Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Derek Jeter Farewell Tour Nearing the End
It's looking like the Yankees will miss the playoffs this year, which means that there are only 5 more precious games after tonight in which fans will have a chance to see Derek Jeter play. He is a future Hall-of-Famer, leads the Yankees in just about every statistical hitting category including games played, is the all-time MLB leader in hits by a shortstop, and is 6th all time in hits as of tonight with 3,462. He is without question one of the best players I have grown up watching and I'm really glad I got to see him play 3 games in Milwaukee this past May. Despite all of that, or perhaps because of it, I am more than ready for this Derek Jeter Lovefest to be over. Don't get me wrong, I love all of of the tribute commercials as much as the next man, but tonight was the last straw when I turned on ESPN and saw the Yankees were wearing a #2 emblem on their hats and sleeves. It's so ridiculous and self-serving that it is hard to even write. He's not dead, he's still playing! It's probably the most Yankee thing the Yankees have ever done - this is over the top even for them. It is so misguided to be honoring a player on a daily basis who is not at all helping his team win, and for a team that is not even that good I might add. It gets to the point where Joe Girardi has been stuck balancing Farewell Tour Manager with Field Manager, and often times forcing himself to write down Jeter's name in his familiar #2 spot in the lineup just so that fans can see him play.
What disturbs me the most about it is that any other 40-year old in the league would be coming off the bench, and any other .250 hitter with no power would be hitting 7th in the lineup, but because he is Derek Jeter he gets special treatment. Case in point, another player on their own team - Ichiro Suzuki. Ichiro is the same age as Jeter yet still playing at a high level, and he gets lost in the shuffle as the 4th outfielder. I can't help but think how many games it has cost the Yankees because Jeter is in the lineup everyday. But what is Girardi to do, not play him? He would probably get lynched by the New York crowd. I do understand that at the moment the Yankees have no better option at SS, but they are in fact the Yankees - they could pick up whoever they want.
Jeter's situation is a much more difficult situation than farewell tours of years' past, in particular the last two years with Mariano Rivera and Chipper Jones. Unlike Jeter, Rivera and Jones were still contributing to their teams in their final seasons and didn't put the managers in much of a bind, other than dealing with Chipper's ailing knees. One could even argue that Mariano had one of his best seasons ever as his swan song. Honoring a player retiring at the end of the season for the entire year is seemingly becoming the trend, but it's cases like Jeter's that really make you realize how self-centered and money-driven these things really are, both for the player and for the baseball in general. If the Yankees really were serious about winning the pennant this year instead of pandering to Jeter's ego, they would have made a move for a shortstop in the offseason instead of signing Stephen Drew off the couch in July. I expect as much from an organization steeped in tradition like the Yankees, but seeing this spectacle unfold this year has really changed my opinion of Derek Jeter. Before this year, I would have thought if and when he retired that he would be the last guy to want all the pomp and circumstance of a Farewell Tour. Now it seems to me that there is no star athlete out there that doesn't crave attention.
Although, I didn't see Paul Konerko and Jason Giambi getting any canoes this year.
STANDINGS AND UPCOMING SERIES AS OF 09.23:
Brewers 80-77, -8.0, eliminated (3 @ Reds, 3 v. Cubs)
Reds 73-84, -15.0, eliminated (3 v. Brewers, 3 v. Pirates)
Twins 66-90, -20.0, eliminated (3 v. Diamondbacks, 4 @ Tigers)
2014 GAMES ATTENDED:
Erik - 7 (+26 worked)
Peter - 38