Derek Jeter should be given him the whole 2011 season, to either prove he still has it, or to prove to himself that he doesn't, Either way Jeter has earned this right, and then some.
In one of the most shameless, and repugnant displays I have ever seen in all my years of watching, writing, and commenting about baseball, the Yankee organization, and a large portion of their fan base, continue to throw Derek Jeter under the bus, because of one bad season.
Derek Jeter made his first appearance for the Yankees in 1995, the following year he won the Rookie of the Year Award and helped the Yankees win the 1996 World Series, Jeter also was the mainstay in the Yankees championship-winning seasons of 1998, 1999, 2000, and 2009.
Having played his entire career for the Yankees, and serving as the team captain since 2003, Jeter is now being vilified in the media, and on numerous Yankee fan websites as some aging, greedy, superstar.
What are the reasons behind these attacks on one of the most popular Yankees of all time? Brian Cashman and Jeter's One bad season, I should point out, it was indeed a down year for Jeter in 2010, but without a doubt most MLB teams would be ecstatic to have a shortstop on their roster, who played in 157 games, had 179 hits, batted .270, hit 10 HR's with 67 RBI's, and scored 111 times, and oh by the way, also won a Gold Glove.
It's almost comical, that I am writing this article at all, but the questioning of Jeter's abilities, and his slow start to the 2011 season has fueled the fire of discontent. I thought it was best to write an article reminding the Yankees organization, and it's fans just how much this man has done for the New York Yankees.
* 11“time Top 10 AL in hits (1997“2002, 2004“2007, 2009)
* 10“time Top 10 AL in runs scored (1997“2006,2009)
* 9“time Top 10 AL in batting average (1998“2001, 2003“2007, 2009)
* 1“time Top 10 AL in total bases (1999)
* 8“time Top 10 AL MVP (1997“2001, 2003“2009)
* 5“time Top 10 AL hitters (1997, 1999“2000, 2003, 2009)
* 6“time Top 10 AL in times on base (1997, 1999, 2005“2009
A Small Sample of some Jeter's Records
* Jeter holds the record for most singles all-time by a Yankee.
* Jeter became the Yankees' all-time hits leader, surpassing Lou Gehrig
* Jeter holds the record for most hits by a shortstop in Major League history.
* Barring injury in 2011, Jeter will become the first Yankee ever to have 3,000 hits
Jeter's legacy goes beyond his accomplishments on the field, since his debut in 1995, the Yankees under Jeter's direction, and leadership, placed high expectations for this historic franchise. Jeter laid down his policy for the Yankees when he said "Our only goal is to win the World Series, anything less is considered a failure"
Jeter also brought something else to the Organization...Class. Unlike controversial Yankees of the past such as, Reggie Jackson, Billy Martin, and of course the always front page hawking, and colorful owner George Steinbrenner, Jeter shunned the limelight. He was determined not to be fodder for any gossip columns, or have his picture splashed across the front page, caught in some kind of controversy.
Derek Jeter not only played, but lived by a strict set of rules, that he had laid out for himself. Play the game to win, Always play hard, and never do anything to disrespect, himself, his family, or the New York Yankees. Jeter is regarded as a consummate professional, by teammates and opponents alike.
In 2009 Jeter had a remarkable .334 batting average, and in 2010 when his average drop to .270, there were rumblings, both inside, and outside the organization about Jeter's age catching up to him. Very few people it seemed gave Jeter the benefit of the doubt, any number of reasons could have cause this one...I repeat ONE so called bad season. Injury, contract pressures, Personal issues, or any number of other factors could easily explain the off year for this Yankee legend. Somehow, The Yankees, and some fans claimed his 36 year old body was responsible. Despite hitting .334 the year before at the age of 35, Jeter now 36 was too old to be hitting at the top of the order, and playing shortstop.
The 2010 off season seemed to have become a turning point in Jeter's relationship with both the Yankees organization, and it's fan base. It seems that a line was drawn by Brian Cashman the GM of the Yankees, and it was clear, either you're with the Yankee organization, or you're with Derek Jeter.
During Jeter's free agent negotiations with the Yankees, it was obvious to anyone that Jeter would only be signing with the Yankees, the only contract questions that needed to be answered was for how much? and for how long?
