jeter into Mother Teresa.  These guys played baseball and were awesome at it.  Now they will be honored with baseball's greatest recognition of career achievement.  I know it might cause the Earth to fly off its axis and directly into the sun if they are forced to do it 365ish days apart due to preexisting rules that have only been broken in extremely exceptional circumstances, but that's a risk I think we'll have to take.  Breathe deeply.  We'll get through this.

They’re definite first-ballot hall of famers, but baseball and the writers should do this duo justice by inducting them together into the Baseball Hall of Fame Class of 2019.

I hate this man and I hate Derek Jeter and I hate all of you.  Good night.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

This Jeter post goes out to all the STATS NERDS and HATERS out there

Hey!  I'm both!  Now let me warn you up front: use caution, everyone.  These takes are piping hot.  Salon's Allen Barra (who has also covered sports for the Atlantic and the Wall Street Journal; Greggggggggg approves) is here to drop some knowledge about the same topic covered in my last post: unanimity, and how stats nerds and haters need to get on board with the whole "Jeter deserves it" thing.

Shut up, stats nerds and haters: You’re wrong about Derek Jeter

Trollolololololololololololol.  Gotta hand it to him--if you want angry clicks, you need a good catchy headline.  And I know that most writers don't craft their own, but this one is so delightful that I'd suspect it was penned by Barra.  And if it wasn't, this post is dedicated to the editor who did write it, because that headline fucking rules.

Inflated steroids-era numbers might not show it, but the Yankees shortshop deserves to be a unanimous Hall of Famer

1) If you want to make the case that Jeter is the mostest bestest player evar, maybe don't call attention to the offense-friendly era that he played in.  Or if you do, make it clear that you think his numbers should be considered that much more impressive because of it, not that it is somehow dragging his numbers down.
2) I like that we're getting right to the good stuff up front: Jeter should be a unanimous HOFer, but not because of his numbers.  No no no.  Because of leadership.  And winning.  And of course, class.  Classy class class class.  Fuck class.  Identifying athletes other than those with Roberto Clemente-like track records of being a good person as "classy" is stupider than debating a player's level of "eliteness."  (Note: I don't think Barra uses the word "class" anywhere in this article.  But you fucking well know he's thinking it.)

To my knowledge, what the Baseball Hall of Fame did yesterday was unique: It tweeted the date for an induction ceremony for a still active player to be welcomed into Cooperstown. 

How long has the HOF had a Twitter account?  It's really not that interesting or impressive.  And I know I'm being nit picky and semanticy, so as to the more generic point that the HOF probably has very rarely announced the induction date for an active player via any medium, there are two obvious responses: 1) this is just another outcome of the attention-seeking behavior exhibited by the kind of player who announces his retirement before his final season starts, and 2) the cult of Jeter ballwashers creates outcomes like this, not the other way around.  If the baseball media world weren't full of 60 year old men who write Jeter at least two or three love letters per year, the HOF would not feel compelled to do this.

The date, if you want to make your reservations now, 

I do, so I can show up and boo him.

is July 26, 2020. (A player must be retired for five years before he goes on the ballot.) And if I were you, I wouldn’t wait.

"Hello, is this the Best Western in Cooperstown?  Yes, I'd like to make a reservation for July 26, 2020.  What?  Oh, OK.  I'll call back in late 2019 then.  Sorry for wasting your time."

Not only will Derek Jeter be a first ballot selection, he may well be what Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson, Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Bob Feller, Jackie Robinson, Willie Mays and Hank Aaron weren’t – a unanimous choice. 

"May well" is about as correctly used in that sentence as it is in this one: "The United States government may well have carried out the 9/11 attacks."

If that happens, and I think there’s a very good chance that it will, 

I'm not sure whether to think of this as total delusion, or a clever sales pitch for something he knows is really really unlikely to happen, but slightly more likely if he can build some momentum for it.  The former is more fun, the latter is more pathetic.

it’s bound to stir up even more resentment toward Jeter than we’re seeing in the blizzard of stories that have already appeared since he announced Wednesday that 2014 would be his last year.

Either Barra reads this blog, or he's making a hilarious attempt to manufacture resentment towards this generation's most sportswriter-beloved athlete.  If any baseball writer did anything other than wash Jeter's balls in the aftermath of his announcement, I sure didn't see it.

If one had to synthesize most of the recent Jeter coverage under one headline, it would be: Is Derek Jeter a True Hall of Famer or Is He Overrated?

