Tag:Derek Jeter
Posted on: October 21, 2011 7:14 pm
Edited on: October 21, 2011 7:16 pm

Fair or not, Albert just doesn't get it

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Albert Pujols says it's not fair.

I'm saying he still doesn't get it.

Not the way Michael Young does. Not the way Derek Jeter does.

Not the way Hideki Matsui does.

"I'm not trying to help the media," Matsui tells the huge contingent of Japanese reporters who he talks to before and after every game. "I'm helping the fans."

He's helping you understand what happened in the game you just watched, just as Pujols did Friday, when he finally gave the answers he should have given Thursday night.

Yes, he said, he should have caught center fielder Jon Jay's throw in the ninth inning of Game 2. Yes, he said, it was right that he was charged with an error on the play.

"It hit my glove," he said. "As soon as I saw [Ian] Kinsler take a big turn at third base, I thought I had a chance at him. I took my eyes off the ball, and I missed it. It was a good throw. I maybe make that catch 99 times out of 100."

And that's the best -- and most accurate part -- of what Pujols said Friday.

The worst part was when he claimed that he had no idea any reporters had wanted to talk to him. The worst part was when he said his only responsibilities were "with God and my family" . . . and not, apparently, with his team.

"C'mon guys, I don't think it's fair," he complained. "To rip someone's reputation for something like that, it's not fair."

To twist the truth, as Pujols did Friday, that's what is not fair.

Pujols claimed he was in lunch room after Game 2, claimed that the only reason he didn't talk to reporters was that no one told him that anyone wanted to talk to him.

I wasn't in the Cardinals clubhouse Thursday night. I didn't need to or care to talk to Albert Pujols. But I've been in the Cardinals clubhouse many times this postseason. When Pujols wants to talk, as he has on most nights, he is waiting at his locker when reporters are allowed in the clubhouse, or shortly thereafter.

He knows the deal. He knew that the ninth-inning throw that he didn't catch was a huge play in the game, which the Cardinals lost 2-1 to the Rangers.

He chose not to be there.

You can say that's his choice, and that you don't care. That's basically the Cardinals' position.

"I don't feel he did anything in the wrong," general manager John Mozeliak said.

Technically, maybe he didn't. I think he did, but if you want to say he didn't, fine.

But the reality is that there's a separate responsibility for a team's most prominent player. Young, the face of the Rangers team, understands that and is at his locker after every game.

Jeter does the same with the Yankees. Lance Berkman did the same when he played for the Astros. Heck, when I filled in covering the Detroit Pistons years ago, first Joe Dumars and then Grant Hill did it.

"For one thing, I think you guys would follow me home," Young joked Friday, when I asked him about it. "But it's just a matter of trying to be respectful."

It's being respectful to reporters, and it's being respectful to fans. It's also about being respectful to teammates.

Every question that Young or Jeter or Pujols answers is one that doesn't get thrown at his teammates. Not every player believes this is a big issue, but some of them sure do.

It's enough of an issue that when Rafael Soriano ducked out of the Yankees clubhouse after a bad game in April, Yankees president Randy Levine and general manager Brian Cashman were on the phone next day with Scott Boras, Soriano's agent.

"He's new to this market, so, like everything else, you live and you learn," Cashman told the New York Times.

Pujols isn't in that market, and maybe it's best if he never thinks about going there. Maybe it's best that he stays in St. Louis, which is a fine but also very forgiving baseball town.

Maybe it's best that he stays with the Cardinals, a team that has never been willing to confront him about anything.

Mozeliak said he did speak with one Cardinals player Friday. He talked to Berkman, clarifying a point about whether Pujols could have been requested to go to the interview room. Berkman had gotten it wrong when he phoned a national radio show Friday morning to try to defend Pujols.

But Berkman is one who almost always gets it right. He's one who gets it.

He was the most prominent player when he was an Astro, and he accepted the responsibilities that come with it.

"That's part of being that guy," Berkman said Friday. "Different players embrace that to different levels."

Some get it, some don't.

Thursday, when he didn't talk, Albert Pujols showed he doesn't get it.

Friday, when he did talk, Pujols showed it again.

