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  Articles > MLB > Yankees
 Public Shaming for A-Rod

Alex Rodriguez © by Keith Allison

“Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, Get out of my sport!”

If Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig cares about salvaging any bit of his league’s already scarce integrity, that must be the message sent to Alex Rodriguez after hearing of Miami News Times’s Tuesday report.

The report claims that Anthony Bosch was the orchestrator of a Miami-based performance enhancing drug syndicate that supplied HGH to some of the biggest names in sports. The list is chock-full of MLB all stars including San Francisco Giants Outfielder Melky Cabrera, Texas Rangers slugger Nelson Cruz, Oakland A’s Heavyweight pitcher Bartolo Colon, third runner up in the National League Cy Young race Gio Gonzales and the aforementioned Yankee third basemen Alex Rodriguez.

Alex Rodriguez is no stranger to controversy regarding his dishonest plunge into the world of PED’s. Just four years ago, a despondent Alex Rodriguez was performing a teary eyed apology for his Yankee teammates about his illegal steroid use during the 2001 to the 2003 seasons. Rodriguez adamantly stated that his years in New York were clean and that his syringe-filled days as a Texas Ranger were behind him. The latest allegations would completely invalidate Rodriguez’s previous admission and once and for all seal him as nothing but A-Fraud.

Major League Baseball has only one option in dealing with Rodrguez’s repeat offenses.

Despite being a baseball purist, “three strikes and your out” is not a valid course of action when a person is found to have cheated America’s pastime.

Back in 2009, Commissioner Bud Selig stated that the damage done to Rodriguez’s image and legacy was punishment enough for steroid use earlier in the decade. The absence of finite disciplinary protocol during that time allowed Rodriguez to receive no consequences for any of his transgressions.

Alex Rodriguez must be made an example of by the commissioner. His current contract ought to be completely voided. Does Rodriguez deserve the 114 million dollars remaining after getting caught in another set of lies?

Absolutely, not.

This would set a precedent from a league that has consistently lagged behind in policing it’s own sport. Instead of letting such an ordeal make its way to the steps of Congress(on the tab of the American Tax Payer), Selig can deal some swift and hard justice by instituting a strict ban for players who repeatedly break Major League Baseball’s drug policy.

 Somewhere, Jeffrey Maier is Smiling

16 years ago, 12-year-old baseball fan Jeffrey Maier made a catch that would change the history of baseball.  Maier reached over the Yankee Stadium right field wall to snag a ball hit by Derek Jeter that was ruled a home run.  The home run tied the game in the bottom of the 8th and the Yankees would go on to win the game in 11 innings to take a 1-0 series lead in the 1996 ALCS against the Orioles.

16 years later, the Yankees will take on the Orioles in the ALDS  as the surprising Orioles look to get revenge.  Who would have predicted this matchup to actually happen in 2012?  The Orioles pitching staff consists of Jason Hammel, Wei-Yin Chen, Miguel Gonzalez, Chris Tillman, and Joe Saunders.  That is the projected rotation to face the daunting task of getting the Yankees lineup out.  Their lineup doesn’t consist of names that jump out on you.

Buck Showalter’s team has been a remarkable story this season shocking the world with their 93 wins.  A rotation full of no-names and a rag tag lineup have put together a season that not a soul could have predicted.  The Orioles defeated the Rangers in a one game playoff to advance to the ALDS.  Baltimore gets a chance to send the team home that beat them out for an AL East title.

The Yankees send their ace, C.C. Sabathia out for game one in Baltimore to face Jason Hammel.  40-year-old Andy Pettitte will pitch game two followed by Hiroki Kuroda starting game three and Phil Hughes taking the mound for game four.  There is no question that the Yankees rotation and lineup are far superior to Baltimore’s on paper, but can the Orioles miraculous story continue?

Nobody has taken the Baltimore Orioles as a serious contender, but now they have their chance against the 27-time World Champion New York Yankees.  16 years ago, the Yankees started their World Series title run as they would win four out of five times from 1996-2000.  This October, the Yankees look to end the incredible underdog story of the Baltimore Orioles.

