Saturday, September 27, 2014

Farewell Derek Jeter

Okay, this is a baseball post. So for many of you, see you tomorrow. But I love baseball, have opinions, and have a blog. So here are some observations from the bleachers:

I love Derek Jeter.   There, I admit it.  Even with all the hype, even though I'm not a Yankee fan, I think Derek Jeter is one of the finest and classiest ballplayers in history.  How classy?  Even though he's out of work starting Monday I bet he doesn't file for unemployment insurance.  I tip my cap. 

Yankee broadcaster, Suzyn Waldman, had the perfect line after Derek Jeter’s spectacular final-at-bat at Yankee Stadium (when he singled in the winning run) – “The last YANKEE has left the building.” Amen.

Clayton Kershaw deserves to win the National League Cy Young Award, the MVP, a Golden Glove, and the Heisman Trophy.

Wednesday night the Dodgers clinched the NL West at Dodger Stadium by defeating the Giants. However, had Milwaukee lost that day the Giants would have clinched the second Wild Card spot. So both teams would have had champagne locker room celebrations. This just points out the absurdity of two Wild Card teams. When 10 of 30 teams make it into the postseason that really diminishes the accomplishment.

Yes, more teams remain in contention, which boosts attendance, but at one times teams had to be the best. But MLB now eliminates those great pennant races. No longer are two teams vying for the division (or, at one time, league) championship, where when team can win 100 games and if the other wins 101 you go home – now both teams are in because the loser gets one of the Wild Cards. So the real final weekend suspense is who gets the second Wild Card slot. Wow! That’s like the big suspense at the Oscars is which movie finishes fourth for Best Picture?

MLB wonders why the World Series isn’t as big an attraction anymore. First of all, there are three playoff series in each league that occur before we even get to the World Series. Plus, since there is so much interleague play now, there is no longer any novelty from the National League playing the American League.

I’m rooting for the Kansas City Royals.
I’m sure when the schedule makers arranged for the Yankees to end the season in Boston they just assumed it would be a big series. Who knew that both teams would be eliminated? Kansas City at Chicago and Oakland at Texas are big series.

Considering the Tigers’ pitching staff and lineup, they should have run away with the AL Central. Same with the Dodgers in the NL West.

Yasiel Puig is such an exciting player. But he may be the dumbest Dodger since Pedro Guerrero, although it will take way more idiocy to reach Pedro’s level. Guerrero was on trial for drug trafficking and his defense team argued that he was too stupid to know what was going on. He won. His IQ is listed as 70.

Corey Kluber of Cleveland could sneak in and win the AL Cy Young Award. King Felix pitches tomorrow. It behooves him to throw another no-hitter.

Bud Selig really is retiring, right? I mean, this isn’t like Cher? He’s really going?

How about for the World Series we make the losing team the Wild Card World Series champion so both teams can celebrate the final game of the season?

41 comments:

Marcus said...

I can appreciate you admiration of Jeter as a super-talented baseball player, but the stories of his off-field (sexual) antics paint a picture of him as being a total slime ball.

Makes you question what you'd hope people will say about you at your funeral.

"He was a great at what he did."

Or

"He was a douche bag as a person."

Michael said...

Marcus, for all of that, Tiger Woods makes him look like a monk. To put it another way, a rich, handsome, single young man is a playboy. While I don't condone his behavior, I also don't know of anything he did that was illegal or violated the marital contract. That said, this farewell tour was more than a little tiresome.

As for Ken's complaints, I will paraphrase Red Smith on Bowie Kuhn: none of these problems would have come up if Bud Selig were alive. Or as Bob Costas put it during one of his encyclicals, baseball has to be great to survive the people who run it.

blinky said...

If Jeter is so great how come he didn't do a special dance when he drove in that run? You know, like every football player does after every play they make? Now that I think about it, maybe that is why golf is boring: no dances after every shot.

Ray Barrington said...

Of COURSE the owners don't know what they're doing. They're money people. Darn few baseball people (with the exception of, say, Bill Veeck). Come to think of it, it may have been Veeck who said "Baseball is like religion - great game, lousy owners."

Scooter Schechtman said...

