Posts tagged derek jeter
Posts tagged derek jeter
What happened: The 2012 New York Yankees bowed meekly before their new divisional overlords, losing a pair against the Jays and splitting with the “first-place” Orioles.
True Yankee™ gainers: Robinson Cano, the only Yankee who remembered to pack a bat for the Baltimore/Toronto field trip… Boone Logan, who’s been missing bats at a semi-Robertsonian clip in recent weeks… Derek Jeter, for extending his no-double-play streak to two games. If that isn’t leadership, I don’t know what is.
True Yankee™ waners: God, who hath smote the bullpen’s most pious minions… Mark Teixeira, because he can’t shake his cough and I can’t shake the feeling that this team would score more runs with Cano/Swisher/Granderson hitting 3-4-5. This would relegate Tex to batting 6th, or even lower against righty pitching… Alex Rodriguez, because he’s going into you-must-love-me overdrive in the wake of his power-deficient start. Expect a major-outlet interview in which he expresses great respect for the fans and says either “team” or some variation thereon (teamwork, teammate, etc.) 320 times over the course of 7 minutes.
What’s next: The Yankees come home, heads hanging hangdog-low, to play a pair against the Reds (defining characteristic: stubborn refusal to acknowledge necessity of OBP atop the batting order) and Royals (defining characteristic: lack of defining characteristic).
True Yankee™ on the spot: Joe Girardi. It’s difficult to get out-managed by Dusty Baker, most recently seen shoehorning his best pitcher into a medium-leverage role while chomping on a flame-broiled toothpick. But the possibility exists - think a late-game bunt for Martin or Jeter. Just to be safe, somebody oughta double-laminate the batter/pitcher pages of The Binder.
What happened: The 2012 New York Yankees failed to sweep the inferior-in-every-way-that-matters-and-some-that-don’t Mariners, once again calling into question their will to compete over the course of a 162-game regular season.
True Yankee™ gainers: Phil Hughes, who not only pitched seven full innings for the first time since grade school, but actually hit 94 mph on the kind YES Network gun. Radar guns, like hips, don’t lie… Raul Ibanez, who has a real knack of guessing fastball - the one pitch he can still drive - at the precise right moment… Derek Jeter, who summoned the courage and tenacity to single through the left side of the infield mere innings after he hit into a pair of rally-gutting double plays. This guy, he’s just wired differently than the rest of us, he really is.
True Yankee™ waners: Nick Swisher, for attempting to extend that ninth-inning double into a triple, even if replays showed his hand hit the base ahead of the tag. His general awesomeness can only excuse so much… Andy Pettitte, who looked nothing like the guy who dueled John Smoltz for eight-plus innings in the 1996 World Series. That Andy Pettitte weighed at least 20 pounds less and had few specks of grey around the temples… Alex Rodriguez, whose failure to hit a five-run homer on Sunday robbed Pettitte of his first W since 2010. Can you think of a single player who lets down his teammates, fans and friends with such metronomic regularity? I bet he’s a lousy neighbor, too, and always leaves his turn sign blinking long after he has changed lanes.
What’s next: The Yankees head to Baltimore for a two-game series against the upstart Orioles, whose fans are practically begging for some bigger, mightier entity to put a boot on their throats about now. Seriously: the Pirates were in a first-place tie on July 25 last season and still managed to lose their usual 90 games. If the Orioles persist with their spirited uppity feistiness into August, then we can have a conversation. Until then, just play along.
True Yankee™ on the spot: Cory Wade. He has transcended his waiver-claim lineage and evolved into a key bullpen cog. But with the late-game pecking order shuffled after Mariano’s unfortunate KC turf dance, Wade might actually find himself pitching in a high-leverage situation or three. It’s in God’s hands now.
What happened: The 2012 New York Yankees won a mere two of three games against the Tampa Bay Rays, blowing perhaps their final opportunity to vault themselves back into the top-o’-the-division thicket.