Somewhere, 28-year-old Jeffrey Maier is smiling Sunday as the Orioles and Yankees battle in game one at Camden Yards.

 Yankees Should Avoid C.J. Wilson
  Going after Rangers ace would be a mistake

Photo by Mike LaChance

C.J. Wilson and his agent, Bob Garber are seeking $120 million over six years. While Wilson had a great regular season with a 16-7 record, a 2.94 ERA, and a WHIP of 1.19, he showed his true colors during the playoffs. Wilson was 0-3 with a 5.71 ERA and a 1.71 WHIP during the playoffs.

When you look at pitchers who make over $20 million annually such as Cliff Lee, C.C. Sabathia, Roy Halladay, and Johan Santana, it’s hard to put C.J Wilson in that class of elite pitchers. Wilson has only pitched two full seasons as a starter and I’m not convinced that he can match his 2010 and 2011 numbers elsewhere.

The Yankees pitching staff had no problems getting the job done this season, especially in the playoffs. They were fourth in the American League during the regular season posting a 3.73 ERA and first in the MLB with a 3.27 ERA during the playoffs. If I told you at the beginning of the year that the pitching was going to be the Yankees strongest link, you would have laughed in my face.  If there was an award for the “biggest surprise of the year,” Ivan Nova would have taken it hands down. Freddy Garcia exceeded all expectations, Bartolo Colon resurrected from the dead, and C.C. was, well, C.C.

A.J. Burnett is the glaring weakness of the staff and it remains to be seen what Brian Cashman and the Yankees do with him. If the Yankees part-ways with Burnett, there are several pitchers in the free agent market that they could go after for a cheaper price than C.J. Wilson. Two proven starters that would make sense for the Yankees are Roy Oswalt and Mark Buehrle.

If Wilson does cash-in this offseason with a $120 million dollar deal, he will be overpaid by whoever signs him. For the Yankees, they are fortunate enough to have money to ‘overpay’ players, but C.J. Wilson is not worth it.

 Yanks Must Re-sign Garcia and Go After Buehrle

Photo by Keith Allison

Heading into last year’s spring training the Yankees appeared wounded. New York failed to land their top target Cliff Lee and their rival, the Boston Red Sox, landed two premier offensive players in Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford. Brian Cashman was left bargain hunting to add depth to his starting rotation and plucked Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon off the market. Both starters combined for 20 wins and helped New York capture the AL East division crown.

This year the Yankees find themselves in a similar situation. The rotation is anchored by C.C. Sabathia, along with the emerging Ivan Nova , former 18-game winner Phil Hughes and the enigmatic A.J. Burnett. With Hughes and Burnett question marks due to health and inconsistency, and a spot open at the back of the rotation- there’s a need to add depth. The current free agent market doesn’t bode well for the Yankees. C.J. Wilson is the best pitcher on the market, but wants to be paid like an ace without a proven track record. Yu Darvish is the latest Japanese phenom to draw interest in the U.S. Yet, questions surround the small workload Darvish had in Japan since he pitched only once a week and due to the recent failures of Kei Igawa and Daisuke Matsuzaka. Roy Oswalt has a lot of mileage on his right arm and was hurt much of last year with the Phillies. As for Colon, he was injured and ineffective the past four years before his comeback performance with the Yankees. Towards the stretch run Colon appeared fatigued and became ineffective. At 38, his career appears at its twilight stage.

That leaves Garcia and Mark Buehrle as the best remaining options. Buehrle has been a model of consistency for the past eleven years in the White Sox rotation averaging 14 wins per season and nearly 221 innings pitched. Buehrle has also thrown a perfect game and no-hitter in that span. Garcia won twelve games for New York last year and posted a 3.62 ERA, his lowest in eight years. Both provide a different look as soft tossing pitchers that rely on location and movement to get hitters out. New York would benefit from their consistency and veteran presence in the rotation for a run at title number 28 in the Bronx.

