Yesterday, we spoke at great and tedious length as to why Derek Jeter, the New York Yankees shortstop with the Irish mother (half Irish half German), should not have scooped the Gold Glove for his position in 2010.
Today, we felt bad about it.
So, let's look at the other side to Jeter. He isn't just a terrible defensive shortstop, who has trouble with anything even slightly beyond his comfort-range. He is also one hell of a classy dude. The Yankees will no doubt figure this into the equation as they prepare their new contract presentation to Team Jeter. That, his clutch bat and what he means to the pinstripes in terms of history are the main reasons why the Yankees will sign Jeter to a big contract that should put him in said pinstripes the remained of his stories career.
Something Derek Jeter, the Yankee shortstop, said during the MLB season just past brought this train of thought to mind. After all these years of living and plying his trade in the potentially corrosive and explosive New York market, how amazing is it that there has never been one bad word said about Derek Jeter?
Let’s face it, he is one classy fella.
In the midst of the late season Boston Massacre, when the Yankees effectively put Boston to bed, Red Sox starter Josh Beckett hit Jeter with a pitch. Several Yankee players took a step up in the dugout, glaring at the Boston pitcher. Jeter? He shrugged it off completely, showing his free flowing and easy going knowledge of the game with a simple explanation; “Nobody’s going to hit you with the bases loaded,’’ said Jeter. “Especially after I’d had so much success [two strikeouts and a ground out] earlier.’’
No drama, no fuss, nothing to see here folks, move along. Jeter should consider a political career, you know, if he ever hangs up his cleats. During the same game Sox second baseman Bill Hall slid in to second to break up a double play, Jeter danced out of his way and then patted him on the back as he popped up out of his slide. He said something, they laughed, and the game moved on without incident.
It isn’t just his actions around the diamond.
How incredible is it that a rich, eligible, high profile bachelor like himself, existing in the often insane media circus that is New York has left not one shred, not one tiny morsel of a crumb of evidence of anything other than exemplary behaviour? Nothing. He is the anti Ben Rothlisberger.
Type the words ‘Derek Jeter controversy’ into Google. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Try a Google image search with the same three words. Absolutely nothing. The acid test as far as any athlete is concerned is the following. Enter ‘Derek Jeter drunk’ in a Google image search. Nothing at all of consequence. Now try the same with Josh Hamilton. Cue endless pictures of the Rangers slugger cavorting with semi clad teens in a collection of various bars and parties. Try the same with Ben Rothlisberger, and your computer will explode.
Derek Jeter either has the most efficient, amazing Bag Man at his side, of all time, or he basically is as ‘clean’ as he looks. It is not just in the high profile, high energy New York market that Jeter manages to carry himself with such grace. On the diamond, he is a classy and respectful competitor. He plays the game the way it was meant to be played.
What is most interesting of all, Derek Jeter plays for the Red Sox greatest and most hated rival, and yet the vast majority of Red Sox fans would have to admit, they would love to see him patrol the hallowed turf between third and second base at Fenway Park, not as a Yankee, but in the home whites.
Us lonely Red Sox fans are left to wonder 'what if?' when his current contract runs out this off-season. As the Yankees disappeared over the horizon in 2010, with the Rays, far out of reach of the struggling Sox, all us Sox fans could do in terms of Jeter and the player and individual that he is, is tip our caps, and say, ‘well done, Sir.’
Let’s face it, it’s what he would do.