True Yankee™ gainers: Robinson Cano, who has started to hit like Robinson Cano - an odd coincidence, given that his name is Robinson Cano - and thus defied the small-sample simpletons who read too much into his early-season sluggishness…C.C. Sabathia, though this is the last time we’ll celebrate a stopper-pitching-like-an-stopper performance in this space. Nobody celebrates a donut for tasting like a donut, am I right? Am I right?… Derek Jeter, for handling his first slumpy week of the season with the steely resolve of Walter Cronkite, Anne Frank and Bruce Wayne combined. And it isn’t like the stat skeptics are monitoring his ground-ball rate or anything like that. Nuh-uh.
True Yankee™ waners: David Robertson, for not only surrendering his first run in like half a season, but also for registering the Yankees’ first blown save since the John Wetteland era. Mariano must be turning over in his bed… Eduardo Nunez, a ball magnet no matter where you try to hide him on the diamond. Somehow he’ll find a way to undermine team defense from Rochester… Alex Rodriguez, who hasn’t hit a home run or driven in a run since Sunday. Let the on-base-getters-on get on base, Alex. Your job is to hit the ball far and refrain from preening like a jerkhole. Get with the program.
What’s next: The Seattle Mariners roll into town, all bright eyes and hopeful grins. Then the Yankees do a quickie two-stop road trip to play the Blue Jays and the “first place” Orioles before returning home for… interleague play? Already? The season has entered its adolescence.
True Yankee™ on the spot: Hiroki “Hideki” Kuroda. If he can’t shut down the Seattle lineup, we’re gonna start crafting a “dude can only get out little-ball National Leaguers, who slap and wiggle and bunt like the faeries of yore” narrative for him from which he’ll struggle to write himself out.
What happened: The 2012 New York Yankees bowed down before the league’s loserheads, scoring only three runs in losing two of three to the “first place” Orioles and riding a sad case of the whiffsies to a split against the Royals.
True Yankee™ gainers: C.C. Sabathia, because on a day when the Yankees needed an ace - on a day when the specter of a Mariano-free future hung over the clubhouse like evil mistletoe - C.C. Sabathia was every bit that ace, chomping innings as if they were Chocolate Cheerios… David Robertson, who hasn’t permitted a batter to put a pitched ball into play since last August… Derek Jeter, the sole standing member of the Core Four™, unless you want to count Pettitte as a Core Four™ member, which really you shouldn’t, due to the brief exile in Houston and the Clemens-ish “I want to spend more time with my family… no, come to think of it, I don’t” sabbatical/reverse-retirement.
True Yankee™ waners: Joe Baseball Fan, robbed of the 55 or so innings worth of bullets that Mariano had left in his 2012 arsenal… Jayson Nix, for hitting the batting-practice gapper that, with an assist from the lip of the Kauffman Stadium warning track, felled the great Mariano… Alex Rodriguez, who made it known to anyone who asked that he is “close” to Mariano. Hello? High school much?
What’s next: A return home to face the shift-junkie Rays and the more-boring-than-sad Mariners. “But wait,” you say. “The Yankees aren’t hitting! What EVER will they do against Price and Felix and the rest?” Well, fair friend, Swisher is back and Gardner is close behind. This means that the hitters will ditch the bunting and clumsily executed hit-and-runs, and return to the grind-and-slug tactics that serve them so well. Seriously. If you’re sitting in the low seats in right field, wear a crash helmet.
True Yankee™ on the spot: Mark Teixeira. We’re a-needin’ a focal point for our frustration for the offense (6th in MLB in runs scored through Sunday, BTW) and he’s just sitting there, his mouth frozen in an eternal “duuuuhhhh.” Plus he is being paid a formidable sum to play baseball, which sets our resentment aflame like kerosene on prayer candles.
What happened: The 2012 New York Yankees won two of three games over the Detroit Tigers, one on a walk-off passed ball and another after the Tigers gifted them 64 baserunners in the first five innings. It was neither impressive nor aesthetically pleasing, but - don your cliché crash helmets, please - they all count the same in the standings. They do. Ask anyone.
True Yankee™ gainers: C.C. Sabathia, who threw the way he does 19 times out of 20. He’s like a really fat metronome… Chris Stewart, who is totally not C.C.’s personal catcher, even though he only starts on the days Sabathia pitches and wears slacks and a dress shirt in the dugout on the days he doesn’t… Derek Jeter, whose horrible offensive drought over the weekend went unnoticed by this girl I saw in the park today. She was wearing an unlicensed Jeter shirt, one with “never underestimate the power of HEART” half-circled around a huge number 2 on its back. I didn’t think to get her opinion of Cap’n Pressure Cooker’s range at short. My bad.