 Put It On The Left Side?

Photo by Chris Ptacek

When exactly did Michael Kay decide he needed to come up with his own signature line to “perform” during Yankee broadcasts? Did he feel the need to be more like his old radio counterpart John Sterling- whose self serving style is tough to stomach for many, including myself.

“Put it on the left side!” Kay now exclaims at the conclusion of Yankees victories.

What?

Could Kay have come up with a more contrived phrase? Suddenly, after nearly 20 years of calling Yankee games- this is what he comes up with? It is downright embarassing to hear him utter this ridiculous phrase. To say it sounds forced would be an understatement. I wonder exactly how long he spent trying to come up with such a statement.

Has there ever been a time in Yankees history that it has been more nauseating to listen to a Yankee broadcast? Now more than ever I appreciate the broadcasts Frank Messer, Bill White and Phil Rizzuto put together for so many years. At least Rizzuto’s rants were genuine. There was nothing contrived about their broadcasts.

Kay has been in the business a long time. While I am not a fan of his- even he should be above this manufactured catchphrase. Please Michael Kay, say “See Ya!” to “Put it on the left side!”

 Yankee Rotation Needs Resolution Now

Last night, the Yankees road to the postseason may have gotten a bit easier as they enjoyed yet another solid start from rookie Ivan Nova, but manager Joe Girardi’s job may have become more difficult. The pitching rotation, which currently consists of six men, has been the topic of nonstop debate while the Yanks have opened a wide lead on the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and Tampa Bay Rays in the Wild Card race. CC Sabathia is the undisputed ace and a Cy Young candidate, while Freddy Garcia (10-7, 3.16 ERA) and Bartolo Colon (8-6, 3.33 ERA) have earned their spots in the postseason rotation with eye-opening career reclamation projects in the Bronx. The 4 through 6 spots on the staff, however, are a mess. $82.5 million man A.J. Burnett, who entered the season as the 2 starter on paper, has been a disaster after a promising first couple months, and now owns a 4.60 ERA and a losing record. Phil Hughes has battled injuries and ineffectiveness while trying to regain his 2010 form which yielded 18 victories, and has a very shaky spot in the rotation after throwing only 38 uninspiring innings thus far to the tune of a 7.11 ERA.

Finally, there is Ivan Nova. The least recognizable name of the bunch just may be the most essential part of the equation in October – if the Yankees realize what they have and decide to keep him around. Nova was unjustly sent to the minor leagues for over a month despite showing some impressive signs in the first half of the season. With his current 11-4 record and 3.85 ERA, one cannot help but wonder whether he could have had a Rookie of the Year-type campaign if he was allowed to pitch an entire year in the majors. Before his six-plus innings of work last night in a 9-3 win over the Angels, Girardi indicated that he has earned his spot in the rotation for the time being. What the manager left unanswered, however, was at whose expense Nova would be staying. In the midst of a tight race with Boston for home field advantage in the American League, the Yankees can simultaneously relax somewhat with the knowledge that their Wild Card lead is very comfortable.

Girardi and GM Brian Cashman can begin to plan for the postseason, which means that if there is a pitcher among their current six starters who is not a part of their playoff plans, they are wasting everyone’s time if they continue to trot that hurler out once a week. In my opinion, A.J. Burnett stands no chance to make the ALDS roster, and his status for the ALCS and World Series is doubtful, as well. His salary should not factor into this equation, just as Jorge Posada’s salary does not matter to the Yanks anymore, and players such as Jason Giambi, Kei Igawa, Javier Vazquez and Kevin Brown did not hold the organization hostage in the past simply because they were well-compensated. If the 2, 3, and 4 spots in the rotation are up for grabs, then Colon, Garcia, Nova and Hughes should spend the next 47 games auditioning, and Burnett should be shut down. Colon and Garcia have postseason experience and have shown steadiness and consistency this year, while Nova has a young, live arm which playoff hitters will be unfamiliar with, giving all three starters an edge over Burnett.  Hughes has been shuffled between the rotation, the bullpen and the minors for far too long, and the Yanks owe him a chance at some type of normalcy if they want him to reach his potential and avoid being “ruined” like Joba Chamberlain may have been.  That leaves Burnett, the 6 starter and the odd man out.  Place him on the DL with some mysterious ailment or relegate him to long relief, just find a way to stop halting everyone else’s progress by extending the rotation by one distracting piece of dead weight. And make the decision today.