Posted on: September 21, 2011 11:31 pm

For the Yankees, one more great moment

Everywhere else, it seems, there are nervous moments.

For the Yankees, there are only great moments.

Maybe it won't be that way next month. Maybe the Yankee faults will show up, the rotation will be as fragile as it looks, and there will be disappointment in the Bronx.

For now, there are only nights like Wednesday.

Storybook nights.

The Yankees turned a foregone conclusion into something dramatic, but in the best possible way. They took a simple division-clinching game with a week to go in the season and turned it into theater.

And they found a way to give Jorge Posada his moment.


Posada has been the discarded Yankee all year, the disrespected Yankee. First they wouldn't let him catch, then they wouldn't even let him hit.

His biggest role was to celebrate with his friends, first for Derek Jeter's 3,000th hit and then for Mariano Rivera's 600th and record-setting 602nd save.

Then, suddenly and stunningly, the Yankees let Posada send them into the playoffs.

They sent him to the plate as a pinch hitter, with the bases loaded and the score tied in the eighth inning Wednesday night, and they watched him deliver the tie-breaking hit, sending them to a division-clinching 4-2 win over the Rays.

Of course.

Why not?

While the Red Sox struggle to hold off the Rays and now the Angels for the American League wild card, the Yankees have already won their 17th American League East title. For Posada, it's his 12th AL East crown he has been a part of, even if he has only been a small part of this one.

He was their starting catcher in the playoffs last year, but they told him in spring training that they didn't even want him to touch the equipment. He actually played second base this year before he caught.

He had the ugly night against the Red Sox, when he asked out of the lineup after manager Joe Girardi decided to bat him ninth. He had another tough night against the Red Sox, when Girardi let him know that he wasn't going to play much.

In 21 games this month, since rookie Jesus Montero was promoted to the big leagues, Posada has started just three of the 21 games the Yankees played. And yet, in the eighth inning Wednesday, Girardi chose Posada to pinch hit for Montero.

As CC Sabathia said Wednesday night on the YES network, plenty of people (and yes, I was one of them) said the Yankees wouldn't win the division because their rotation wasn't good enough.

So far, because of Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon and rookie Ivan Nova, it has been.

Will it be good enough next month?

Plenty of people will say it won't be. Maybe this time, plenty of people will be right.

But in this year where the Yankees have been able to summon great moments seemingly at will, maybe there will be more.

Posted on: July 11, 2011 9:10 pm
Edited on: July 11, 2011 9:21 pm

All-Stars on Jeter: 'He's Mr. Baseball'

PHOENIX -- To hear some people tell it, there are people upset with Derek Jeter for his decision to skip the All-Star Game.

Maybe so, but all I heard about Jeter on Monday was praise, respect and amazement at his 5-for-5, 3,000th-hit day Saturday.

"For him, that's fitting," Reds outfielder Jay Bruce said. "At this point, he's Mr. Baseball. I'm disappointed he's not here, but only in the fact that I'd like to be on the same field as him."

Bruce, like many All-Stars, was able to see the 3,000th hit on television. So was Phillies third baseman Placido Polanco, who was riding an exercise bike in the clubhouse.

"I was super happy for him," Polanco said. "Jeter is one of the best, if not the best, person in the game."

"It couldn't have happened to a better person," Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun agreed. "And it couldn't have happened in a better way."

Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, who wears No. 2 because of Jeter, agreed. Tulowitzki said his only regret is that he doesn't get to see Jeter this week.

"I feel like I got robbed twice, because he was on the disabled list when we went to New York," Tulowitzki said. "It would have been great if he was here, but at the same time he's got to do what he's got to do."

Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson, a longtime Jeter admirer, said he saw the 3,000th hit.

"Who didn't watch it?" Gibson asked. "A special day. It was meant to be. The great thing is that the perception of Derek Jeter is the truth. There is nothing phony about Derek at all."

The truth is that Jeter's not here. And the truth is that he's still held in great, great respect by his fellow All-Stars.

For more All-Star coverage from CBSSports.com, click here.

