Blog Entry

Playing Jeter is right move for Yankees

Posted on: July 6, 2011 6:36 pm
Edited on: July 6, 2011 6:46 pm
 
CLEVELAND -- Yes, it would be best if Derek Jeter gets his 3,000th hit at Yankee Stadium.

Isn't that obvious?

But yes, it was absolutely the right decision for the Yankees to play Jeter on Wednesday night at Progressive Field, even at the risk that he gets 3,000 in George Steinbrenner's beaten-down hometown, rather than in the gaudy stadium Steinbrenner built in the Bronx.

Isn't that obvious, too?

Whether you buy into it or not -- and for the most part, I do -- the image Jeter has carefully cultivated through 16-plus years in the big leagues is of a player who values winning over all individual achievements, a player who values consistency and wants to play in every game he can.

Chances are, Jeter doesn't get four hits Wednesday (he had two four-hit games in his first 64 games this season). If he gets one or two hits, he makes it significantly more likely that 3,000 comes in the Yankees' four-game homestand against the Rays, which begins Thursday night.

And that would be perfect.

"It would be a wonderful moment for him and our fans," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.

It would be a great moment for baseball. Whether you like Jeter or not, whether you cheer for the Yankees or not, you have to appreciate what he has meant, and what it means for him to become the first Yankee ever with 3,000 hits -- and the just the second player to get to 3,000 while still playing shortstop (Honus Wagner was the first).

And if somehow it happened Wednesday in Cleveland, it would still be a great moment. Then, on Thursday at Yankee Stadium, the Yankees could recognize Jeter before the game, and the fans could give him the ovation he deserves.

Jeter talked his way into the lineup Wednesday, telling Girardi in a conversation late Wednesday night and then in text messages that he wanted to play, and that the strained calf that cost him three weeks on the disabled list was not an issue.

Girardi said originally that he believed Jeter would need a day off this week, not to time the 3,000th hit but to keep him healthy. The manager made the decision Wednesday morning that Jeter would play Wednesday night, and would keep playing every day until the 3,000th hit.

"We want to get this over," Girardi said. "We want to give him every opportunity to do it before the All-Star break."

It's the right decision, so much so that the only thing that surprises me is that Girardi had to "sleep on it."

Even without the 3,000 issue, playing Jeter Wednesday would have been the right move.

Jeter has struggled all year, and last year, too. It's possible that his skills are in such decline that he can't be anything close to the player he once was.

But we've also seen great players rebound. We've seen, as one veteran scout put it, the lightbulb flicker a few times, then come back fully bright.

If that's going to happen with Jeter, it's going to happen because he gets in a groove at the plate. And while one well-struck ball doesn't mean he's headed for that groove, he did have that double into the left-center field gap Tuesday.

If that's a sign that he is headed for some kind of groove, a day off now would make no sense.

Playing Jeter was the right decision, the only decision.

Isn't that obvious?

Category: MLB
Comments

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Since: Nov 19, 2011
Posted on: December 3, 2011 6:57 am
 

Playing Jeter is right move for Yankees




Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 3, 2011 2:53 am
 

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Since: Nov 27, 2011
Posted on: November 27, 2011 2:38 pm
 

Playing Jeter is right move for Yankees



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Since: Oct 21, 2011
Posted on: October 21, 2011 8:21 pm
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