For Brian Cashman that wasn't good enough for him, or his ego. With the death of George Steinbrenner the past season, and Steinbrenner's sons were by no means the media hogs that George was, Brian Cashman saw his opportunity to displace Jeter as the top dog in the Yankees organization. So, Brian Cashman determined to satisfy his ego, took one of the classiest baseball players of our generation, and dragged him into the gutter, and spat on him.
Cashman could care less about Jeter's goal of staying off the front page, Cashman was determined to push Jeter into a corner during his contract negotiations, and he cared little about Jeter's privacy or about his class. Cashman's played the media, and the fans like a fine violin. He let it be known to his "special" media friends, that "We've encouraged him (Jeter) to test the market and see if there's something he would prefer other than this. If he can, fine. That's the way it works." Knowing full well that, part of Jeter's contract was based on his legacy, and also his upcoming run to 3,000 hits. Cashman 100% knew that Jeter would not find a better offer, but still issued the challenge in the papers was made. What was Cashman's motive? To make Jeter look like a greedy player, and to make himself look like a responsible GM.
Cashman, at a WFAN event, was asked a question by a fan about the future of Jeter, and knowing full well this question would come up, Cashman made sure to stroke the blog talk fires by responding that he could foresee Jeter possibly shifting to the outfield before his new four-year deal was up. Cashman, knew beyond any doubt, that Jeter sooner or later would have a down period, and fans would pick up the "Jeter to the Outfield" baton, and run with it.
If Cashman was not trying to antagonize the situation, he could have easily said "Derek is our shortstop for 2011, at the end of the season, as we do with all our players, we will evaluate his play, and determine the best course for him and for the NY Yankees"
I must give credit to Cashman, he played this winter perfectly, crying that the contract they originally offered Jeter, would be the Yankees final offer, because The Yankees according to Cashman needed to be cash smart, and be frugal with the Yankees future dollars. Forget that the Yankees, just print money with their YES Network, and new stadium. According to Cashman the Yankees needed to control payroll. Cashman expertly portrayed Jeter as a greedy player, wanting to get paid for past deeds, while the poor Yankees only wanted to make sure the teams future would not be held hostage by an aging ballplayer.
Cashman during his negotiation with Jeter once again proved he was not only a fraud, but a hypocrite as well. Cashman knew that no other team would be able to pay Jeter's salary, low balled him, and told him to go find a better deal, knowing they were the only player in the game. Cashman the hypocrite had no such direct challenges to Alex Rodriguez.
When A-Rod opted out of his Yankee contact in 2007. After Cashman claimed that the Yankees would not be negotiating with A-Rod. A few short weeks later, when A-Rod who found no takers that would meet his 300 million dollar contract request, Cashman quickly offered A-Rod a 10-year, $275 million (With Incentives it could reach $300 million) contract that would have him playing until the ripe old age of 42.
Where was the frugal Brian Cashman's then? Why was Jeter a loyal, above board player given an ultimatum, But A-Rod who the Yankees knew was tainted with Steroids never given such an ultimatum? Why did Jeter have to be paid less than what he was asking for, but A-Rod received every penny he requested? Knowing Jeter had no other offers, the Yankees played hard ball, but A-Rod not having any suitors either, was welcomed back with opened arms?
I am actually more amazed, and sickened by how many Yankee fans, have turned their back on a player who cared only about bringing the World Series to the Bronx. If the captain had to go diving into the stands to accomplish it, he would gladly risk injury without hesitation. I am appalled that so many fans, along with Brian Cashman, and the Yankee organization have thrown Derek Jeter, The Yankee captain, legend, and future hall Of Famer, under the bus.
Of course the Yankees will make sure to squeeze out every single penny, from Jeter's chase for 3,000 hits. I am also 100% sure that before Jeter gets hit number 3001, Cashman, and his media henchman will already have the bus warmed up, and ready to go.
So many fans that respect Jeter are willing to give him the whole 2011 to either prove he still has it, or to prove to himself that maybe he needs a new plan for the next three years. Either way, Derek Jeter has earned the right to be given every opportunity, and then some to return to form.
I am amazed that for years, we heard about "The Yankee way," I guess, "The Yankee way" really means, as long as you are useful then we love you, no matter how many championships, no matter how many great moments you gave us, the moment you show us fans, even a hint of decline, we will run you over, and move on....Of course the Yankee Organization will welcomed you back with open arms to Old-timers day, so the Yankees can fill those $500 seats, and sell plenty of those $11 warm beers.
By Dominick Mezzapesa