There are certain people or things we make exceptions for or to which we give preferential treatment just because of what those things are. If my girlfriend makes a silly comment, I’m more likely to let it slide than if a friend of mine does. If I read a bad article by a certain writer who’s normally very good, I’ll give him or her the benefit of the doubt. When Mariano Rivera blows a save, I shrug it off. You get what I mean. Whether we like it or not, the same thing applies to Derek Jeter and the leadoff spot.
Derek Jeter is going to bat lead off because he is Derek Jeter, and no one is just coming out and saying it. Last night during the game, Michael Kay and John Flaherty were discussing the issue and mentioned that Joe Girardi said he doesn’t make decisions based on 2-3 week stretches (in re: Brett Gardner). That’s a good thing to hear, and I’m sure every manager thinks along the same way. And, to be fair, Gardner has been scuffling a bit since leaving for Chicago–.212/.317/.343/.663 not including last night’s game–so maybe there is something to taking him out of the leadoff spot. This begs the question, though, why was Gardner removed from the leadoff spot when he struggled in the first few weeks of the season? Eh, whatever, it’s not worth the hand-wringing, really.
But with Jeter, there have been over 1,000 plate appearances of mediocrity. The .336 OBP isn’t terrible, though, so that’s helping him stay afloat. Regardless, if anyone other than Derek Jeter was attached to those plate appearances, he would not be batting leadoff. Please, Joe Girardi, stop insulting our intelligence. We all know exactly why Derek Jeter is still batting leadoff: It’s because he’s Derek Jeter. Stop telling us it’s about numbers. Stop telling us it’s about comfort. Stop telling us it’s about performance. Based on all those things, I don’t think we can make a legitimate argument for Derek Jeter batting leadoff every day. He’s Derek Jeter and that’s why he’s batting leadoff. Just say it, Joe.
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