No, it would not.  It simply would not.  That discussion, which only takes place as an Around the Horn-ish lashback because of fucktards like Allen Barra who won't stop telling us about how Jeter cured polio and smallpox and invented the wheel, has made up about 2% of the Jeter discussion at any given point during the last ten years.  The other 98% has been garbage like this article.

Let’s deal with the first question. There isn’t any doubt that he is going to get into the Hall of Fame. Only nine players in the history of baseball have more hits than Jeter. He’s a 13-time All-Star with five World Series rings. And he’s tremendously popular. 


If you put down a deposit on a hotel room in Cooperstown for July 2020, it’s good as gold.

Why are you still talking about hotel rooms?

Those who have cast doubts about his HOF worthiness have always stressed the lack of bold numbers on his statistics page on

Ah, those who have cast doubts on the HOF worthiness of one of the most obvious HOFers of the past ten years.  All of those people.  Who you always read about in the, uh, well, usually they make their opinions known in, uh... yeah, they're out there.  They are definitely out there.

What a fantastic straw man this is.  How dare all these multitudes of people say Jeter isn't an HOFer!  What are they, blind?

In other words, he never led the league in many offensive categories. This is true. He only led the league in runs scored in 1998 and in hits in 1999 and 2012, and HOFers have usually topped the list in more stats than that.

See, this is where you bring up the steroid era, if you're desperately trying to pump Jeter's tires.  Somehow he misses the opportunity.

He was never quite a match for the top superstars of his era. Or as Ted Berg put it in USA Today (in a piece titled “Derek Jeter is the most fervently overrated shoo-in for the Hall of Fame”), “In terms of overall value to his teams, Jeter just doesn’t stack up to recent historic greats like Albert Pujols and Barry Bonds, and can’t quite match great contemporaries like Chipper Jones and Jeff Bagwell either.”

As to Bonds, Pujols and Jones, he is right.  As to Bagwell he is stretching it.  Also, here is the very first sentence of Berg's piece:

"Derek Jeter is a bona fide, first-ballot Hall of Famer."

So, yeah.  The guy that Barra has cast as excessively critical of Jeter happens to hold the same opinion that I do: Jeter goes in on the first ballot, and should.  Funny that.  It's almost like people who take shots at Jeter don't think Jeter sucks.  They're just sick of the Barras of the world and are trying to introduce a little reason and objectivity to the discussion.  How dare they.

This is also true, but not to the point. Jeter is a greater player than a Yankee shortstop of the 1940s and early 1950s, Phil Rizzuto, who is in the Hall of Fame. 

Rizzuto was elected by the Veterans Committee almost forty years after he retired.  He is also one of the worst players in the HOF.  If he played for literally any team other than the Yankees, he would have been forgotten about decades ago (putting aside his name's appearance in "Billy Madison").

Nobody said Rizzuto should not be inducted because “He doesn’t quite stack up with Ted Williams and Stan Musial.” 

No, but hopefully, when he was up for election by the writers, they said he should not be inducted because "He doesn't have the counting stats, doesn't have the rate stats, and frankly just wasn't all that great at baseball."

Like Rizzuto, Jeter is a shortstop, and shortstops (and second basemen and catchers) aren’t expected to put up the same numbers as slugging outfielders or first basemen because their position is so much more difficult to play.

Jeter's offensive numbers are the whole reason he's going in.  He's such a better hitter than Rizzuto was that it's hard to describe the gap between them without hyperbole.  Rizzuto had an OPS+ over 100 just three times in his career.  Jeter's has only been under 100 three times.  Even if Rizzuto hadn't missed three seasons serving in World War II, he probably would have just barely cleared 2000 hits.  Saying "Rizzuto deserves to be in because shortstops aren't held to the same offensive standards as other players" is missing the point by ten thousand miles.

For that matter, of the 23 shortstops in the Hall of Fame, Jeter is probably more worthy than all but three or four – Honus Wagner, for sure, probably Arky Vaughan, maybe Cal Ripken and Ernie Banks (who is officially listed as a first baseman, though he won back-to-back MVPs at shortstop).

Ripken and Banks are much better players than Jeter.  Robin Yount belongs on the "probably" list if we're going to count guys like Banks who spent ~50% of their career at SS, as do Luke Appling and Ozzie Smith.  Alan Trammel is about equally worthy as Jeter, but forgot to play for the Yankees, so he may never even make the HOF.

Not that Jeter was great at shortstop. 