 Where’s Mark Teixeira?

Photo by Keith Allison

Does the name Mark Teixeira ring a bell? He plays first base for the New York Yankees. You may not have heard his name much lately because… well, I’m not sure actually.

There is a lot of talk about the red hot Brett Gardner who found himself in the lead-off spot in the lineup Thursday night against the Rays. Curtis Granderson’s name seems to come up a lot also since he is tied for second in homeruns and is having a very solid year.

Yankee pitching is in the conversation. Another starter couldn’t hurt this team, and a middle innings guy wouldn’t be the end of the world either.

Derek Jeter is Derek Jeter. He has over 3,000 hits now and his name pops up side-by-side with Brett Gardner now with all this lineup change stuff.

But what about Mark Teixeira? How does he manage to slip under the radar? He is a high profile performer in the number one media market. And with Alex Rodriguez on the DL, one would think there is more attention on Mark Teixeira. But somehow, I am not hearing much.

Shouldn’t I hear a little more? In the last 11 games (including Thursday night), Teixeira is hitting just .204 with 2 RBI. In those 11 games, the Yankees have lost five games, three of which were by a one run margin.

And when you think about the Yankees needing another pitcher, when C.C. Sabathia continues to pitch gems, those are the games the Yankees need to win. C.C. Sabathia is obviously not the problem with the Yankees starting rotation. Players like Mark Teixeira need to come through.

Even Derek Jeter has received negative attention this year. And if you ever heard anyone talk about Jeter, you would think he was related to Jesus, or that he might even be Jesus living underneath a different name. I mean come on, Jeter and Jesus? You think he could do a better job of coming up with a fake name. We can see right through that nonsense.

If Alex Rodriguez had a stretch like this, there isn’t one soul in the universe that would be unaware of it. Yet somehow, Mark Teixeira has been given some free pass. Nobody is talking about him at all. Is it because he is fourth in the majors in homeruns? I’m not sure.

But the bottom line is this. Mark Teixeira has not been hitting, and whether it is noticed or not, it is the truth. And you can talk about the high payroll, and the 17 games above .500 but that isn’t relevant because it still isn’t good enough. The Yankees are not in first place and that is where they want to be.

So as nice as it is to see Curtis Granderson and Brett Gardner perform at a very high level, the first baseman who is making 22.5 million dollars this year needs to step it up. 25 homeruns is impressive, but a .240 average is not. With Alex Rodriguez out, Mark Teixeira needs to be the big man on campus, and as of late, he has fallen well short of that.

 The De-Deification of Derek Jeter

Photo by Keith Allison

Looking back on the happenings of the past few days in Yankee Land, even Alex Rodriguez might turn out to be a less-vilified character than Derek Jeter is within the pinstripe panorama when all is said and done.  To all, that is, except the Yankee fans, who are blinded by the light of their celestial superstar and who would follow their hero into the lion’s den wearing Yankee pot roast suits.

Let’s look at the “holy grail” of all sports memorabilia – THE BALL that went for #3000.   As “right” as everyone thinks the act of Christian Lopez returning the ball to Jeter is, it was absolutely the WRONG thing to do.  Even Lopez will realize that in time. Unfortunately, he looks like a good, honest kid who didn’t deserve to be dragged into this mess – and now he may be socked with a five-figure tax bill for his decency and from the Yankees’ lovely parting gifts. Things are much different today than in 1961 when Sal Durante caught Roger Maris’ 61st HR ball.  Lopez should have kept the ball and sold it – paid off his famous student loan and more.  What’s more, Jeter (who looked ridiculous while wearing a t-shirt and cap with his own picture on it) seemed pretty nonplussed when he got the ball back.  He said something to the effect that the ball looked and felt like all the other baseballs he’d handled.  Ideally, Jeter should send the ball to Cooperstown where the game’s historical mementos belong.

