The problem with Derek Jeter is that no one seems to think about him rationally. On one side you have all of the enormous love and re2pect from Yankee fans and those who worship at the Altar of Jeter. On the other side, you have everyone else who think that he is the most overrated player ever to walk on a diamond.
Neither side has got it right.
Derek Jeter is a Hall of Fame professional baseball player, and that’s it. In a perfect world everyone would just understand that he is a very good ballplayer who led some of the best baseball teams in baseball history to five World Series. He has 3,000 hits, etc. He is a human man who benefited from natural talent, hard work, and luck.
Derek Jeter is also not the BEST baseball player of all-time, even of his own playing career. He benefited from the spotlight of playing in New York. He happens to be good-looking and fucked the hottest women on Earth consistently for years, so that draws more attention to him. He probably wasn’t the best fielder even though he won five Gold Gloves. He could have stolen more bases, if you ask me.
Rationally, there is no denying that he is a great player, but there is also no denying that in the history of the game he might not deserve all of the accolades that are being showered on him right now in his retirement season.
It’s all crazy! He’s a great baseball player. No other player has been so loved and hated while just being great. He has Hall of Fame numbers and there is no denying that. So that really should be the end of the conversation, not too much the five rings and, to my mind, undeniably clutch post season performances.
But it’s not, because so people many are extremists. Those who love, love, love Derek Jeter are no doubt nostalgic for the glory days of the 90s Yanks and will never accept a single criticism of the man, and everyone who hates him is either bitter, doesn’t understand what makes an athlete great, has an inferiority complex about where they live, or is a Red Sox fan, the only group of people who have the right to hate Jeter irrationally.
I am a lifelong Yankees fan. I like Derek Jeter. But damn it, more and more I see what all the haters are talking about, as the accolades and commercials continue to pour in.
See, I liked Derek Jeter because he was on MY team, the New York Yankees. I don’t expect and would never expect anyone else to like him because he wasn’t on their team. People shouldn’t like Jeter. It should be about respect, but respect isn’t about gifts and commercials - that’s about money and ratings. Respect takes place on the diamond, maybe say a kind word, maybe groove one down the middle during the All-Star game, and then move on. I don’t believe that respect has anything to do with showering a man with gifts and having Jay-Z appear in a commercial with him. Again, those things are about money.
But in the end, I return to the fact that Derek Jeter is a Hall of Famer and if he got more attention because he was in New York, whose fault is that? Most likely yours for paying attention and harping about it. Life unfolds the way it unfolds, and he got lucky along the way, in addition to HANDLING THE SPOTLIGHT well when so many others couldn’t. Not everyone could be this famous. Tony Gwynn was the best hitter of all-time perhaps, but he did it quietly with little expectations in San Diego. He’s great, no doubt. But he didn’t have to handle the pressure and responsibilities of playing in the largest sports market in the world. Derek Jeter should almost get more respect for being a businessman and cool customer than for being a great baseball player.
The only logical conclusion is that Jeter is a Hall of Famer, and if you want to call him overrated please do so because you think he should have stolen more bases, and not because people pay too much attention to him. Numbers don’t lie and Derek Jeter had one hell of a career. The hop jump he does from deep in the hole has nothing to do with how overrated he may be, it’s about how you feel about him as an opposing player on an opposing team. You don’t have to like Derek Jeter, and it’s silly to be mired in nostalgia and delusional thoughts about his true statistical place in the pantheon of baseball greats, but when a man wins five championships, he is considered great, regardless of what you think about The Flip.
Thoughts on the USA’s World Cup 2014 Performance
Every World Cup I find it sad that the US as a nation doesn’t get into it. It’s exciting as all get out and I especially don’t understand the people who make a point of of going out of their way to tell people how they don’t give a fuck. ”Hey, I don’t give a fuck about soccer!” ”Soccer? Still don’t give a fuck!” The entire world loves the sport, yet so many people find it so terribly, terribly, terribly boring in this country. That must say something about the way we think as a nation vs. the way the entire rest of the world thinks, but that’s a whole other can of worms to be opened and analyzed.
But this time around, even though you still had the people who made a point of letting everyone know they didn’t care about soccer, it seemed like a lot of the country was into it. On the whole, it seemed like people cared. Bandwagon fans or not or whatever, it’s nice that people were watching soccer and digging the experience. As someone who has enjoyed watching the World Cup since 1994, I’m glad there were more people I could talk to and watch the games with.
And as the country rallied around our team, naturally, expectations rose. People were watching so now people wanted to win. ESPN said the USA had a chance this year, more than ever, so that added to the hype. Last Cup we were robbed, maybe this year we won’t get robbed and we will play to our potential, or possibly even over achieve and shock some people. Could happen right?
Wrong. The USA limped into the round of 16 and then got smoked by Belgium. End of story. We never really looked good in the entire tournament. We got lucky and unlucky but the performance today vs. Belgium - aside from a couple of passionate minutes of play when our backs were pressed against the wall - proved the US cannot compete on an international level. Jergen Klinsmann said as much before the tournament even began.
Tim Howard played great against Belgium - a truly remarkable athletic performance - but without him this game would have been lost way, way before extra time, let alone around the 118th minute when we had a couple of chances to tie it up and force PKs. Too little, too late. We were well overmatched the entire game.
The USA’s exit against Belgium happened thirty minutes ago and it’s a bummer, but we didn’t deserve to win and it showed. That’s the way sports work. I’ll take it. But you know what I don’t like? I don’t like hearing people - from Alexi Lalas to Joe Shmo on Facebook - talk about the passion of the team, the heart of the team. Hey everyone, we sucked. We beat Ghana in the first game and that was about it. We sucked. We got a little lucky and there was one good game we won in exciting fashion. That’s all, though! I didn’t see that much heart in this Belgium game - or at least anymore heart than should be expected from a group of professionals given the honor to represent their nation on the game’s biggest stage. So anyone speaking of the US’s heart should be quiet, because it’s that kind of an attitude that will keep this team from actually accomplishing something in the future. A soft attitude when we are dismissed will never get us anywhere as a nation who is taken seriously in soccer, because we need to demand better results and not settle.
And so with the USA gone, I will still continue to watch and enjoy the tournament, and I hope everyone does as well, though I am sure most people will post their Facebook status about the USA losing to let everyone know that they are proud of our team and then they will move on. I am not especially proud of our team, even though yes, I’m sure they did give it their all. I just want more because I hope that one day we can actually make a run at truly accomplishing something in the World Cup, and not just settle for a round of 16 appearance where we play well for a couple of minutes but basically get smoked, and everyone says we gave it our all so everything is hunky-dory.