He suuuuure wasn't.

I don’t trust any of the supposedly scientific measures of fielding ability, 

That is wise, defensive metrics are pretty suspect, but let's see if you can show any basic knowledge of what makes a good baseball player in explaining whatever it is you're about to explain.

but here are two that surely have some measure of validity: Jeter’s career fielding percentage, 

Your grade for knowledge of what makes a good baseball player came in.  F-minus.

going into the 2014 season, is .976, compared to the average for players at this position over the same period has been .972. 

Savvy move by Jeter to let all those hundreds of grounders that a non-shitty SS would have fielded and perhaps then made an error on trickle past his sort of outstretched glove over the years.

His range in the field has been four chances per nine innings while other shortstops over the same span averaged 4.5. 

That's a good metric, but you sadly haven't processed how colossal that gap is.  First note: that's all other shortstops, not HOF-worth shortstops.  Ripken's RF/9 was 4.7.  The Brewers moved Yount off of SS as he entered his 30s, but while he was there his RF/9 was 5.1.  Banks was at 5.0.  Ozzie Smith's was 5.2 (yes, he's the greatest defensive SS of all time so not the most fair comparison, but I'm going for context here geez lighten up).  Second note: let's see, a difference between Jeter and an average shortstop of 0.5 chances per 9 means roughly one per two games or roughly... let's see here... fucking EIGHTYISH per season.  That's horrendous.  The average SS during the mid 90s through today makes somewhere between 70 and 80 (depending on games played) more outs per year than Jeter.  That's a huge deal.  What conclusion can we draw from that horrible number and his mediocre fielding percentage (while ignoring that fielding percentage is a nearly worthless stat).

I’d say that on the whole this indicates that Jeter was an average fielding shortstop, 

/Price is Right loser horn

perhaps a tad below average. 

He's a ghastly shortstop.  Has been pretty much his entire career.  Has no range.  Has a mediocre arm.  Good thing he kept his spot at the most important defensive position on the field when the Yankees traded for Fish Fillet-Rod (4.62 RF/9 as a SS, .977 fielding percentage).  That's leadership.

But he hit and ran the bases well enough for the Yankees to keep him there 

In spite of themselves, because they knew he'd throw a shit fit if they asked him to move to LF or somewhere else where he wouldn't hurt his team so much.

regardless of his defensive deficiencies.

Yeah, potato, poh-tah-toe.

In any event, he isn’t going into the Hall of Fame because of his fielding – he’s going in because of his hitting and base running.

Truest sentence in this whole article.  I couldn't agree more.  Unfortunately, his excellent offense and very bad defense combine to make him just a regular great player, not a "This guy deserves an honor that Ruth, Aaron, etc. didn't get" player.

Let’s save time and compare Jeter to a hitter who everyone acknowledges as a legitimate Hall of Famer – or at least they would if Pete Rose hadn’t tarted betting on baseball games.

This should be good.

Jeter’s career batting average is .312 to Rose’s .303, and even if Derek played another five seasons to match Pete’s 24 years, and his skills declined over that time as Rose’s did late in his career, Jeter would still end up with a higher batting average.

You know what, I'd like to give you the benefit of the doubt on that because the next few things you're about to say are so much dumber, but I'm not even sure if that's true.  Jeter's high batting average has always been bolstered by his ability to rack up infield hits.  I'm not saying that pejoratively, like "HAW HAW HE SUX CAN'T EVEN HIT BALL OUT OF INFIELD," I'm just stating it as a fact.  And it's a fact that matters, because if he played five more seasons, he wouldn't just lose batspeed.  He'd lose a lot of foot speed.  If he played five more seasons, I could see him perhaps getting to 4000 hits, if he stayed perfectly healthy, but I could also see his batting average dropping at least ten points during that time.  And losing ten points even if you're a player who doesn't rely on infield hits isn't that hard to do.  Frank Thomas lost seven points off his career average in his last five seasons.  Barry Larkin lost five.  Craig Biggio (who I'm using because holy smokes, he'd better get elected next year) lost seven.  And those guys were playing in their late 30s, not their early 40s.  But enough of this sort of dumb stuff.  Let's get to the REALLY dumb stuff.

Jeter has a higher on-base percentage than Rose, .381 to .375, 

Adjusted for park and era, Rose was better.

and had a considerably better slugging percentage, .446 to .409.

Adjusted for park and era, Jeter was just a little better.  Rose has the overall OPS+ advantage, 118 to 117.

