So, as quickly as one friend wrote, the other responded:
A friend of mine, an outsider to baseball fanaticism, brings an interesting perspective to the Derek Jeter contract negotiations. I don’t necesarily agree with all of this, but again…it’s an interesting look from an outsider’s point of view:
Derek Jeter, you are not an icon. You are a member of an iconic team. I’m sorry that management sought out, budgeted, and paid for a lot of big names, and at a crucial time, you were one of them. I’m sorry that someone led you to believe that you were irreplaceable, ageless, and, like a skid mark that defies bleach, will never, ever go away. It’s a shame, really, that you believed the hype that Yankees marketing kept alive, and that sports networks made so much money by showing your team (not just you) play baseball.
Let’s look at this situation through a particular lens –
Like you, someone who’s name will forever be associated with one team, during a time when watching that team play was pretty exciting. Unlike you, he was a man who was loved, not only for his on field abilities, but for (a time) a squeaky clean, good ol’ boy, Wrangler wearing persona.
But look how the mighty have fallen. He is in the process of going way, way down in the sports lover polls because he can’t admit that football can live on without him. He can’t admit that a game played without him among the ranks will continue to be played. But because of who he is, he continues to play. One can argue that without football, he wouldn’t know what else to do, so he keeps going – against the entire sports worlds better judgement.
Here’s what Favre did right. He didn’t bring his final years of playing the game down to the fattest contract he could bully himself into. Be it for ego, or for love of the game, or a refusal to believe he’s done, he didn’t turn his relationship to the sport into a haggling match.
I don’t understand how, after multiple World Series, and a career that could put you in the hall of fame, you still feel you need more. You’ve done it all. You’ve gotten a lion’s share of the Steinbrenner budget for overpaid players. ( And let’s face it – you’ll find other things to occupy your time. I won’t list them, but one of them is sell luxury cars in commercials.) Now is the time to accept that your time is winding down, show some class, and live out these last years playing the best ball you can in front of the fans who have been cheering you on since you were just barely a man. Stop acting like a pimp who needs to be shown “respect” from his underlings, and accept that you already have the respect and admiration of the people who care about the Yankees.
In short – people care about YOU less than you think, Jeter. Get over it, and take this enormous contract before they hand it to someone else younger, and more excited about being a Yankee, than your iconic self.
Manager of the New York Yankees…
Nice job if you can get it…
And if you get it…would you want it?
Yankees fans might be staring at the walls, but believe it or not, there’s actually still a World Series to be played.
Yes…on occasion, they play one without us.
If it makes you feel better, we aren’t the only fans with ridiculous bravado. A friend from Philly actually said, “The Rangers and the Giants are in the World Series. Who’s gonna watch that?”
(Umm…I don’t know. How about the two biggest states in the Union?)
So, Yankees fans now look to the future as the team locks up Skipper Girardi for a three year contract. No one should be shocked about this. If you are, you are way too emotional and it’s starting to cloud your better baseball judgment. Sure, this year was a bust by Yankees standards. However, by normal team standards, Girardi would have been given a ticker-tape parade.
(Please, if this was Chicago, the man would have been given a statue next to Harry Caray.)
In the past three years, Girardi has taken the team to the playoffs twice and won a World Series. The man deserves a vote of confidence.
By reuping for three more years in the Bronx, Joe Girardi also has the unenviable task of guiding the aging Core Four through the twilight of their careers. Imagine the unpopular duty of eventually benching (or Gasp! Not benching quick enough) Captain Derek Jeter when his range becomes a detriment to the team. That day is coming soon. Regardless of what Girardi does, he’ll be damned if he does and will be damned if he doesn’t.
My Fantasy Baseball Team is safely ensconced in second place, which I’m perfectly happy with…right now (because we all know that I’m a terrible loser. If I don’t win this whole thing, all hell will break out). Hang with me here. I’m just acknowledging the fact that I could be in far worse shape. A good chunk of my team spent what seemed like half the season on the DL. One by one they are finally being activated and not a moment too soon. My depth behind the Dish can be measure by the teaspoon. Cervelli is available, but V-Mart is supposed to be activated today. Woman cannot live by Miguel Montero alone.
Speaking of being on the market…
If you are a regular reader of mine, you know that I am and that I’m no longer talking about Fantasy Baseball. I understand that there aren’t a lot of us out there, but can we please start to give female Baseball fans credit where credit is due? We’re pretty smart. On occasion, we’re even smarter than you. Let’s face it men, we scare the hell out of you… or maybe that’s just me?
Regardless, if I get one more guy who hits on me with the following line, “Oh, you’re a Yankees fan. I bet your favorite is Derek Jeter.” I will take a Louisville Slugger to the side of the Bar. There’s nothing wrong with Derek Jeter. He’s a great role model and the best example of Yankees tradition since Don Mattingly. Nonetheless, I am so tired of boys (if you act like one, I will refer to you as one) automatically assuming that women can’t get beyond tight pants and a pretty face.
Hey! Don’t get me wrong. That’s icing on the cake, but big boy… can you give me Jeter’s lifetime OBP? I didn’t think so (.383 during the regular season). And if you must know, my favorite All-Time Yankee is Don Mattingly. My favorite recent Yankee is Mike Mussina and I think the most exciting Yankee to watch for in the future is Francisco Cervelli. Now, pull your gut off the Bar and let me pass.
Some final thoughts on Ralph Houk’s passing…
Ralph Houk passed away last week at his home in Winter Haven. To honor the memory of Houk, the Yankees will wear black armbands below the Bob Sheppard patch on the left sleeve of their jerseys for the remainder of the 2010 season.
So seriously everyone… cut it out. The Yankees are running out of room on their uniforms for memorial patches. Every Yankee over the age of 75, stay put and don’t go skydiving. Houk led the Yankees to a World Series championship in each of his first two years as manager (1961 and ’62) and the American League pennant in his third (1963). Over eleven seasons with Houk as manager, the Yankees went 944-806.
Yes, we shouldn’t forget that Houk was a great manager, not prolific but great nevertheless. He also risked his life for our country at Normandy. Still, it gets tough to reconcile his harsh treatment of Clete Boyer, Ellie Howard and the fact that it was on his watch as General Manager that Yogi Berra was shamelessly fired. He stayed quiet in complacency. Sure, feel free to call me out for cutting Steinbrenner slack regarding his memory. However, as a true Baseball man, I hold Houk to a higher standard. For me, these memorial patches and tributes are getting harder to reconcile as the season goes on…