How about “Captain Courageous” passing on the All-Star Game?  He’s gone through so much – the half-season, the injury, the rehabbing in Tampa, the stress of the road to 3,000.  What Maris went through in ‘61 when he was chasing the ghost of the most beloved Yankee and an American legend, THAT was stress.  Jeter just passed a very significant baseball milestone and he should be at the Mid-Summer Classic in Arizona so the fans can see him – whether he plays or not.

Perhaps Jeter will spend the break signing memorabilia so he can further cash-in.  I’m holding out for the plastic bags with the “DJ3K” logo filled with Yankee Stadium air from last Saturday.  It’s fully authenticated, of course.  There are “DJ3K” balls, bats, photos – a thousand poses from every conceivable (some inconceivable, as well) angle, bases, ticket stubs, jerseys, caps, cleats, socks, dirt – anything tangible!  And if “Captain Intangible” could find a way to sign something intangible, he would, and they’d sell that, too!

Granted, Jeter is a great ballplayer and he’s accomplished so much on the ball field.  And cashing in has become as American as baseball itself.  He might even be the “face” of the game right now.   (Which is why he should be at the All-Star Game.)   Unfortunately, Jeter’s been “deified” by blind faith.  He’s been turned into this larger-than-life icon by pinstriped hands & fans.  We don’t know how the book on Derek Jeter will end.  Enjoy the present and revel in watching it play out.  Allow history to forge the legacy of a great player.

 The “Jeter Meter” is on OVERLOAD

Photo by Keith Allison

OK, I think I get it. Derek Jeter got his 3,000th hit. He is the only player in the storied & unparalleled history of the New York Yankees to get to get his 3,000th hit as a Yankee, reaching base safely all those times while playing only for the Bronx Bombers. He’s one of the greatest clutch players of his era, a first-ballot Hall of Famer and one of the greatest Yankees of all-time. Got it. What’s actually happened is that a very good baseball player accomplished what 27 other players in the history of the game have done prior to this. Some fans and broadcasters have built this into a tear-jerking, triumphant Yankee Moment. Sure, it’s extremely noteworthy & memorable. It’s isn’t Don Larsen, Roger Maris, Gehrig, Ruth nor Mantle. This is not V-J Day nor Neil Armstrong taking one small step for man.

The media hype and marketing of the event has been nauseating. Right after “the blessed event” the Yankees announced the release of the “DJ3K” product line. I can imagine the rush to the concession stand to be the first to get the 3K ice scraper, shoe-horn, etc. How about the cell phone calls from the lines of people who got caught up in the moment? The Jersey girls: “Dylan? Put your mother on the phone…Hello? Yeah, he got the hit…yeah!….I’m on the line for Derek t-shirts…do you want them for the kids? What sizes?… Right, they may shrink…Umm, they have 14 different shirts.…What about Nana and Uncle Vinny…?” It’s always amazed me how Yankee fans need to have the players’ names on the back on the shirts and jerseys…like we need to be SURE who #2 is…ever see a “2” Yankee jersey with CROSETTI on the back?! The fans need people to KNOW they’re in their JETER costume!

Steiner Sports procured 24 bases (that’s 8 innings worth …the one home plate must carry SOME price tag!), 42 baseballs and 2 lineup cards from Saturday’s game. Of course, these items will have to be signed by “Captain America.” Oops, almost forgot about the vials of Yankee Stadium dirt taken from the field of the majestic, legendary 3-year old House That George Built. Also advertised in Sunday’s paper was the Major League Baseball Derek Jeter Limited Marquee Edition Opus! (Opus?! Yes! OPUS! – the title makes The International Silver String Submarine Band seem plausible.) This 790-page book weighs 75 lbs. If you’re really a fan you’ll want the edition limited to 222 copies. That one has a 4×6 inch piece of the old Yankee Stadium wall on the cover and is hand-signed by “Captain Fantastic” himself and it goes for a mere $4,500.