When you combine these two numbers into the stat beloved by so many analysts, 

In 1998.

on-base plus slugging, Jeter has an even bigger edge, .828 to .784.

Repeat my point from above.

He has been a better power hitter than Rose with 256 home runs, 90 more than the Hit King, in around 3,600 fewer at-bats. And Derek is a far better base runner and stealer, 348 of 448 bases for a success rate of nearly 79 percent, while Pete was a base-stealing liability with 189 steals in 347 attempts for just 54.5 percent. And, if you want to throw in fielding, whatever shortcomings Jeter has had with a glove, he was better than Rose, who was never more than adequate at any of the several positions he played.

This is all idiotic for oh so many reasons, but let's throw Gamblin' Pete a bone here: early in his career, he was a better 2B than Jeter is a SS.  And he actually got pretty good in the outfield for a brief period in his early 30s.  He played 30,000 innings and racked up -14 dWAR, but had the disadvantage of switching positions several times during his career; Jeter has played 22,000 at the same position and has racked up -9 dWAR.  It's basically a push, unless you want to give negative points for players who have undeserved Gold Gloves, in which case Rose collects more negative points than Jeter.  But whatever.

But has Jeter been overrated by fans and an adoring press? 

Best non-rhetorical rhetorical question ever.

If you check my Wikipedia page – and I’m not advising you to since just about everything on it is wrong – you’ll find reference to a Deadspin story back in 2009 titled “Jesus Is the Derek Jeter of Christianity.” The author (unnamed) says that I “think Derek Jeter should win the MVP despite the pesky fact that Joe Mauer is a better candidate …”

Here's the Deadspin piece, written by one of those other FJM guys (who was unnamed then, but I believe has since revealed himself--notice Barra's not too subtle dig at this UNNAMED internet cretin trying to point out that Barra knows exactly jack shit about baseball).  Barra's argument basically comes down to "Well, Mauer has played better this year, but Jeter is Jeter winning leadership calm eyes."

Five years after the fact is probably a little late to say this, but lighten up, Deadspin. I never said Joe Mauer was a better MVP candidate than Jeter. 

Actually you sort of did, and if you didn't, you should have.

What I said was that most of Mauer’s statistics 

All of Mauer's statistics other than R and SB, and certainly all of the statistics that mean the most; specifically OBP and SLG.

were better and that “the case for Mr. Jeter” – the Wall Street Journal makes you refer to men who are living as “Mr.” – “as American League MVP is made by more subjective arguments.”

This is what I referred to way back at the beginning of the post.  Here it comes.  CLASS (or other words that mean class).

Come on, are you going to tell me that Derek Jeter wasn’t a great teammate and that he didn’t contribute to his team in ways that don’t necessarily show up in a box score? Except maybe in the “win” category?


After all, the Yankees did win the American League pennant and the World Series that year.

With Jeter starting at every position and even pitching to himself, like Bugs Bunny!

And really, why would Jeter need special arguments to be an MVP in a year when he hit .334 with 18 home runs, 212 hits, 107 runs scored, 30 stolen bases and an OBA of .406?

Because Mauer's numbers were significantly better in all (well, both) of those statistics that are actually very meaningful?

Have some of us overrated him a bit? A bit, maybe, 

Don't admit it!  It's a slippery slope from here to asking if he belongs in the HOF at all!  Allen, nooooo!

but we’ll happily bear that cross. See you in Cooperstown in 2020.

But I don't have a hotel room!  Can I sleep on the floor of yours?

This is a repeat of what happened in that last article I posted about.  So I'll post the awesome comment left there by an Anonymous: "I'll admit it. When I started reading that article, I thought there was no way Jeter deserved a unanimous vote. But he convinced me. Jeter does deserve to be a first ballot HOFer."  That's pretty fucking good.

If you know Allen Barra, do me a favor and let him know he's a fucking idiot. 

Monday, March 3, 2014


First thing's first--if you've never been to this blog before, and arrived recently for the first time because someone linked you to it along with a note to the effect of "Look at what this angry stupid guy has to say!" please don't bother leaving your dumb comment. Just close this tab and kindly fuck off. Thanks.

With that out of the way, let's get back to Jeter, who surely is not only the greatest athlete of all time, but indeed, the greatest person. Jeter Jeter? Jeter Jeter Jeter. Jeter Jeter calm eyes clutch hustle gift baskets.  Should he be elected to the HOF unanimously? SI's Sam Border (in a column from 2011, right around when he picked up his 3,000th hit) makes a very compelling case that he should, and further, that Jeter should also be the next President and Vice President of the United States of America.

