I’ll apologize for this in advance. There is virtually no place in the sports world you can go right now without seeing David Price on his knees trying to reel in that long flyball of Jeter’s bat. I suspect we are going to see that highlight again a few times.
Before it happened, I had made a conscious decision to ensure that this would be a Jeter-free zone. I mean, there had to be some harbor that could protect us from the storms of Jeter stories that we all knew would be everywhere.
But, after it happened, I realized that I wouldn’t be able to resist. Not for the lazy reasons. But, because there is an angle to this event that no one is writing. I simply don’t understand why so many people hate Derek Jeter.
(Caveat, we are only talking about sports hate, not REAL hate. If you REALLY hate Derek Jeter — or anyone you don’t know — please take your business elsewhere. This space is reserved for the sane.)
Look, I am just as sick of the Jeter coverage as everyone else. But, I understand it. I mean, 3,000 hits is a BIG deal. Huge deal. When I was working for the Devil Rays in 1999, I remember how much work went into preparing for Boggs 3,000th and, the lasting impression I took away was, this is hard to do and should be celebrated. In an era when a lot of hallowed records were sullied, 3,000 stands clean (mostly…I am looking at you Raffy). So, regardless of the hitter, this was going to get some juice. As it should.
But, even if you think it is overblown, is that a reason to dislike Jeter? In the end, it seems that the Jeter-hate comes from two or three sources: 1) He has been a good player on good teams that have beaten your favorite team; 2) The media covers him like he’s Elvis; 3) He is a Yankee.
Reasons 1 and 3 are certainly grounds to root against Jeter. I hope he never gets another hit. I was hoping he wouldn’t get any hits against us. But, that isn’t because I hate him. I simply don’t want players on teams we are chasing to perform well because I’d like for us to catch them. In fact, I root against Jeter just like I root against Ramiro Pena, no more and no less.
Reason 2, however, is the most interesting. Jeter obviously has no control over the amount of media coverage he receives. That kind of comes with the territory when you are the Yankee captain. Moreover, he doesn’t do anything to court the media, like his infield mate.
In the end, I think all the Jeter-hate is reminiscent of the Tebow-hate (back when Tim Tebow was a relevant athlete…you know…before the NFL). There isn’t any real reason to dislike him. He doesn’t seek attention, taunt opponents, or do any of the other things primadonna athlete-celebrities doe. Compare him to A-Rod and tell me where you come out. No, I think the people that “hate” Jeter really just are sick of him. Too much Jeter (just like too much Tebow) innately makes you turn away when more is offered.
But, that isn’t really a reason to sports-hate Jeter. (A hard lesson the Mrs. had to teach me about Tebow). In the end, the guy has been good for baseball. And I am glad to have seen him play. But I hope he takes the collar once play resumes after the break.