Derek Jeter ruined rodeo for me! (thread callback, thanks Scotty B).

sanford said...

Selig was far from the worst commissioner of baseball Ken did not mention the stupid all star ruling, making the league that won get home field advantage. The amount of money the league has made has increased by billions of dollars. More new baseball stadium. And yes I know cities were held hostages, but that is on them for not standing up. There are not many places teams could go where they would get good local tv deals and draw a lot of people. The PED scandal certainly goes on the bad part of his resume. He was on the Brewers broadcast and he talked about playing games over seas next year. I am against that. I suppose he sees football going to London twice a year and thinks baseball will draw crowds.

As for wild card teams. I tend to agree with Ken. However it is a lower per centage than football, basket ball or hockey. I can see why they do this. You keep people going to games late in the season. It does give fans hope that their teams can participate. However I dislike seeing mediocre teams have a chance make it to the World Series. I don't think the play offs are what is hurting ratings. The games start too late on the east coast and even in the midwest the games are not over until close to 11. There is college football on almost every night. With football on Sunday, Monday and Thursday I am guessing there is some overlap. I don't know if inter league play has run its course. One would have to look at attendance records to see if that is the case. With the Astros move to the American League inter league play has become a necessity. I don't know if it is possible but I would like to see 2 more teams added and go to 4 8 team divisions. 2 divisions in each league and no wild card. Of course that would take us back to pre 1960 with fewer teams making the play offs. I think they could put a team back in Montreal if they played with a retractable roof. San Antonio is a pretty big city. I don't know why they couldn't put a team there.

Finally while they hype was too much, one had to love how that game ended.

Dan Ball said...

The only thing I really hold against Jeter is that he was a Yankee. If he'd played for the Royals all this time, we'd be like, "Derek who?".

Still, the best shortstop who was a lifer for one team, IMH-and-dripping-with-bias-O, was Barry Larkin.

DwWashburn said...

Totally agree with your Wild Card assessment -- in any sport.

Time was you had to defeat 9 teams to win your league pennant. Then in 1969 you only had to defeat 5 teams in your division to get into post season. With the original break into three divisions, there was one division (AL West) where you only had to defeat three. Now with the Wild Card expansion you don't even have to defeat that many. Remember last year? The third place team in the NL Central went to post season. Couldn't even beat the four teams in their division, came in third, and got post season money.

When there were 14 teams in the AL I thought that Selig would break the league into 7 divisions so that the Yankees and Red Sox could have their own division. It seems like in the last twenty or so years, these are the only two teams that Selig or any of the television networks care about. The AL and NL Central are still not decided and TBS is going to show Yankees-Red Sox tomorrow? That says it all.

I was hoping that either Joe Torre or (dream upon dreams) Bob Costas would have been elected new commissioner. Don't know much about the new guy but he HAS to be better than Selig.

MikeK.Pa. said...

Living 90 miles from NYC, there is no bigger anti-Yankee fan than me. However, I waive that venom for Jeter, who deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio and Mantle. He was class from the first day he step on the field and truly a role model for any kid who wanted to learn how to play the game right.

On the Cy Young/MVP, I'm a traditionalist (which means I still hate the DH). Cy Young is for the best pitcher. MVP is for the best player. I can't see how a pitcher who makes 32 starts a year can be more valuable than an everyday player who hits .300, 30 HR and 100 RBI.

I guess the sabermetrics experts in the group would argue with WAR (wins above replacement). Sorry. And to me the MVP is the best player in the league, regardless if his team makes the post-season or not. The Washington Post agrees with Ken. (http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fancy-stats/wp/2014/09/23/clayton-kershaw-deserves-to-be-mvp/)


One final pet peeve. I can't stand hearing TV announcers rave about post-season records for most hits, games, RBI, etc. When Foxx, Ruth, et al played, the most games they could play in post season was 7 - the World Series. No NLCS, NLDS or play-in games. So, please stop with the accolades when the field isn't level. This concludes my rant. Thank you.

JacktheJays fan said...