At first blush, it seems unlikely that there could ever been a total agreement on anything in baseball. Arguing has forever been part of the game. It is everywhere: You see the infield in, I see pinched at the corners.

Which is it? It can only be one of those. This is not a good example of an argument in which people who are well-versed in the subject matter can reasonably disagree.

You see a curve, I see a slider.

Again, those are two different things, so if two people are arguing about it, one of them is wrong.

You see the hot dog man, I see cotton candy.

And now you're not even trying.

When it comes to the Hall of Fame, which is currently voted on by people ranging from tenured baseball writers to members of various committees,

From those people, to morality-policing assholes who only shape their preferences based on the direction the wind is blowing, to guys who write for golf magazines and haven't covered baseball in a decade, to idiot know-nothing basement-dwelling bloggers like Murray Chass.

the divergence of opinion becomes even more magnified.

No it doesn't. This is high school level writing. "My thesis is that people disagree about the Hall of Fame. Because it's my thesis and I want to make it sound poignant, in fact I'm pretty sure they disagree more about the Hall of Fame than any people have ever disagreed about anything ever."

Generally, this is a group that can't agree on anything: Sandy Koufax only got 87 percent of the votes when he was elected in 1972.

Although it's idiotic that anyone wouldn't vote for him, at least there's a plausible reason for it with the way his career ended so prematurely.

Mickey Mantle got 88 percent.

And in contrast, that's just fucking stupid.

Even Babe Ruth -- only the greatest hitter ever -- had five percent of the voters say he wasn't a Hall of Famer.

Ah, the original asshole voters, the ones who make it ok for today's assholes to practice their assholism.

Tom Seaver, who missed unanimous election by just five votes, got 98.84 percent in 1992 and remains the closest to perfection.

Seaver was amazing, of course, but to top the percentage received by guys like Aaron and Ruth, he must have been a real asskisser when sportswriters were around. "Yes, Mr. Pearlman, I agree that athletes are horrible people. You are absolutely right. Would you like another autograph?"

In other words, unanimity isn't the Hall electorate's strong point and it is very likely there will never be a player to get 100 percent of the votes. In fact, in looking at the current baseball landscape, I would propose that there is only one player in the foreseeable future who even has a chance at accomplishing such a feat.

Sure, but Mike Trout is only 22. He won't be eligible for about 25 years if baseball fans are lucky.

One player who might bridge the gap between stat-geeks and the crusty old lifers.

True, he's got the gaudy WAR totals, he's got the traditional stats, he's got the hustle/grit.  Pretty prescient of you to know how good he would be back in 2011, before he even made his MLB debut.

One player who everyone -- regardless of their individual views on the game -- sees as worthy.

Whoa, easy! Dial it back at least until Trout is 30.

You've probably heard of him.

Frank Stallone?

His name is Derek Jeter.


Now, Jeter is a great player. (Watch out! This dumb petty angry blogger is about to say nice things about the player he's been tearing down for the past week!) If I had an HOF vote I'd happily cast it for Jeter on the first ballot. And I'm the first person to point out what a bunch of fucktards HOF voters are. But look, let's face facts. Not even the mystical dreamy eyed flip play good face True Yankee powers of Derek Jeter are going to stop some overprincipled cuntface from casting a blank ballot in 2019 because there are CHEATING CHEATERZ up for election. And there will be some non-cuntface voters who decide to be contrarian and also not vote for him, because fuck it they have a vote and the unwashed masses don't, and they don't feel like voting for him. What are you going to do? It is what it is.  And sorry I'm not sorry, but Jeter just isn't dreamy enough to me to make me hope he manages to cure the collective idiocy of the voters.

Or, at least I hope this is the case. If Jeter actually does get elected unanimously, overcoming the barriers I just described, I'm going to shit myself. God, how insufferable would that be? I'd have to stop following baseball for a year. Disaster. It can't happen. It won't happen.

/Larry B hyperventilates

In the third season of The West Wing (which, frankly, should get 100 percent of the votes when it's eligible for the Greatest Series Ever Hall of Fame),


Aaron Sorkin sucks balls. Your taste is as bad as your baseball analytical abilities.

there is a scene in the episode "The Two Bartlets" where

Paragraph deleted. I do not give a fuck. Keep your West Wing fanboyism to yourself please. (The gist was that some people are popular with all kinds of voters, from sophisticated to unsophisticated. Same thing he already said above.)

