Sunday, July 10, 2011
Since I spent yesterday gushing about Derek Jeter, I suppose I need to defend myself.
Some readers are probably thinking - this guy's a Red Sox fan, how can he like Jeter?
This is why: First and Foremost - I'm a Baseball Fan.
Think about the athletes we have idolized over the past decade or so - Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro, Jose Canseco, Manny Ramirez, Alex Rodriguez, Lebron James, Brett Favre, Michael Vick, Ben Roethlisberger, Kobe Bryant, Tiger Woods, Lance Armstrong...Among this pack of losers Jeter has emerged as a freakin' Saint! No steroids, no rape accusations, no animal cruelty, no egotism, no perjury!
He has kept his nose clean and done his job.
The dude's a shortstop.
Other than catcher, that's the most physically demanding position in baseball.
The 5 players who have played the MOST games at shortstop: Omar Vizquel, Luis Aparicio, Ozzie Smith, Cal Ripken Jr. and Derek Jeter.
Out of this group, no other shortstop has more hits while playing the position or has played more games at short for one team than Jeter.
Most Boston fans HATE Jeter simply because he's so damn GOOD.
He's done a lot of damage against the Red Sox over the years...
Let's turn the clock back to 1997. The two BEST shortstops in baseball were Derek Jeter and Nomar Garciaparra. Jeter and Nomaaah were putting up BIG numbers. Boston fans LOVED #5.
In 2002 owner John Henry and the management team of Tom Werner and Larry Lucchino took over the Red Sox. They hired Theo Epstein as GM.
In 2003 Epstein tried to trade Manny Ramírez to the Texas Rangers for shortstop Alex Rodriguez. The MLB Players' Union wasn't too keen on the deal and put the kibosh on the trade. Naturally, the Yankees swooped-in and worked-out a deal for A-Rod.
Nomar got all bent-out-of-shape when he realized he was almost replaced by A-Rod.
Epstein, then, tried to unload Garciaparra to the White Sox for Magglio Ordóñez. That deal fell through too. So, now Nomar's really pissed!
Fast forward to Canada Day 2004.
The Red Sox are in the final game of a three-game series against the Yankees. New York has won the first two and are looking to sweep. Nomar is in the final year of his contract. He hates the Boston owners and Epstein. He tells management he can't play - he needs to rest his injured Achilles' heel(appropriate) - he sits! He's moping in the dugout.
The Red Sox and Yankees are tied 3-3 in the 12th inning. Derek Jeter goes after a Trot Nixon pop-up with runners on second and third. He runs, full-nuts - flies over the photographers' well and into the stands and makes the catch. He emerges from the seats, bleeding from the chin. The catch ends the 12th inning. On his way to the hospital the Yankees rally past the Red Sox 5-4 in the 13th for the sweep. By the end of the month Nomar is a Chicago Cub!
Which inspired Yankees' fans to make heartfelt videos such as this...
Sometimes, despite how much it hurts, you just have to tip your cap to the enemy.