The Daily News’ John Harper wrote a piece before last night’s game that completely misses the mark about Jeter’s 2 mini-game slump on his way to tying Gehrig’s Yankee Hit record last night. He writes:
In a world where the Yankees almost never lose anymore, Derek Jeter’s unlikely detour on the road to pinstriped immortality is practically inconsequential. But it sure is odd.
Hard to say which is more un-Jeter-like: looking as if he’s allowed the Lou Gehrig milestone to get to him at the plate, where he is now officially slumping, or pulling a no-show with the media after the game last night. No doubt he’ll say he didn’t want to intrude on Nick Swisher’s night, after Swisher hit two home runs, including a walk-off shot to right in the ninth to give the Yankees a 3-2 win over the Rays.
But obviously it’s bugging Jeter that his expected coronation as the Yankees’ all-time hit leader has turned into intrigue. As in: what’s wrong with the captain?
Jeter has built up such a resume as a clutch hitter that you wouldn’t think he is suddenly feeling the pressure to get the four hits necessary to pass Gehrig. Then again, the Yankee shortstop is so famously about team and winning that you wonder if trying to reach such a personal achievement is messing with his baseball equilibrium. Not only is he 0-for-12 in three games the last two days, but he struck out three times last night for the first time all season.
This is what’s wrong with some local Baseball writers in most cities and many fans. Totally one-sided examination of a tiny sequence of events with no sense of context added whatsoever. The two pitchers he faced were David Price and Matt Garza. Do you think that may have had something to do with his struggles? On the night Garza pitched the Yanks mustered a grand total of 5 hits against Garza in 7 innings, 3 of them by A-Rod. The next night, Price allowed only 3 Hits in 6 innings of work. Nobody else was hitting either, but we weren’t micro-analyzing the other 8 guys in the lineup. These are the kinds of things that go on all the time in Baseball, but we only notice them when the spotlight is on a certain player. This is what’s been happening to Alex Rodriguez since 2004, as he’s continued to win MVP awards and produce at an elite level.
Next, about his no-show after the game. Until you ask him what his schedule was, you don’t know whether he was ducking reporters or not. He may do this from time to time, but you only notice it when he was chasing a record. Also, on a personal note this is one of my pet peeves about sports journalists. They try to make themselves part of the story when they go down this road. As a fan, nobody cares whether these athletes make your job easy or not. Most fans work jobs much tougher than either sportswriters or professional athletes do, so the last thing they want to read is one of these guys whining about their troubles at the office. Many beat writers also have this big hang up about the big, strong highly paid athlete disrespecting the frumpy, nerdy low paid guy with pencil in his hand. If you feel that way, see a psychiatrist. Again, nobody cares.
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