True Yankee™ waners: Freddy Garcia, who, following another body-cavity search of a start, answered the question “are you hurt or do you just suck?” with a darty-eyed “yes”… Joe Girardi or Curtis Granderson, or whoever the hell called for a sacrifice bunt in a nobody-out, man-on-first situation on Sunday. The pitcher was wild and Granderson is a murderous viking against right-handed pitching at the Stadium, and yet somebody thought a bunt was the tactic that would eventually produce a favorable offensive result? I’m going to dunk my head in the sink now… Alex Rodriguez, for failing to acknowledge Willie Mays after passing him on the all-time RBI list. Does this make A-Rod a racist? I think it does! Somebody get Selena Roberts on the phone.
What’s next: Three games against the first-place Baltimore Orioles, whose hot start has nothing to do with the ease-into-the-season-on-a-downy-cloud scheduling and everything to do with Buck Showalter’s messianic policies regarding uniform-pant tapering and strict curfew-adherence.
True Yankee™ on the spot: Raul Ibanez, who will be manning an outfield corner more or less every day until Nick Swisher returns from his hamstring strain. Any ball struck in the air will thus be more of an adventure than locking your kid in the car and Raiders Of The Lost Ark combined. Cross your fingers and brace for impact.
What happened: The 2012 New York Yankees lost two of three games to the Texas Rangers, confirming their status as the shlubby Oates to the Rangers’ immaculately coiffed Hall. Just as night follows day and Mike & Molly follows Two And A Half Men, so too do the Yankees linger in the Rangers’ long shadow.
True Yankee™ gainers: David Robertson, for being plus-plus, in scouting-kid parlance, as both a pitcher and a human being… Derek Jeter, who continues to approach each at-bat as if it’s his last. Have we confirmed that he isn’t suffering from a terminal illness?
True Yankee™ waners: Phil Hughes, though let’s not let his YES Network enablers off the hook. On Wednesday night, they squealed with delight every time Hughes hit 93 on the radar gun, which would be an achievement if those 93 mph heaters dove, darted or otherwise didn’t beg hitters to put them out of their misery… Michael Pineda, whose broken shoulder should prompt a product-liability lawsuit or something… Ron Washington, because he offends the True Yankee™ ideals of justice, fortitude and common sense on a nightly basis. He has batted Mike Napoli in the order’s bottom third 14 times in 17 games so far this season. It’s true. Just check this here linky-link… Alex Rodriguez, for only delivering a single in-your-FACE-jerkhead flourish to the chin of his former employers down Texas way. And to think the Rangers received the staggering return of Alfonso Soriano and Joaquin Arias (picked from a pool of players that included Robinson Cano) for him and $70 million of the cash remaining on his deal.
What’s next: Three games at home against the Detroit Tigers, who vanquished the Yankees in last year’s playoffs. If recent history holds, Jim Leyland will pull all sorts of wacky shit and it will all somehow work out (e.g., hit a .295 OBP guy in the two-hole ahead of Cabrera and Fielder). This will be inordinately frustrating to us True Yankee™ lovers of reason.
True Yankees™ on the spot: The entire rotation. It’d sure be swell if the starters threw together a good start or three, because people who produce baseball stories don’t quite get the concept of small sample sizes. Me, I prefer my Yankee sirloin without a side of stewed hysteria.
We begin with the infield.
Certified True Yankees™
Derek Jeter (SS): The real question is this: What would he have to do to lose True Yankee™ status? It would have to involve several of the following in concert: commission of slimy misdemeanor, like cemetery desecration; appearance with Ben Affleck in a buddy movie or during Fashion Week; endorsement of a fringe political candidate, one who wants to abolish the Federal Reserve and the San Diego Zoo; purchase of pied-à-terre on Beacon Hill; betrothal to blowsy trollop who chomps gum with her mouth open; and failure of steroid test and subsequent names-naming of other heretofore unknown habitual users from the 1996-2000 teams, including Paul O’Neill and Mariano Rivera. Especially Mariano Rivera.