Posted on: July 9, 2011 7:15 pm
Edited on: July 9, 2011 7:29 pm

Fan who caught 3,000: 'Mr. Jeter deserved it'

NEW YORK -- As they were being whisked away by Yankees security, Raul Lopez turned to his 23-year-old son Christian.

"All I said is, 'The ball is worth some money. What do you want to do?'" Raul Lopez said later.

Here's what Christian Lopez wanted to do: He wanted to give the 3,000-hit ball right back to Derek Jeter.

"I mean, Mr. Jeter deserved it," Lopez said. "Money's cool and all, but I'm only 23 years old, and I have time to make it."

He's 23 years old, a one-time defensive lineman from St. Lawrence University, who lives in Highland Mills, N.Y., about an hour north of Yankee Stadium. He still has student loans to pay off. He's headed to graduate school (although Verizon, his current employer, will pay for that).

But he's also a huge Yankee fan -- his license plates honor Babe Ruth, his favorite player -- and he felt strongly that giving the ball back to Jeter was the right thing to do.

"That's who he is," Raul Lopez said proudly. "My son would get $1 million and shrug his shoulders."

They got the tickets for Saturday as a birthday present to Christian from his girlfriend. They were sitting in left field, and when Jeter hit his third-inning home run, the ball came right to them.

Raul Lopez was actually the one with the first chance to catch it, but he couldn't hold it ("My dad has awful hands," his son joked). It rolled to Christian Lopez, and he covered it.

"I've recovered a few fumbles," he said.

He told Yankee security he wanted to meet Jeter. They gave him front-row seats for Sunday's game, four suite-level season tickets for the remainder of the season (and postseason), and three Jeter-signed bats, three Jeter-signed balls and two Jeter-signed jerseys.

And he was thrilled.

His dad was . . . proud.

Raul Lopez first said he would have done the same thing. But he also said he had told Christian, "If you were still in school, you wouldn't be giving that ball away."

Posted on: July 9, 2011 5:44 pm
Edited on: July 9, 2011 8:46 pm

All-Star Game is losing star power

Try making a list of players who could get you to turn on the television just to watch them play.

Albert Pujols? Justin Verlander? Alex Rodriguez? Felix Hernandez? Jose Reyes? Chipper Jones? Derek Jeter?

You see what I'm getting at?

For all the debate over whether Bruce Bochy snubbed Andrew McCutchen, the real developing problem with Tuesday night's All-Star Game is that, intentionally or not, it's the game itself that is getting snubbed.

All-Star Games need star power. All-Star Games need stars.

The game's greatest stars gathering in the desert, or whatever that annoying TV promo has told us for months.

Or some of the game's greatest stars. Or a few of the game's greatest stars.

I'm not assigning fault here. I'm not suggesting that we've headed back to the 1990s, when too many stars did all they could to avoid the All-Star Game.

Pujols didn't make the team because he had a sub-par first half, got hurt and plays a position filled with other outstanding players. Verlander and Hernandez made the team but are pitching for their own teams on Sunday and thus will be ineligible to pitch on Tuesday.

A-Rod and Chipper both have bad knees and may both end up having surgery.

Ryan Braun, who got the most votes of any player in the National League, has a sore left leg and will miss the All-Star Game, too.

At least Braun's injury allowed Bochy to add the deserving McCutchen to the team, which Bochy did Saturday night.

The reasons for the absences really don't matter. The problem for baseball is that an All-Star Game that has already seen fading interest is now going to be played without so many stars who people would watch.

Mariano Rivera? CC Sabathia? Cole Hamels? Matt Cain?

It's true that Jeter's decision to pull out of the game (citing the calf injury that forced him to the DL for three weeks) allowed Cleveland's Asdrubal Cabrera to be the rightful American League starter at shortstop. It's true that Cabrera is having a far better season than Jeter, is far more "deserving."

But Jeter just became the 28th player with 3,000 career hits.

Who do you think the average fan is more likely to tune in and watch, Derek Jeter or Asdrubal Cabrera?

There will be great players in Phoenix. But there will be so many great players missing.

Too many.

It's no one's fault. But it is too bad.

