Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Derek, Now A True Yankee

Isn't it a pity?

Jeter's agent, in trying to fight this battle through the press, has reminded those willing to write it down that there is a reason Jeter has been compared to Babe Ruth for his contributions to the Yankee organization.

Clearly, Mr. Close has forgotten how the Yankees treated the Bambino in the twilight of his career.

Nor does he remember the way they treated such icons as Phil Rizzuto, Roger Maris, or Reggie Jackson.

While it is absurd to insist Jeter played no part in the rise of the Evil Empire in the late 90s/early 00s, members of the press like Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal appear unwilling to admit that they allowed the hype machine to go into overdrive when promoting Jeter as the "face" of the franchise and now have to wonder why the Yankees, unlike much of the press during the last fifteen years, is paying attention to his abilities on the diamond and not his cologne line or who he's dating. As a Red Sox fan, much as I hate to admit it, those Yankee teams were great "teams," they won because the collective often played better than the sum of its parts. Derek Jeter was a part of that machine, he was not the straw that stirred the drink.

Lest anyone think this is historical revision, consider two sets of numbers. Let's argue that the five pennants in six years (1996 - 2001) are what led to the creation of YES. How many of those years was Jeter the best player on the team?

I'd argue one: 1999, when he was probably the 2nd best player in the AL (1st: Pedro Martinez).

Here are Jeter's numbers (BA/OBA/SLG/HR) for that period (1996 - 2001):


Excellent, though they are, how did Bernie Williams do during the dynasty:


And Williams actually deserved some of his gold gloves.

Does anyone remember the "classy" way they treated Williams on his way out the door?

Has the press forgotten that Bernie almost went to Boston, as the Yankees wanted to sign Albert Belle, after the 1998 season?

So when Ken Rosenthal wonders, "Why are the Yankees taking such a harsh stance" on Jeter and his absurd demands?

The answer is simple: Tradition.

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