I give Derek his just due, but because he’s played for the richest franchise in the sport on the biggest stage in the world, a bloop game-winning hit or a catch in the stands has become the flag-raising on Iwo Jima. If he played in Milwaukee he’d be Robin Yount (maybe not…Yount was a 2-time AL MVP). If Jeter spent his career in Kansas City, he’d be George Brett (but then Brett was a 3-time AL batting champ and MVP in 1980). San Diego? Tony Gwynn was an 8-time batting champ. Here’s where the Yankee fan turns Jeter into “Lord of the Rings & Intangibles!”

A great Yankee? For certain! Placing him higher on the list than Yogi Berra? No way. Yogi is an all-time great. A member of the All-Century Team and an American icon. He’s a 15-time All-Star, a 3-time American League MVP, and he has TEN WORLD SERIES RINGS as a player! One for each finger!

So before you waive the “5-year waiting period after retirement” rule and whisk “Captain Marvel” up to Cooperstown immediately or move Joe D. out of the way to clear a place in Monument Park, put down your DJ3K decoder ring and read up on the history of this great game. While Derek Jeter may be the greatest Yankee you’ve ever seen or heard about, or if you think he’s the greatest player today – open your mind and look beyond this era and even beyond the Bronx.  There are others who’ve climbed just as high and some who’ve scaled even greater heights while playing the game.  There’s gold in them thar hills!

 You Tell Me Tuesday

Finish this sentence: The older Derek Jeter gets, the more ________________________

 Yankees Not Yet Complete

The New York Yankees are in first place in the month of June. This shows us two things; they are a solid baseball team and they know what it takes to win. Still, this Yankee team is far from complete. They are going to need to make a big splash come the trade deadline if they want to add championship number twenty-eight.

One suprise has been the productivity of the starting pitching.  Bartolo Colon is pitching like he did when he won the Cy Young award, and Freddy Garcia has been consistently getting guys out. I have faith in Colon to keep it up- but what happens if he doesn’t? Ivan Nova has looked great at times and terrible other times. How can you rely on him when he has been incredibly inconsistent? You have potential question marks at your #4 and #5 spots in the rotation. This rotation is far from complete, and don’t be banking on Phil Hughes returning and making a significant impact if he ever comes back.

In order for the Yankees to have a complete rotation, they need an ace to go along with Sabathia, or at least a solid #2 pitcher. The pitcher the Yankees should be targeting is Felix Hernandez. With the talents the Yankees have in their farm system, in the words of the Godfather… lets just say they could make an offer they can’t refuse.

Of course there are other pitchers the Yankees coul target. Fransisco Liriano is a name that has been talked about for months. Although Liriano has not been that effective this year other than his no hitter earlier this season, he could be a solid number #2 or #3 for the Yankees- considering AJ Burnett has had a fantastic turnaround season thus far. They could also look at guys like Ryan Dempster, Mike Pelfrey, and Derek Lowe; all guys the Yankees could use in order to complete a rotation that is still not 100% completed.

The next part of the Yankees that is still not complete is the lineup. WHAT?! Yes, the Yankees lineup is still not complete as of right now. They obviously do not need another star in the lineup, but they do need role players. Andruw Jones has been good so far, but can you trust him to pinch hit in late September?

The Yankees need some help out their in the outfield. We have seen how bad Nick Swisher and Brett Gardner can be at the plate, and the Yankees also need some help on the bench so they do not have A.J Burnett pinch running in a baseball game. Look at a guy like Jonny Gomes. He hit 18 HR and 86 RBI last season. In a place like Cincinatti, it should not be hard to pry Gomes away. Also look at a guy like Juan Pierre. While he may be 33 now, he still has his wheels. His 68 steals were tops in the AL last season. He also should not be hard to get from the White Sox for a few prospects. How about a trade that brings Pierre and Mark Buehrle? Do not put it past Brian Cashman.