Have to disagree Ken. Wild card #1 provides the possibility of a team with a better record than a division winner to qualify for playoffs eg when Yankees were winning 100 + games, the Jays might win 98 (wishful thinking) but never get farther yet Detroit wins their division with 92 ? Look at who the Jays had to play 16 times ? Wild card # 2, eg Tampa, might have 96 wins and had to play Dodgers, Giants and Nationals in interleague while Jays played Philly, Mets and Marlins to get their 98 wins. Does Tampa not deserve a chance to knock out the Jays in a one game playoff ? Seems fair to me especially compared to the NFL when a wild card can get to the Superbowl with sudden death 1 game wins. Baseball is FAIR !

tb said...

That was as close to a "Kirk Gibson" moment that I've seen since Kirk's homer. I mean. come on, last at bat at home after a twenty year career, bottom of the ninth, tie score, two outs, he drives in the winning run. That was freakin' EPIC!!

Mike Barer said...

You never have to apoligize for what you blog. That is the beauty of the blog. It's your work and it's what you want to do! Also, I love you baseball posts and wish that you would do more!

Cap'n Bob said...

There's a snowball's chance in Hell that the Mariners will make the post-season, but hope springs eternal.

The Royals? Blecch! I'd like to see a Nats-Tigers World Series. Detroit can use the revenue.

Jerry said...

I was coming over here to post that I didn't want to see anymore baseball posts here. Than I read the first comment about Jeter's sex life and habits, so I went back to read the post thinking it would be okay. Well I didn't find anything in there about sex. So no more baseball posts! You could have mentioned how Jeter rubs his dick with paprika and ground lamb to last longer, then this would've been worth reading!

James said...

I have a baseball question for you. I was watching the Dodger game last night with Vin Scully. Today I heard a little of the NY/Bosox game. What's your opinion of the 1-man vs. 2-man (or more) booth?

Joseph Finn said...

And also, a fine goodybye to the great Paul Konerko. It's good to see some appreciation for an excellent competitor who was also a team player and wiling to step aside when he wasn't getting the job done in the field.

Bob B. said...

I'm a die hard Cardinals fan, but I think the World Series will be Nationals/Angels. I would love for it to Cards/Angels so that Albert could come back to St Louis and get the ovation he deserves. But the Cards are limping into the postseason so they'll be gone in round one.

As for Puig, I heard people on MLB network talking that he might be on the trading block in the offseason. I think his abilities far outweigh any brain farts he gets every now and then. If he does get on the market, I'd like to see the Cards make a stab at him.

Kathleen said...

@Dan Ball

YES!!!!

@BobB

A friend of mine (referring to the Cardinals indirectly) said, "Which team always pulls it out at the end of the season?"

I pretended to ponder for a minute, then replied, "Not the Reds!" GRRRXXXXX. Though I really admire Castellini and the Reds organization. They do a great job in making games "family friendly" and are doing tremendous outreach to the community (rebuilding run down ball fields in the poorer areas of the city). But get some hitting for crying out loud!

I love your baseball posts, Ken, and could read one every day!

Ah ha! wv is "513" - area code for Cincinnati! Cosmic, I tell you!

Phantom Dreamer said...

The Jeter love fest has just been too much. Jeter was a great player but the coverage of his farewell tour has been over the top. For a guy who has the reputation for putting team above himself, he's craved the adulation. He saw the reception Rivera got last season and Jeter wanted more, demanded more, required more.

Anonymous said...

Huh. Didn't realize he was black until I saw the picture.

Matt said...

I hate to say this but your contention that another wild card team is not valid is an allegiance to times past.

I am a Seattle Mariners fan. The new one game playoff has kept Seattle in contention until today. In fact they still have a slight chance. Without the new system I would have been bored three weeks ago.

10 of 30 is not an absurd number to make the playoffs.

As for Jeter, I think he has probably been given too much credit for the success of the Yankees of the early 2000s. His statistics are good, but they are not Ruthian. He is a hall of famer, but not a top 10 Yankee. However, I can't fault him for his "sexual antics." They have all been consensual and are what most men would dream of.

Matt said...

@Phantom Dreamer,

What I don't get is why other teams give him presents?

As a fan of those other teams I am offended. What has Jeter ever done for the Seattle Mariners that we should give him a present. At best we should make a donation in his name to Seattle Children's Hospital.

The adulation of Derek Jeter is not warranted, but it isn't warranted for any sports star.

