FIRE JOE MORGAN: Even Dudes in Toronto Love Derek Jeter


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Thursday, September 21, 2006


Even Dudes in Toronto Love Derek Jeter

Derek Jeter is a good baseball player who brings out the worst in baseball writers. Take this guy:

His name is Richard Griffin and he writes for the Toronto Star. Now, when I pick up and read the Toronto Star, as I do every day, I expect nothing but the finest, most objective, cold-blooded, rationalest, numbery-est baseball analysis out there. I was appalled to find the following article polluting the pages of my beloved Star:

Jeter's MVP on all levels
Huge contributions on and off the field

Off the field, Jeter is a way better baseball player than anyone can imagine. Did you know he leads the AL with 46 off the field home runs and is second in off the field steals with 53? Off the field, Derek Jeter slays giant centipedes while riding an iron pegasus.

Yankee captain Derek Jeter looked bad in his first three at-bats against the Jays in last night's series opener. Then, in the seventh, with a runner on second, he drove a 3-0 A.J. Burnett offering into the centre-field stands for a lead the Yankees never gave back. Performance when it counts.

I checked the box score for this game. Jeter's home run put the Yankees ahead 4-3 in a game they eventually won 7-6. Great. A-Rod also hit a two-run homer in this one, but since it was one inning earlier, it didn't help the Yankees at all. I don't think they even keep score for the first six innings, right?

"It just gets us closer to where we want to be," Jeter said of the impact of his home run.

The key word is "we." There is no question that, despite what Red Sox' slugger David Ortiz argues, the AL MVP this year should be Jeter.

MVP Criterion #1: MVP must, at some point in the year, offer a quote that correctly refers to his team, a group of people to whom he belongs, with the plural pronoun "we."

Sure, the Yankee captain doesn't have the raw offensive numbers to match Big Papi, Justin Morneau or Jermaine Dye, but his contributions to winning go far beyond the numbers.

This needs a lot of explanation.

Jeter sits with a .340 average — 14 homers and 95 RBIs — nice but not monstrous power numbers. Beyond that, he is a calming extension on the field and in the clubhouse in much the same way as his manager Joe Torre.

Oh, right. The Calm Eyes Effect.

MVP Criterion #2: MVP must be a "calming extension" on the field and in the clubhouse.

Derek Jeter gives his teammates free massages.

The classy way Jeter handled last week's Ortiz diatribe against his MVP candidacy was typical Jeter, pointing out that, as a Yankee, team goals are more important and then, on the weekend, interacting with Ortiz on the field at Yankee Stadium like a friend. End of controversy.

MVP Criterion #3: Classiness.

There is no jealousy emanating from Jeter with regard to any of his teammates. And if any of the baser emotions are hinted at by the media reporting on the Bombers, issues are quickly defused by Torre and/or his clubhouse equivalent, Jeter.

MVP Criterion #4: MVP cannot emanate jealousy. Bonus: he defuses issues.

There is something supremely confident about a Yankee clubhouse. They arrived in the wee, wee hours of Sunday, exhausted after back-to-back doubleheaders against the Red Sox, bloodied from three losses, but unbowed. You wouldn't know it.

Maybe because they're like 50 games up and they knew they would clinch the AL East even if they lost all of the rest of their games. Or, alternatively, the explanation is Jeter.

The Yankees have had 14 players on the DL, led by outfielders Gary Sheffield and Hideki Matsui. Second baseman Robinson Cano missed 40 games. A-Rod has slumped badly at times and Randy Johnson has recorded 17 wins despite a 4.93 ERA.

They also have perhaps the best collection of offensive talent of any team in baseball history ever, including at least three players who have been on average more valuable than Derek Jeter over the course of their careers.

Yet here they sit, about to clinch the AL East for the 10th time in 11 seasons, with the other result being a wild card and a '97 World Series win.

No and no. It's the 11th time in 12 seasons. (CORRECTION: I'm wrong. He's right. It's 10 in 11. But he's still wrong about the next thing.) In 1997, the Florida Marlins won the World Series. Shouldn't you know that? Or barring you knowing it, shouldn't you have at least checked it out before writing it down to be published in a baseball bible like the Toronto Star?

Barring injury, the 32-year-old Jeter, five years after he retires, is headed to the hall of fame. He has a World Series and an All-Star MVP, but never the regular-season hardware. This should be Jeter's time.

MVP Criterion #5: It's the MVP's time.

His campaign talking points are simple. A normal-looking guy doing normal-looking things — only better. It would be a great response to baseball's distressing steroid scandals.

MVP Criterion #6: Be normal-looking. No uglies.

I was a Yankee hater until the late-'90s World Series. The easiest thing to hate was that they always seemed to be buying their stairway to heaven.

Oh Jesus. Really? "Buying their stairway to heaven"?

Voters may resent the Yankees believing they buy greatness, but just remember that Jeter is homegrown.

Besides, my daughter Kelly in her room at university has four pictures of Jeter and only one of me. If I'm going to be trumped, let it be by an AL MVP.

MVP Criterion #7 (Most Important): MVP must have four (4) pictures of him hanging in Richard Griffin’s daughter Kelly’s room at university. The number of pictures is non-negotiable.

Real quick, now, take a look at this guy one more time.

Notice that the top of his head is cut off. Could there be a fedora up there?

Labels: ,

posted by Junior  # 6:37 PM
Credit to reader Jeremy for this one.
As awful as it sounds, Derek Jeter is a legitimate MVP candidate.
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