The bullpen is one area that I think the Yankees are complete in. Soriano has been a major bust so far, but I believe he will get back to pitching the way he can.  Robertson has been fantastic this season, and Mariano Rivera is, well- Mariano Rivera. If there is one area the Yankees can fix in their pen, it is getting a better lefty specialist. I simply don’t trust Boone Logan in any big spot, and the way Girardi mixes and matches with right handers and left handers- they could use a shut down left handed specialist

The Yankees and their fans should be very pleased with the fact that they are in first place with the trade deadline almost a month away. The Yankees are a solid baseball team and a contender- no doubt about it. However, if the Yankees want to raise another banner next April, they will have to realize this team is good- but yet not complete.

 Is Jeter’s Quest for 3,000 Hits Blinding Us?

Photo by Keith Allison

When a conversation about Derek Jeter begins, it almost always goes in the same direction. There is no debate about the greatness that is Derek Jeter. Whether it be winning Rookie of the Year, being an All-Star in almost every season, winning the All-Star game MVP, and the World Series MVP, it is not hard to find Derek Jeter’s accomplishments. Any Yankee or baseball fan in general can name them. Add Silver Slugger Awards and Gold Glove Awards and there is no doubt that Derek Jeter is a first ballot Hall of Famer.

We also know that at some point in the next couple of weeks, Derek Jeter will reach the 3,000 hit plateau to add to his long list of achievements. Fans, and just humans in general love milestones and love big numbers. They love seeing their favorite players in the record books.

The ultimate goal of all fans though, is winning championships. Granted, this can vary based on the team one roots for. Pirates fans I’m sure are not expecting a World Series title this year. Teams like that would just love to see a playoff appearance at the least. Teams like that, and fans of those teams, fall in love with their young stars and hope they will be good for the “team’s future.”

However, over the last decade and a half the Yankees never had the “hope for the team’s future.” The Yankees were always a team thinking about the now. They are the team that wants to win the World Series THIS year. They are not looking to build for future years. Obviously if they can build and win now at the same time, that is a plus. Robinson Cano is of course that kind of player, and Derek Jeter is/was as well.

So what’s my point? The point is this. If you were to ask a Yankee fan what he or she would like to see from the Yankees this year, I think the answer would be the same amongst everyone. “I want the Yankees to win the World Series.” Sure they also want to see Derek Jeter reach 3,00o hits. They probably also want to see Alex Rodriguez hit 630 homeruns. But fans never answer the question of what they want to see their team do with a list of milestones. Fans list the goals they want for the team as a whole.

“I want Team X to win this many games.”

“I want Team X to get to the playoffs.”

“I want Team X to win the World Series.”

THOSE are the answers. The individual milestones are just a bonus. Of course though the individual milestones are very exciting, and sometimes can overshadow team goals.

Enter Derek Jeter in 2011. Entering Friday night’s game against the Angels, Derek Jeter was batting .264 with just a pair of homeruns, and 16 RBI. Yankee and baseball fans alike are also aware that Derek Jeter certainly had a down year last year finishing with a .270 batting average, the worst of his career. The talk about his fielding never goes away either. I am just going to add the fact that in innings 4-9 this year, Jeter has a .188 batting average. He is hitting .337 in innings 1-3. But as the games go on, and hits become more pertinent, he is not getting hits.

Again, I do not want to take away from the great career of Derek Jeter. He will forever be known as one of the top players to ever play the game. But we must remember the “NOW.” Yankee fans every year want their team to win the World Series. And as great as the 3,000 hit milestone will be for the Yankees, their fans, and of course Derek Jeter, it is important that we don’t let it overshadow what is actually happening.

We must ask: Is Derek Jeter, right now, in a position to put the Yankees back on top as champions of baseball? As recently as 2009, the answer was yes. But is that still the answer in 2011?

 

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