Jeter is the same.

You know who else was the same? Rickey Henderson. Tony Gwynn. Mike Schmidt. None of those guys were unanimous. I don't know how many starlets they fucked, or how many 306 foot opposite field pop fly home runs that would have been outs in 29 of the 30 stadiums in the league those guys happened to hit in big moments, but Jeter is not more worthy of unanimity than they were.

The demographics of the Hall of Fame voters are obviously difficult to pin down, but there are some generalizations that can be made. To get 100 percent of the votes, a player would need to appeal to everyone:

Top notch analysis.

Those who value traditional statistics and those who look at more modern metrics;

Those who prefer the latter to the former see Jeets for what he is: an awesome player, a first ballot HOFer, but a guy who also is pretty hilariously overrated by those who prefer the former to the latter.

those who care about winning and those who want gaudy personal totals;

People who care more about the former demand to know why Scott Brosius hasn't been enshrined yet.

those who look for dignity and representing the game well and those who simply use their "gut" to tell them if a player is worthy.

These people are also known as fucktards.

Want advanced stats? Jeter's career WAR is 70.2, which is 55th all-time among position players. Roberto Alomar, who got 90 percent of the 539 votes cast this year and will be inducted in Cooperstown on Sunday, is below him at 63.5. So is another shortstop in Barry Larkin (68.9), as well as Tony Gwynn (68.4), Jackie Robinson (63.2),Yogi Berra (61.9) and roughly three-quarters of the rest of the players already in the Hall.

Jeter's WAR total is in the top quartile of all HOFers. Therefore: voters should get together and agree to induct him unanimously when no one has previously been so inducted. Makes sense. If we can't tongue Jeter's asshole one last time before he fades into history, why have a Hall of Fame at all?

Prefer more traditional markers? Jeter has already passed 3,000 career hits, a long-time benchmark for position players.

Yes. This is one of the reasons he is definitely a Hall of Famer. It is also not a reason to treat his election differently than Stan Musial's, Ted Williams's, etc.

Consider, too, that Cal Ripken is currently the position player toreceived the greatest percentage of votes (98.53 percent in 2007) and Jeter has him beat -- handily -- in most critical rate statistics.  Jeter's .312 career average is 36 points higher than Ripken's. His .383 on-base percentage is 43 points higher. His .831 OPS is 43 points higher.

First of all, great job double-counting OBP and OPS.  Hmmm.  I wonder how their career SLGs stack up?

Second of all, "critical rate statistics." Interesting. Why are they so critical?  Why isn't the fact that Ripken had almost 200 more HR than Dreamy Eyes McGee in only 800 additional PAs critical?  Anyways, when you adjust for park and era, Jeter's offensive edge over Ripken is not as striking (career OPS+es of 117 and 112, respectively). But how about the "critical" counting stat of WAR (rWAR in this case, because fuck Fangraphs), where Ripken has a 95ish to 70ish edge? Jeter actually has an edge in oWAR, but it is more than made up for by Ripken's enormous dWAR edge (35ish to -10ish). Turns out baseball is about more than just hitting, and Jeter has been a joke on defense for about 14 seasons. Ripken never recorded a negative dWAR in his career. Jeter has only recorded a positive dWAR three times, and two of those were during the 90s. It's fucking bonkers how good Ripken was. Jeter is a first ballot HOFer, but Ripken is one of the 50 or so best players ever. Jeter can't make that claim, no matter how clurtch he is/was.

Ripken, of course, is crediting with "saving baseball" after the disaster of the 1994 strike and there is value in that.

Typo is (sic).  Anyways, what? If that even is a topic people discuss, I'm pretty sure McGwire and Sosa receive that credit, as they probably should.

Public perception is certainly a factor for some voters -- does this player "matter?" -- and Ripken did. But as much as anyone ever has, Jeter has mattered, too.


He has been the face of the game's most famous franchise 


and, in many ways, the entire league, 


for nearly his entire career: After 9/11.  


Can't we all just agree that without Jeter, we never would have gotten over it?

When Team USA competed in the World Baseball Classic for the first time. 

