Our DiMaggio

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I’ve been known to rip the Yankees, and I believe I’m right. They win because they spend and spend and spend and spend. If you do that, inevitably it’ll go right. Other teams sign a Jaret Wright or a Kei Igawa and they’re crippled for years. The Yanks do so and, eh, whatever. We’ll just buy other guys.

I digress. What I want to say here is that, while I often find the team’s tactics sub-righteous, I have great appreciation for Derek Jeter, the man I truly believe will go down as the second coming of Joe DiMaggio.

Like DiMaggio, Jeter doesn’t crave the spotlight. Like DiMaggio he is guarded and, often, intentionally dull. Much like DiMaggio, Jeter’s numbers don’t leap off the stat sheets, especially in the modern era of inflated numbers. Though Joltin’ Joe is rightly thought of as an eternal legends, his Baseball Reference page compares him most closely to men like Vlad Guerrero, Larry Walker and Chuck Klein. Why, eighth on the Similarity Score meter to DiMaggio is Moises Alou. Moises Alou!?

When Jeter is done, he’ll almost certainly have more than 3,000 hits and a batting average exceeding .300. He might even have 300 homers—though that’s kind of unlikely (he has 224 as we speak, and the power will certainly drop off when he approaches his late 30s). But his numbers—save for hits—won’t explode the retina. You’ll look, you’ll nod, you’ll be impressed. But then you’ll see Alex Rodriguez and Manny and even Ryan Howard and you’ll think, “Meh.”

What Jeter boasts, however, is aura. He walks it. He exudes it. More than any professional athlete I’ve ever seen or covered. He has Michal Jordan’s regal texture, but without the insufferable arrogance. He has Tiger Woods’ audience, but does more with it. He’s quick with a smile, a laugh, a kind word.

He’s not especially fun to cover, because he says little. But how can’t you appreciate the man?

11 thoughts on “Our DiMaggio”

  1. Wow. This is Exhibit A on why the mainstream media gets so little respect. Everytime I think your writing can’t possibly be any more trite, you go ahead and shatter my expectations. Well done.

  2. He plays the game the right way. He is like a coach on the field. He is a player my kids can look up to… Feel rfree to add the rest

  3. Ahhh the intangibles argument.

    The reason why Derek Jeter is going to be regarded as a good baseball player is because he’s a good baseball player.

    You really don’t have to make stuff up.

    Regal texture, aura, a quick smile, a laugh, a kind word Jebus. Do you work for Tiger Beat?

  4. Considering you’ve got a link there, Jeff, it wouldn’t seem that difficult to call Joltin Joe’s baseball-reference page by its proper name.

  5. Wow…

    I usually like your stuff, but this is awful. You lost all credibility by taking a shot at Jordan.

    MJ transcended basketball and sports in general. He is THE sports icon. Guys like Jeter just wear HIS clothes. Jeter is a great ballplayer who found himself in an even better situation, period.

    Funny, a sportswriter mentioning ‘insufferable arrogance’…

  6. So if winning is a matter of just spend and spend and spend and spend until inevitably it goes right, when are the Mets going to win another championship, let alone 4 in 5 years?

  7. I first covered Derek Jeter as he was about to graduate from high school. It was series of television reports called “Prodigies”. During a series of questions he was unfailingly modest and with each answer attempted to pass the credit to a teammate, his coach, his parents. He was high school player of the year, minor league player of the year, American League Rookie of the Year, MVP in the All-Star Game and World Series in the same year, has more hits than anyone in post season or World Series history. (I know, the Yankees played in more games, but he still accomplished more hits.) He is a first ballot unanimous selection for the Hall of Fame, and it couldn’t go to a more deserving player or person. He should be accorded that high honor because he’s played the game and conducted his life in the most exemplary way. He’s won the Roberto Clemente Award and several others of similar calling. He’s done all of this during the steroid era, and has been one, true light in the dimming world of our national sport. Woe be the sportswriter who selfishly tries to make a name for himself or herself by being the lone dissenter on the Hall. It would bring further ill-repute to our national sport. Derek Jeter is one player to look-up to by everyone, appreciatively, and one player the game will back upon as a golden boy in a not a so golden era in the sport and in our country. He’s maintained his personal integrity, decency, and the highest standards,…but in such a natural, unaffected way, because that’s how Dr. Jeter and Dot raised him. What a gamer in baseball and in life.

  8. Meh. He’s a shameless male slut. Dig a little deeper, Jeffy. I mean, sure, we’d all like to imagine the tail sports stars must pull in, but let’s not polish that “All-World Human Being” trophy just yet.

  9. hey jeff i appreciate the fact you do this for a living and i don’t, but the reason jeter is gooing to the hall of fame is because he is a great player. the reason derek jeter is a legend is the aura and mystigue he brings with him along with the silent leadership qualities he takes on the field with him everyday. i remember when he came up they said(reporters tec.) he was a flash in pan let’s see if can repeat that first year and he did year after year. 5 rings 4 gold gloves that’s why he going to the hall. and the yankees spending money so what. i heard something on espn radio the other day(believe it was the collin cowherd show) talking about the operating capitol of teams in baseball. you know who made the most money in ’08? the nationals…$50 mil and the least…the yankees they lost $50 mil. so all that money that the yankees pay to the other teams in baseball as a lux. tax where did it go ? not back into there team apparently. maybe if the rest of the baseball teams owners had the same win at all costs way of thinking they could actually put out a better product for there fans. until then thank god i’m a yankee fan and thank god the steinbreners are the owners.

  10. Wow, looks like there’s a lot of Jeter haters out there. I used to be one, but then the Red Sox won the World Series, and the “I Hate All Yankee” blinders were off. I realize that he is an excellent player, and while Jeter may speak in cliches, at least he’s not saying asinine things or becoming a distraction. Yeah, he’s probably a bit overrated, but I think that comes with the territory of the New York and mainstream media. I’m still not a fan of the Yankees, but I respect Jeter’s game, including his defense…

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