Thursday, May 26, 2005

LET'S GO TO THE VIDEOTAPE

Well Derek Jeter made another fine play in the field yesterday. They just may have to update his Yankeeography again. Jeter's Catch is second only to the catch he made when he flew into the stands against Bostonlast season. The players were amazed at the Captain's heroics, Robinson Cano escaped injury as Derek mowed him over in the process. With the Yankees' 4-2 victory last night, the Yankee Chien-Ming (Don't Call Me Tiger) Wang gave Joe Torre a reason not to skip his turn in the rotation next time around, in 6 1/3 innings, he allowed only five hits while not walking a single batter. Wang lowered his ERA to a more than respectable 4.09 and threw just 77 pitches (46 for strikes) in mowing down 19 hitters. Wang rightly receives praise in the Post's space today, as he also does in Snoozeday.
The Yankees try for the sweep tonight as Jeremy Bonderman opposes Kevin (I am throwing good, they just found holes) Brown at 7 PM tonight. Of course Boston comes in for the weekend.

1 comment:

sfigueroa said...

ESPN is big league sports. It provides more sports coverage to the world than anyone. More than any sports page. More than Fox Sports. More than even the great Sports Illustrated. If you want to watch highlights of your team’s game, you watch Sportscenter.

Or Baseball Tonight.

Or NBA Fastbreak.

NFL Primetime.

College Gameday.

You don’t watch the local news. You don’t watch The Best Damn Sports Show Period. You stay as far away from George Michaels’ Sports Machine as you do Monster-In-Law.

And yet, as great as it to have ESPN and its worldwide coverage, the opinionated sports entity still manages to push just the right buttons of the sports fan.

Or in this case, the Yankees fan

That’s not going to get me any sympathy. People hate the Yankees. Despise them. Some care more about loathing the Yankees than loving their own team. Millions have been made selling the t-shirts. Some of these shirts have words ‘Yankee’ and ‘suck’ in the same sentence. Others show pictures; gorily detailed animated pictures.

Websites are devoted to the Yankees sucking; they sell the t-shirts. They trash Derek Jeter and his skills. Just trash him.

ESPN.com isn’t one of those websites. It doesn’t sell the t-shirts. It doesn’t trash Jeter.

But it doesn’t like the Yankees. And it doesn’t like Derek Jeter.

Jeter made a diving, over-the-shoulder catch in Wednesday’s 4-2 win over the Tigers. He landed on Robinson Cano. Cano overran the ball by inches. The tying runs were on base. If that ball drops its 4-3 with one man out and the winning run on base. It was a big play.

Thursday’s Sports Nation poll question:

“What’s your reaction to Derek Jeter’s latest highlight catch?” The choices:

Option A - His best ever. (10%)

Option B - Amazing but his others were better. (40%)

Option C - Big Deal, Cano would have caught it. (50%)

Big Deal, Cano would have caught it. And that one is winning. Of course Option C is winning.

Excuse me? Why is this even a choice? Why can’t we just admit that the guy made a great catch? Harold Reynolds can admit it on Baseball Tonight. So can Peter Gammons. But the cyber-geeks running ESPN.com, they just can’t accept that Jeter made a great catch. Just can’t accept it. They reject it from their thoughts like an undercooked tuna steak.

And why? Because ESPN is Bristol, Conn. And Bristol is Red Sox Nation. And Red Sox Nation hates Derek Jeter. Despises him. There are t-shirts to prove it. They sell them on the websites.

They won’t give credit to Jeter for any play he makes. There is always a contributing factor.

Jeremy Giambi in Oakland? Giambi should have slid they say. He would have been safe if he slid. Others say he was safe anyway, despite the fact that stop-motion replays show Jorge Posada tagged Giambi before his foot touched the plate.

Last July against the Red Sox? He didn’t need to jump into the stands they say. He leapt in there for dramatic effect. He could have stopped himself before that. He could have done that and torn a hamstring. Then he could have helped the Yankees from the disabled list.

Wednesday against the Tigers? Big deal, Cano would have caught it.

Except that, Cano may not have caught it. The over-the-shoulder catch is baseball’s most difficult. Willie Mays is credited for baseball’s greatest catch ever; it was over-the-shoulder and it saved a World Series for the Giants. He ran a mile to catch it.

Cano has 20 games of big league experience. Jeter has over one thousand. Cano gets the benefit of the doubt after 20 games. Jeter can’t get it after 10 years.

If Miguel Tejada makes that catch we’ll hear more about how he’s the best shortstop in the game. He is. He makes that catch and we’ll hear about how hard he plays. We’ll hear about how he’ll do anything for the Orioles to win. But there wouldn’t be an Option C in that poll question for Tejada. There wouldn’t even be a poll question.

No one plays harder than Jeter. No one plays smarter. The guy has baseball sense that you can’t teach. New Yorkers see it. Reynolds sees it. Gammons too.

But not Bristol. Not the Nation. They refuse to see it. They refuse to accept that the guy can make a great play. Jeter doesn’t get that respect.

And he never will. Not from Bristol. Not from the Nation. Not from anyone who thinks he’s overrated.

What a shame. In a time when baseball needs to shine the spotlight away from steroids, there is a guy in New York playing the game the way it’s supposed to be played. The way you’d want your sons and daughters to play the game.

Maybe Cano makes the catch. Maybe he doesn’t. He didn’t. Jeter made it. Saved a run. Saved the game.

Just another day of work for Jeter.

Just another day for Bristol and the Nation to ignore it.