Sweeny Says: The Daily Derek Jeter Drama

By Sweeny Murti
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The Daily Derek Jeter Drama—is it beginning to wear on you yet?

Nobody’s temperature can be taken this many times in one 600-at-bat baseball season (Mike Francesa and I discussed that aspect of Jeter’s slow start earlier this week). But that’s what we’re doing because Derek Jeter is almost 37, and coming off his worst year ever, and hitting .250 a month into the first year of a new three-year contract.

Jeter’s run to 3,000 hits is supposed to be a celebration. But it really doesn’t feel like it right now, does it? Jeter isn’t like any other aging player. The Yankees need him to be a key member of a championship team.

Of the last 10 players to collect 3000 hits, only one has played on a team with a winning record when they recorded hit #3000 (Eddie Murray on the 1995 Cleveland Indians. The other 9 players—George Brett, Dave Winfield, Paul Molitor, Tony Gwynn, Wade Boggs, Cal Ripken, Jr., Rickey Henderson, Rafael Palmeiro, and Craig Biggio—were on teams that averaged fewer than 74 wins per year).

Jeter is on a team that is expected to win the World Series. There have been 19 players reach 3000 hits since divisional play began in 1969, and only Murray’s ’95 Indians and Roberto Clemente’s 1972 Pittsburgh Pirates made the postseason (the Indians lost to the Braves in the World Series in 1995, the Pirates lost to the Reds in the NLCS).

The Yankees need to be better in 2011. And to this point they have been, sitting in first place despite early and length struggles by Jeter, Jorge Posada, Brett Gardner, Nick Swisher…even Alex Rodriguez.

This week in Detroit, Jeter is showing signs of life. He was 3-for-9 over the first two games, some hard outs too. After going 1-for-4 Wednesday night, he came out of the game with some right hip discomfort and is considered day to day. His batting average still sits at a mere mortal-like .250.

After Tuesday night’s game, Jeter opened up just a little bit about his first month’s struggles and his struggle to find comfort with the much-talked-about new hitting style…

These days, with the 100 at-bat benchmark just past, Joe Girardi is being asked a lot of questions about Jeter. While answering hypothetical questions Wednesday about moving Jeter down in the batting order, Girardi stood by the Yankee Captain

Meanwhile, Girardi knows that measuring the Jeter Meter for fans and media has now become part of his daily routine as manager…

We know that Jeter has been in the New York spotlight since he was 21 years old. But this is taking on a new direction. This is the Truman Show. This show is on all the time and no one is turning it off.

Brian Cashman has said many times the Yankees play 162 one-game seasons, referring to how much importance is placed on each game by the public, each win or loss shifting the balance of how people feel about this team. Well think about Jeter’s year in those terms. He is currently playing 600 one-at-bat seasons.

Unless Jeter goes on a little tear here that lifts his average at least north of .275, this could be a yearlong exercise. To me, that’s the magic number. He can maintain a peaceful existence if he can stay over .275. But if he lives anywhere below the .270 mark he hit last year, the Jeter Show is going to be both hard to watch and impossible to take your eyes off at the same time.

We all know that Jeter can’t be forever young. So does he. But if the Yankees are going to be contending for a World Series championship this year, and the next two years after that, he will need to hold off time just a little longer.

Sweeny Murti

What do you make of the daily Jeter drama? Let Sweeny know in the comments below…

  • Bobby

    The level of scrutiny has everything to to with the $50m contract he signed….if he to a significant pay cut (as his production reflects) there would be much less handwringing.

  • john - valley stream,new york

    When all is said and done Derek Jeter will go down as one of the greatest Yankees and shortstops to have played the game yet for all he has accomplished people are trying to push him out the door and begin to talk about replacing him with the likes of a Jose Reyes who despite playing well will never be half the player Jeter has been. Jose Reyes has not proved he can hit in the clutch and much less be the leader Jeter is. Reyes short career has been one of injury, inconsistency,and at times someone who still needs to mature as a player. Right now he is playing well because it is the last year of his contract and he is all going all out to try and put up big numbers but in years past his refusal to play all out for the Mets shows the false side of a player who has talent but has a long way to go to even be considered as a Jeter replacement.
    This comment is from a die hard Met fan who has followed the team from it’s beginings and have seen players like Gary Carter,Bud Harrelson, Tom Seaver,and Mike Piazza go all out day after day for the love of the game. Hopefully Reyes gets shipped to Canada.

  • jt lewis

    When we watch a great athlete in decline we get upset , do we want him to take steroids and last forever?…..or do we celebrate the great ol veteran who did it the right way !!!

  • Randall

    I think people just hate on Jeter because the Yankees have the biggest payroll:


    He’s still a good player!

  • dabooch

    Stats what is the baseball game an extension of math class or the odds at the black jack table? 130 games to go and each day we have got to hear about 0-4, or 1-4 still batting a quarter, distractions because their are to many sports writers out their that have nothing else better to do, so they stir the proverbial pot. Here is a important stat from the last two games, the Yankees lose because they didn’t score enough runs and gave up to many 0 & 2, percentage winning 0%,, mull that over.

  • Moe

    Im sure these guys have super perks in their contracts. Perhaps they ought to have included being wheeled about the bases in a wheelchair ? :)

  • Fivetools22

    Jeter could never get a hit again as long as he lives as far as I m concerned and I would be just fine with that. There are very few individuals on this planet that have contributed to a sport or any business for that matter the way Jeter has. Take a look at your own daily lives and metaphorically speaking, see what your batting average is. Yeah, that’s what I thought !!!!!

  • Dominick Mezzapesa

    Yea but A-Rod is hitting only 6 points higher. makes you wonder why he hasn’t gotten the “Old Man Treatment” yet?

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