Dan Ball said...

@Kathleen:

The Reds are becoming synonymous with inconsistency. When everyone's on their A-game, they do fine. However, they rarely coordinate that to happen at the same time, and we get seasons like the one we had this year. Not to mention Votto's becoming a perennial fixture on the DL. I like the guy, but for cryin' out loud, play more carefully, dude. Bruce is the new Drew Stubbs. Cozart's still Cozart. We'll see about Billy Hamilton--hopefully his bat can be more consistent. Now that Arroyo's gone, there's pretty much a full roster of great starters. Ondrusek and Hoover shouldn't be allowed anywhere near a Reds pitching mound.

They just signed an extension with Jocketty, but I'm not sure how I feel about that. I feel like Dusty was a great manager, but just wasn't great in the off-season (or when a struggling pitcher needed pulling). I still think Price will be great himself, but he's only going to be as good as the players he's got and as good as the players the front office let him have. This season, he got crap on both fronts, so I don't feel like it was a good indicator of his abilities as a manager. When he's got a full roster of healthy sluggers and pitchers and there's leadership in the clubhouse, we'll see how he does. I think he's definitely got the players' attention and respect, but it was just a crappy season of--hopefully--transition.

Mike said...

Derek Jeter is a tremendously overrated player. His offensive stats are not that great. People say, yea but he was a shortstop. The problem is he was a terrible defender at shortstop. By some advanced stats, the WORST DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF ALL TIME. You can't give him credit for shortstop if he can't play it well. And he didn't move over for the superior defender ARod when he had the chance. So he is not a team player either.

Peter said...

It's also been reported that Derek Jeter has herpes and gave them to Jessica Alba.

Load said...

Derek Jeter Herpes Tree. Google it.

DrBOP said...

It's kinda funny how your blog has taken up some space in the old brainpan.....as the afterglow of Jeter's hit was settling in, I'm hearing at least a couple of announcers saying "You couldn't have scripted it any better." ; and my mind immediately went to "Oh, I'd like to see what Ken might have done with it."

GET OUT OF MY HEAD, DAMMIT!

:+)

And Selig sucks!

Phantom Dreamer said...

The Mariners gave him a seat from the Kingdome where he got his first big league hit.

canda said...

Derek Jeter may not have the all the skills of some other all-star players, but he is absolutely great at two things - playing hard and winning.

sanford said...

To Matt's posts. I get how you feel. As a Brewers fan a wild card was going to be the only way they were going to get in at the end. No ten teams is not a lot compared to the other leagues. But as I said in a previous post I hate seeing just average teams make it. If Selig hadn't stopped baseball in 94 there was a good possibility that less than 500 team would have made the playoffs. As to all the teams giving Jeter gifts, they did it for Rivera and I believe every team gave Konerko something. I don't have nay problem with it. While Jeter was probably not the best Yankee he was a great player, played hard, and stayed out of trouble.

Anonymous said...

For all you people who don't think that much of Derek Jeter, How many other shortstops in history have nearly 3500 hits, four World Series rings, and made a play like he made against the A's in the playoffs to nail Giambi?

The answer is you could count them on one hand and still have a couple of fingers left over.You people need to see the game a little better.

MikeN said...

That play against the As to nail Giambi. Watch it again. The ball isn't headed to the dugout or the stands or anywhere else. If he doesn't make that play, the ball goes right down the line to the catcher.

VP81955 said...

In a way, I feel sorry for Derek Jeter.

Save for the tail end of his career when he was with the Mets, the marvelous play of Willie Mays was chronicled by Russ Hodges, a solid baseball broadcaster. Mike Schmidt's highlights were called by Harry Kalas, who's in my holy trinity of announcers (the other two are Ernie Harwell and Vin Scully -- and while Scully has announced the many memorable moments of both Sandy Koufax and Clayton Kershaw, has there been an L.A. Dodger everyday player at the level of Mays, Schmidt or Jeter? I can't really think of one).

But in contrast to Willie and Schmitty, the voice who'll be identified with Jeter's great plays is John Sterling, a pompous, blowhard hack (imagine blending Ted Baxter with Kenny Bania) whom I wouldn't let within 100 feet of my team's broadcast booth. (George Steinbrenner did, and for that reason alone I refuse to go along with the tabloid references to him as "Boss.") Many Yankees fans despise Sterling and his inane bombast.

