• Wild Thought: Is Jeter The Problem?

    Posted by on January 26th, 2009 · Comments (8)

    I have a friend who is as dedicated and diehard a Yankees fan as anyone can possibly be…like me, they go back to the 1970′s in terms of being a fan. And, this friend also has a very good connection with respect to having access to the mind-set of many in the Yankees clubhouse. (Don’t bother asking. I will never disclose the link.)

    In any event, I was curious today as to my friend’s take on the news around Joe Torre’s new book. And, this is how our brief exchange went on that:

    Me: So, what do you think?

    Them: I’ve heard reports that said Torre called Cashman yesterday to say that most of the quotes were taken way out of context. I think Jeter is the ruination of the team. We all know A-Rod is insecure, Duh! And, Jeter should be flattered, not annoyed, by A-Rod – a much better player all around – and that he had any kind of obsession with him. I’m not happy about the book, in general. Airing dirty laundry isn’t cool. Never would I think Torre would be that way, so I’ll wait to read the book to make a judgment. I have to agree with him on the “prima-donna” front. Can’t blame Joe for his anger with the organization though…

    Me: So, would you say that Jeter has to go to in order for the Yankees to do better?

    Them: Sad as I am to say it, I guess I am…Jeter is the one who always says “It’s not the same team anymore”, pushing back reporters with rhetoric…when what he needs in order to excel is just that: coddling and a bunch of people for him to look up to because he is really not a natural born leader. And, to rip apart someone who has some issues…that’s no leader.

    This all said, it leads to today’s wild thought: Is Derek Jeter the problem with the Yankees?

    What do you think?

    Comments on Wild Thought: Is Jeter The Problem?

    1. Raf
      January 26th, 2009 | 3:54 pm

      Is Derek Jeter the problem with the Yankees?
      ———–
      Short answer? No.

    2. MJ
      January 26th, 2009 | 4:17 pm

      I don’t think Derek Jeter is any more the problem than A-Rod is. I think the whole concept that it’s a “personality” or “chemistry” thing is overblown. People watched the Yanks win 4 titles in 5 years and think that it’s easy to win. No one realizes just how unique a run that was and how it’s not easy to replicate.

      Personally, I think Jeter’s greatly lacking in leadership qualities. I don’t think a real team captain would support some of his teammates but let others twist in the wind. I don’t think true leadership is embodied by constantly reminding people that “some of us” have won and how the team is different and all of that.

      But having said that, Jeter isn’t “the problem” or anything like that. He’s no longer an elite player but he’s certainly not been holding the Yanks back.

    3. Raf
      January 26th, 2009 | 4:56 pm

      No one realizes just how unique a run that was and how it’s not easy to replicate.
      ———-
      Exactly; if it were that easy, other teams would do it. If winning a championship were a repeatable skill, other teams would do it. Even the Red Sox, after winning in 04 didn’t win in 05 & 06. They won in 07, and didn’t win one in 08. You would think that a “winning ballclub” that “knows what it takes to win” would never lose in the postseason?

    4. Pat F
      January 26th, 2009 | 5:06 pm

      no, jeter is not the problem.

    5. jmeisner
      January 26th, 2009 | 5:40 pm

      MJ and Raf are steering this discussion in the correct direction. All of this talk about team chemistry, Jeter and A-Rod, Torre, etc., is for the most part back-fit nonsense. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Ever since the introduction of the division series in 1995, it has become extremely difficult to win a World Series. The parity in baseball is so great that the outcome of best-of-five and best-of-seven game series are highly random. Eight teams make the playoffs, and I’d say that even the best team out of the bunch doesn’t have more than a one-sixth chance of winning a championship. If you disagree with this, you are simply buying into the narrative aspects of largely random outcomes too much.

      If you look at the regular season winning percentages of the 1996-2000 Yankee teams and compare them to the winning percentages of the Yankee teams since then, they’re not much different (especially if you exclude 1998 and 2008). Yes, there are certain factors that undeniably make playoff series different than regular season games, namely the fact that teams don’t use a five-man rotation in the playoffs, so front-loaded rotations are better suited to win a playoff series. However, the effect of such factors is minimal.

      Basically, all I’m getting at here is that the ass-backward reasoning that leads to conclusions like, “THE YANKEES WERE BETTER OFF WITH SCOTT BROSIUS THAN A-FRAUD!!!!!!!!!!1111111one11″ needs to stop. The teams of the “dynasty years” probably had better chemistry than the teams of recent years, but I simply don’t buy the argument that Yankee hitters are at the plate thinking, “Man, I hate that guy A-Rod, so I’m going to strike out now.” Not winning a championship in eight years seems to have made a lot of Yankee fans lose their minds and ignore the basic fact that the success of baseball teams is largely predictable in the long-run by considering the aggregate quality of a team’s players, but that it is highly unpredictable in the short-run.

    6. January 27th, 2009 | 4:12 pm

      [...] Pedroia’s Brother Accused Of Child Molestation  /  Is Jeter The Problem? [...]

    7. throwstrikes
      January 27th, 2009 | 11:01 pm

      Or maybe not so wild. Maybe not even Jeter specifically but more of pre-2000 Yankees vs. everyone else feel.

      I remember reading after the Boston series in 2004, Jeter, Bernie, Jorge and Mo were sitting huddled together in the trainers room after they did their postgames. The image of how divisive that seemed has always stuck with me.

      Jeter’s “this is not the same team” quotes when they struggled always bothered me too.

      Now reading some of the excerpts from Torre’s book, it sounds like issues in the clubhouse were more complex than “it’s A-Rod’s fault”.

      -Cash telling Joe the dropped pop up with Jeter and A-Rod was Jeter’s fault, before he got on Alex for it.
      - a member of the “old guard” going to Torre and saying “guys can’t stand him(Damon) get him out of here” in ST 2007. All I could think was lame attempt to get Bernie back?
      -Jeter walking past Pavano and saying “are you planning on ever pitching again, ever?” and the rest of the team taking the lead from that.
      -Torre insisting Pavano rejoin the team when he was on the DL so the players could harass him.

      The rings vs. no rings was one of the reasons why I was unsure if the Girardi hire, with him being a former teammate was a good move. Although from things written last year, it seems that some of the old-guard had more issues with him than the new guard.

      The time for an attitude adjustment may be overdue. Us should be the 25 guys in the clubhouse, not the 4 from pre-2000 and them should be the opposing team not their own team.

    8. February 19th, 2009 | 7:45 pm

      [...] Pedroia’s Brother Accused Of Child Molestation  /  Is Jeter The Problem? [...]

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