Posted on: July 9, 2011 2:10 pm
Edited on: July 9, 2011 5:35 pm

Jeter's 3,000th is a home run

NEW YORK -- They planned this, didn't they?

They had to, right? It was all too perfect.

It was all too . . . too perfectly Derek Jeter.

The beautiful afternoon, Yankee Stadium buzzing, and Jeter's 3,000th career hit, a third-inning home run off Rays left-hander David Price.

Jeter began the day Saturday with 2,998 hits, supposedly feeling pressure with two games left to reach the milestone at home.

And all he really needed was two at-bats. Two strikingly similar eight-pitch at-bats.

He bounced a single through the left side in the first inning, to get to 2,999. Then he homered in the third inning, to become the 28th player -- and first Yankee -- to reach 3,000.

And the first to reach 3,001, and 3,002, and 3,003.

Jeter added a double and two more singles, and it was his eighth-inning single that brought home the deciding run in the Yankees' 5-4 win over the Rays. It was the third five-hit game of his career, and the first five-hit game by anyone at the new Yankee Stadium.

Jeter is the fourth youngest player to reach 3,000 hits, behind only Ty Cobb, who was 34, and Hank Aaron and Robin Yount, who were both 36. Jeter turned 37 on June 26, which means he is nine days younger than Pete Rose was when he reached 3,000 hits. Rose went on to play eight more years, becoming baseball's all-time hit leader.

Jeter is the second player to hit a home run for his 3,000th hit. The first was Wade Boggs, who got it while playing for the Rays in 1999.

And he's the second player to get his 3,000th hit as a shortstop. The first was Honus Wagner, who did it in 1914.

He's the 14th player to reach 3,000 hits while playing for just one team.

It's a huge milestone, the biggest individual milestone Jeter will ever reach. And while he will be remembered more for the championships he won, the day he got his 3,000th hit will become part of his legacy.

We'll remember the fans' anticipation, the way they cheered as Jeter came to the plate, the way they screamed on every pitch, and gasped on routine foul balls. We'll remember the way they roared for the first-inning single, and how they did it again -- louder this time -- as the 3,000th hit flew towards the left-field seats.

We'll remember Jeter circling the bases, and Jorge Posada meeting him at home plate with a huge hug. And then Jeter, hugging each Yankee player and coach, one by one, as the Rays stood and applauded him.

It was a special moment, a perfect moment.

A Derek Jeter moment.

Category: MLB
Posted on: July 8, 2011 7:56 pm
Edited on: July 8, 2011 8:29 pm

Rain, Rays cut Jeter's chances for a quick 3,000

NEW YORK -- The simple facts are these:

Derek Jeter didn't get any hits Friday night because the Yankees and Rays didn't play.

Jeter now has two home games remaining, and not three, to get his 3,000th hit at home.

And any fan who paid a scalper a huge price for a Friday night ticket, hoping to see the 3,000th hit, now has either a ticket for a makeup game on Sept. 22 or a rain check to exchange for another game.

Sounds simple enough . . . except it wasn't.

It took hours for the Yankees and Rays to figure all that out. The Yankees said they wanted to play a split doubleheader Saturday, and the Rays said they didn't. The players' union got involved, because the basic agreement allows players to vote on whether to play split doubleheaders, in some cases.

"Right now, a lot of people are talking," Rays manager Joe Maddon said at one point, before ducking back into his office. "It's kind of a convoluted picture."

For purely baseball reasons, both teams had reasons to put off the makeup game. The Yankees are beat up (two regulars were going to be out of the lineup Friday), and so are the Rays (Johnny Damon wouldn't have played Friday, either).

"A doubleheader just beats everybody up -- especially in this stadium," Rays third baseman and player rep Evan Longoria said.

But there was 3,000. And there was money.

The Yankees want Jeter to get 3,000 at home. They want their fans to believe that they were fighting for Jeter to have every chance to do it at home.

But they also weren't willing to play a traditional doubleheader -- which they could have done without the Rays' agreement -- because they weren't willing to give up a huge gate.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said money also figured into their reasoning for wanting a split doubleheader Saturday. Tickets are easier to sell in July than in September, he pointed out.

The Rays didn't like that idea, and the Rays got their way.