Decent case for True-Yankee™ enshrinement
Robinson Cano (2B): But can the Yankees afford him when the team enters its Blighted Doom Season Of Luxury-Tax-Computation Frugality in 2014? Giggle giggle giggle - but seriously. If Cano sticks around and serves as a major contributor on another title team, he’ll spend eternity sleeping with the heroes of yesteryear, or something. That omnipresent, double-wide smile doesn’t hurt his case.
Mark Teixeira (1B): Wait ‘til we True Yankee™ cognoscenti get a look at his bunt-to-beat-the-overshift act this season. Why, in no time at all we’ll be throwing around adjectives like “cerebral.” Cerebrality (cerebralism? cerebralisticity?) makes the True Yankee™ heart thump contentedly, even if the individual being described as such often appears as worldly as a teamster.
Alex Rodriguez (3B): Not that this counts for much in the wake of the performance-enhancement scandale and all the horrific choking in every situation always ever, but A-Rod’s regular-season line as a Yankee is .295/.391/.550 (144 OPS+) and his playoff line is .260/.388/.480 (Jeter’s playoff line over that same seven-year stretch is .294/.354/.459). I’ll write on this some other day, but what A-Rod needs to do is turn heel. Kissing beat-reporter ass and saying the right things (“I care about nothing except winning. I could go 6-for-7 with 4 homers and 13 RBI and they’d be meaningless if we didn’t win. The collective trumps the individual. There is no ‘i’ in ‘team,’ ‘playoffs,’ ‘World Series,’ except for the ‘Series’ part, or ‘parade down the Canyon of Heroes’”) ain’t working for him.
Perhaps a True Yankee™ somewhere down the road
Abraham Nunez (utility): A lot would have to break exactly right for this to happen. To start, he’d have to be much better at baseball.
Not a True Yankee™ unless he donates a kidney to Yogi Berra
Eric Chavez (3B/1B): Lovely fella. Bones brittle like overdyed hair. Tendons strung tighter than solo rubber band around the Sunday NY Times. It’d sure be entertaining to watch the Internet cannibalize itself if Girardi pinch-hits him for Jeter against a tough righty, though.
A few years back, in the gauzy afterglow of yet another courageously magnificent Yankee championship, a few friends and I got to talking about the notion of being a True Yankee™. The conversation arose in the wake of the 2,000 post-title-coital stories speculating whether Alex Rodriguez had, by smacking two neo-Brosiusian clutch dingers and otherwise making a general nuisance of himself, earned his True Yankee™ stripes. As expected, everybody voted against A-Rod, because he’s kind of an ass.
Ah, but in this era of “reason” and “data-based decision-making” and “ignoring one’s gut, unless one’s gut calls for a Chipwich,” how might one formalize the True Yankee™ enshrinement process? Separately, are True Yankees™ born or made? Who’s the True Yankee™-est of them all? Is it possible to become a True Yankee™ without winning a title, or in less than a lifetime in pinstripes?
Those are the questions we’ll attempt to answer in this proto-Tweetablog (be a dear and follow us here). On a game-by-game basis, we’ll award points for hustle (+2), cool under pressure (+5), failing to pitch out or run or swing away when the stupidhead radio broadcaster says you should (+10) and ranging three steps to the right in the hole between short and third, stabbing the grounder backhanded, planting your fore-foot in the turf, hopping in the air with the springy gusto of a kangaroo and throwing the ball over to first base, whether or not it beats the runner to the bag (+25). We’ll subtract points for getting picked off (-5), dogging it (-8), blowing off the media after a rough outing (-12) and failing to consider the jealousy-inciting effect your paparazzi-documented trip to a Miami Beach haberdasher with Torrie Wilson might have on your noble, baseball-focused teammates (-75).
We’ll render verdicts on True Yankees™ from the past and speculate on the True Yankee™ potential of prospects. During HOPE Week, we’ll make a donation to the individual or group that best exemplifies what being a True Yankee™ is all about (inveterate bunters need not apply).
This will be fun, because baseball is fun. It’s true. Ask anybody. Say hello at TrueYankeePoints@gmail.com, won’t you?