First of all, I like the WBC just fine, but let's face facts: no one really gives a shit about it.  Second of all, in the 2006 WBC, against teams not named South Africa (which the US beat 17-0), Jeter was six for seventeen with one walk and two errors.  We didn't get out of the second round, finishing 8th, behind basically every single other nation on earth that cares about baseball.  So yeah.  Not sure "Member of 2006 USA WBC team" is a really strong line on his resume.

When Yankee Stadium was closed down. 

I like the implication that this was an important moment for MLB rather than just the Yankees.

When George Steinbrenner died.


He has been popular. 


He has been dignified. 

How?  How?  Fucking how?  This is more idiotic Jeter ballwashing with virtually no substance.  Yes, he has never been legal trouble or linked to steroids during his career.  Congratulations Derek, you've reached the lofty dignified heights achieved by 90% of all MLB players.  What else has he done?  Is he known for any special charity efforts, above and beyond what any other star player does?  I've fucking had it with hearing about how when a guy plays for the Yankees and doesn't live like a shithead, somehow he's the epitome of class.  Fuck that.  Ken Griffey Jr. is virtually identical to Jeter in the "he wasn't a shithead" department.  Griffey's one mildly unclassy act was the way he more or less forced the Mariners to trade him to Cincinnati, ruining their leverage; the Jeter equivalent is the way he refused to switch to 3B for ARod.  Both guys, other than those mild missteps, were/are decent human beings.  So why is one of them just remembered as the guy who hit all those home runs without steroids, and the other is Christ come back to earth?  It's fucking disgusting.  I'm sick of it, and if you disagree with me on this point, you are a bad person.

He has been reliable and trustworthy for fans, never letting them down with even a hint of a connection to gambling or crime or the use of PEDs.

LOLZ @ the idea that he deserves a pat on the back for not being linked to gambling.  What decade is this, the 1920s?  Other than Rose, has a single active high (or even medium) profile player been linked to gambling since World War II?  If one has I sure as hell can't think of him right now.  [Late breaking update: Chris W, because he is a jealous hater who wants to dump on my blogging at every possible turn, points out that Denny McClain fits this criterion.  Fair enough.  So that's two prominent players since WWII.  Someone throw Jeter a parade for not being either of them.]

No one would say that Jeter is the best player ever or even, necessarily, of his generation. 

Oh, I don't think you'd have to look too far to find quite a few people who think both of those things.

But that is not the issue here. The question is whether he is someone everyone, regardless of how they rate a player's career, could see the name "Derek Jeter" and immediately think "Hall of Fame."

Greg Maddux didn't get 100% of the vote.  He's on the short list of nominees for best pitcher in baseball history.  He hit every traditional statistical milestone, and was adored by "fancy stats" people.  He was regarded as a good teammate.  He has a ring.  There is no way to not think "Hall of Fame" when you see "Greg Maddux."  Of course I think it's moronic to say "Well Maddux didn't get 100% of the vote, so Jeter shouldn't either."  But saying "Jeter has 3000 hits and 70 WAR, so can't we all agree that he should go in unanimously?" is equally moronic.

The question is whether Jeter is good for all time zones.

It's tough for anyone to stack up to an all time legend like Greg Maddux.  So how about we compare Jeter to Wade Boggs?  3000 hits, played for two of baseball's marquee franchises and won a ring with one of them, was great with the glove, and has a much higher WAR total than Jeter.  Sounds like a sure fire "Hall of Fame" guy to me.  Now I'll grant that Boggs had some personal failings that Maddux, Griffey, Jeter, etc. appear not to have.  But he wasn't ever connected to steroids, crime or (lol) gambling.  Other than the fact that he drank too much and allegedly had some problems with teammates, how was he not good enough "for all time zones" to be unanimously elected?  "But Jeter Jeter Jeter!" is about as far as any of these ballwashers can go, and it makes me sad for them.  This and so many other articles reads like a teen girl's diary entry about a member of a boy band.  It's fucking pathetic.  Full stop.

If you look at the active players ahead of Jeter on the all-time list of position players in terms of WAR, there may be an inclination to wonder why Jeter -- and not, say, Albert Pujols -- would have the best chance at becoming the first 100 percenter. It's a reasonable question.

It sure is!

Here are the players ahead of Jeter:

1. Alex Rodriguez

2. Albert Pujols

3. Chipper Jones

4. Jim Thome

Let's not ignore other guys who at the time of this writing were retired but not yet eligible or currently on the ballot but not yet elected: Frank Thomas (ahead of Jeter in rWAR, behind in fWAR, but like I said fuck Fangraphs), Larry Walker (same) Jeff Bagwell (UH OH HE HAD MUSCLES BETTER NOT ELECT HIM), Palmeiro (OK I can see why he's not getting elected) and Griffey.  Not to mention Lou Whittaker.  Sorry Lou--maybe if you had been more dignified and classy, you wouldn't have been booted off the ballot so quickly!