BTW, I'm crossing my fingers and pulling for the Nationals to reach the World Series. D.C. hasn't had an MLB champion since the 1924 Senators.

AAllen said...

Logically, teams should play other teams in their own division at the end of the season to play up a possible pennant race. Now that someone has to play an interleague game every day, they can't do that for everyone. And for some reason, the Mariners played Toronto this week: same league, wrong division. So, to plug up that problem they added a second wild card, so that there will still be some interest even if you're on the other side of the continent. I'm happy that the M's are still in contention, but the more you try to tinker with things, the more you have to tinker with things.

Paul Gottlieb said...

Pedro Guerrero may not have done well on his IQ test, but he understood the essentials. Once Tom LaSorda was giving the Dodgers a pep talk about how the always needed to be thinking out in the field. He Asked Guerrero what he was thinking, and Pedro said "I hope the ball to me." Dissatisfied, LaSorda said "What else are you thinking?" Guerrero demonstrated his high baseball IQ by answering "I hope they don't hit it to Steve Sax!"

Kathleen said...

@Dan Ball

I think your observations are spot on. While I loved and admired Dusty, I felt Castellini needed to make a change. My feeling is that Dusty was exhausted and that his bout in the hospital a couple of years ago during the playoffs was more serious than was communicated.

I also agree that Price definitely has the potential, and as Paul Daugherty used to say when Dusty managed, if the players can't execute don't blame the coach, though I once read on Jim Brosnan's book The Long Season that stranding too many runners was a management problem so there's that. I don't have the baseball savvy to address that intelligently.

Pitching was stellar this year. Price made excellent point about Chapman's grit in coming back so strongly after his concussion. Cueto's going for 20 today and I hope he gets it, though I am rooting for "Not The Cards" to take NL Central and Any Other Not The Cards (even the hated Dodgers, carryover from my years living in Stockton, CA and being a Giants fan) to take the Series.

I've enjoyed "chatting" with you. While I love the Reds I've lost interest this season.

Mary Stella said...

When 10 of 30 teams make it into the postseason that really diminishes the accomplishment.

Except if you're not one of those 10 teams. Say you're a Phillies fan like I am and just finished a horrible season. Now you look at that and think, "Geezus, we are the suckiest of the sucky when we can't be one of the 10 playoff teams."

Mike Barer said...

Interleague play may do it's part to diminish the World Series, however, the NFL has AFC and NFC teams playing and it's the largest attraction ever. I remember the beginnings of the Super Bowl, the idea of it becomming bigger than the World Series seemed ludicrous.
Now, I think more watch a regular season NFL game than the Series.

Hank Gillette said...

Ken,

You may not have any control over this, but when I click on the comments, the software takes me to the bottom of the page and inserts the cursor in the comment box.

I don’t comment that often, and even when I do, I prefer to read the other comments first, so every time I go to the comments I have to scroll up to the top of the page, which is annoying.

If this is an option you can configure, I would urge you to change it.

LBprGuy said...

I think the World Series is not that big an attraction for the OPPOSITE reason as you: Not enough playoffs. Baseball would be better served adopting the playoff structures of the other leagues and marketing a longer, more compelling season-ending tournament. Reduce the season to 144 games, give the division winners a clear advantage (wear out the other team's pitching staffs with extra playoff games, no road games, etc.) and get the young stars from mid-level teams featured in the post-season. Baseball has already given away the fall to football, they need something to reclaim August (end the season early, start the tournament) for themselves.

Anonymous said...

I was never quite sure of why Jeter was considered this amazing humanitarian?

I guess thanks to the NFL, we're setting the bar pretty low when it comes to class.

I don't remember Jeter doing anything too douche-y, and next to A-Roid, he looks like a prince, but other than that, what's so great about him?

It's easy to be a nice guy when you get over $20 million a year, date actresses and supermodels, and get gold gloves and all-star appearances you obviously don't deserve.

I had to sit out baesball this year, because I was so sick of hearing about the Derek Jeter farewell tour.