"There's even more pressure on [Jeter] now," Yankees player rep Curtis Granderson said.

But he's still just two hits away from 3,000. And he still has two days -- and two home games -- to get it at Yankee Stadium.

"It's not like he's never going to get a hit again," Longoria said.

No, but he didn't get one Friday.

Category: MLB
Posted on: July 8, 2011 10:54 am
Edited on: July 9, 2011 12:15 pm

3 to Watch: The Trout (and Jeter) edition

The day the Yankees first brought Derek Jeter to the big leagues, the New York Times handled the news with three lines attached to the bottom of the game story.

"It is Derek Jeter to the rescue, or so the Yankees hope," Tom Friend wrote that day. "With nearly the entire infield in the infirmary, the Yankees need someone with energetic legs, and their best candidate was Jeter, who was batting .354 at Class AAA Columbus."

Jeter was 20 years old. Baseball America ranked him as the fourth best prospect in baseball (behind Alex Rodriguez, Ruben Rivera and Chipper Jones), but there were no daily internet chats about what day the Yankees would call him up.

There were no daily internet chats about anything in May 1995. But there were no daily water cooler debates about top prospects back then, either.

The world has changed in the course of Jeter's 19-year career, to the point where on the same day that Jeter will be going for 3,000 hits, a significant portion of the baseball world will still be buzzing about the Angels' decision to call up 19-year-old Mike Trout.

Like Jeter, Trout will make his big-league debut against the Mariners, tonight in Anaheim. Like Jeter, whose arrival was speeded by injuries to Tony Fernandez, Dave Silvestri and Pat Kelly, Trout is coming to the big leagues now because someone got hurt (in this case, Peter Bourjos).

Who knows if this is the start of another 3,000-hit career?

What we do know is that Trout was the second biggest name in the minor leagues (there's some debate over whether he or Washington's Bryce Harper is the best prospect, but Harper is definitely better known). And we know that if you want to get 3,000 hits, it helps to get the first one when you're young.

Jeter was 20, as was George Brett. Pete Rose and Paul Molitor were 21. Tony Gwynn and Craig Biggio were 22.

Now Trout arrives at 19, as the youngest player in the major leagues. He was one year old when Jeter signed with the Yankees. He was three when Jeter debuted in the big leagues, and now he's given Jeter a 2,998-hit head start.

On to 3 to Watch:

1. Jeter batted ninth in his debut at the Kingdome, going 0-for-5 against Mariner pitchers Rafael Carmona, Jeff Nelson and Bobby Ayala, in a game Rich Amaral won for the M's with a 12th-inning walkoff home run off Scott Bankhead. Trout will debut in Mariners at Angels, Friday night (10:05 ET) and Angel Stadium, with 22-year-old Blake Beavan starting for Seattle. Beavan is just up from the minor leagues himself; he allowed just three hits in seven innings to beat the Padres last Sunday in his debut.

2. It's hard to know exactly how big this weekend's "National League East showdown" in Philadelphia really is. Yes, the Phillies' NL East lead over the second-place Braves is down to just 2 1/2 games, heading into the weekend. But with the Braves holding a five-game lead in the wild-card race, the Phils are actually up a comfortable 7 1/2 games on a playoff spot. It could be that the Phils and Braves this September will be like the Yankees and Rays last September, where they'll only be playing for playoff seeding. What we do know is that there's a great pitching matchup, in Braves at Phillies, Saturday afternoon (4:10 ET) at Citizens Bank Park. Tommy Hanson, who many feel should be on the All-Star team, faces Cliff Lee, who is on the All-Star team.

3. Jeter enters the weekend needing just two hits for 3,000, so the first game to watch is probably Yankees-Rays on Friday night. And if he doesn't get two hits Friday, the second game to watch is Yankees-Rays on Saturday. But let's say he just gets one hit in those two games combined, so that we can focus on Rays at Yankees, Sunday afternoon (1:05 ET) at Yankee Stadium. And even if the Jeter celebration comes Friday or Saturday, Sunday's game is worth watching, with All-Star James Shields facing could-have-been All-Star CC Sabathia.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com