Taken in reverse order, Thome (while an incredible hitter) will inevitably be docked by some for not playing a field position for much of his career. He never really had a chance.

And maybe Jeter should be docked by some for being a bad defender and not having Thome's 600+ home runs.  At least Thome wasn't actively hurting his team while the other team was batting.

Jones, who statistically is one of the most underrated players of all time (his 141 OPS+ is third among third basemen in history) will nevertheless suffer among the intangible-heavy voters, who may hold back because they don't think of him as a "winner." 

These people are idiots who should have their HOF votes taken away, and then be sealed inside a cave somewhere in Nepal.

It also hurts Jones that he played his entire career in Atlanta, which -- while certainly not Kansas City -- doesn't have the spotlight of other cities.

This is the closest he will come to admitting that "Jeter deserves more credit because THE BIG APPLE QED."

Pujols, too, will be knocked for a lack of winning, though he has time to change that.

He has since won his second World Series, getting on base at almost a .500 clip and hitting five home runs in 80 PAs that postseason.  On the other hand, he has also since started hitting like dogshit, fueling speculation (from me) that he's older than he says he is, and will continue to decline rapidly.  He's still almost certainly going to top 100 WAR though, putting him in the top 30 or so all time.  600 HR isn't out of the question and 3000 hits is a possibility.  He could retire today and have had a better career than Jeter.  But I agree, because Jeter happened to play on a really awesome Yankees team during the late 90s that won four WSes, and Pujols did not, that's definitely a reason that Jeter is the better player.

Ultimately, the question with Pujols will be about his popularity. Even now, in his prime, Pujols ranks sixth in terms of jersey sales, below players like Jeter (No. 1), Joe Mauer (No. 2) and Chase Utley (No. 4), and even if continues to produce the way he has, his (relatively) lower profile will likely be what keeps him from challenging the 100 percent mark.

You're a fucking diptard.  At the time this was written Pujols had a pretty good shot at hitting 700+ home runs.  He had an outside shot at 763 (finished 2011 with 445--was supposedly about to enter his age 32 season, meaning if he could do something like 35-35-35-30-30-30-25-25-25 he'd be at Ruth's mark entering his age 41 season.  I mean if ifs and buts were candy and nuts and all that, but still.  Saying in 2011 "If Pujols can continue to hit like he has (i.e., like one of the top ten hitters ever), I suppose he might be as good a nominee for unanimous HOF election as Jeter, but he doesn't sell as many jersies, so...." is just agonizingly stupid.

As for A-Rod, the issue is moot. His admission to using PEDs during his career means the question is less about whether he'll get in unanimously and more about whether he'll get in at all.

Very true, and much more true in 2014 than it was in 2011, but can we also just agree that A-FRAUD's real sin was dragging Jeter down throughout the former's whole career as a Yankee and limiting New York to just one WS win during that time?  Honestly, Derek deserves the Congressional Medal of Honor for overcoming A-ROID's .365/.500/.808 line during the 2009 postseason and carrying the team to a championship.  (To Jeter's credit, he hit like a maniac that postseason too: .344/.432/.563.)

Jeter does not have that issue. He is clean. 

$2,000 from Larry B to the Red Cross for a positive test anytime before the end of this season.  Can you imagine the hilarious articles writers like this guy would frantically bang out in Jeter's defense?  "If he's guilty of anything, it's wanting to win too much."

He is beloved. 

You don't say.

He has won five championships. 

And yet, just one without Tino Martinez.  Who was carrying who on those late 90s Yankees teams?  Food for thought.

He has been a 12-time All-Star. He has the numbers, regardless of which numbers you happen to think are important.

Rickey Henderson: did not have the numbers, or something.

I know that baseball has forever been a game of friendly disagreement but Derek Jeter is a first ballot Hall of Famer.

Correct.  Unfortunately that's a different (and much less stupid) point than the one you've been trying to make throughout this dumb article.

Surely there's at least a chance we could all agree on that?

I have no problem with that.  Now shut up and go away.

Teaser for my next Jeter post: the title of it (not making this up) contains the words: "Shut up, stats nerds and haters."  It's gonna be gooooood.