Thursday, October 26, 2006

The Church of St. Derek

Something smells alright, and it's not citrus and sandalwood.

We all know that Joe Buck and Tim McCarver hold each other gently while crying themselves to sleep in their king-size Holiday Inn bed because the Yankees and Mr. Driven are sitting at home and they have to stoop to once again covering a World Series outside the Bronx.

We all know how happy that makes me. That the Tigers eliminated the MFYs and went on to the Series is just icing. So what do I have left to get pissed off about? The forthcoming Derek Jeter Coronation and Awards Spectacular.

Everyone pretty much concedes that Jeter will win his first MVP this season. He had a fine season. Arguably an MVP caliber season. But I think he wins this award more on reputation and less for what he actually did, and for what happened around him—namely the Sox imploding and David Ortiz literally putting his heart into the game, and the fact that the two other (more?) deserving candidates, Joe Mauer and Travis Hafner toil in relative obscurity. To reiterate what I've already stated...
FOX continued to hype this Yankees team as one of, if not THE greatest lineup in history. If that's true, Jeter does not deserve the MVP. Even with the loss of Sheffield and Matsui. Sorry, they still had five guys score a hundred runs. Jeter is an MVP caliber player to be sure, and this may have been his best season, but I still think Joe Mauer deserves it more. He hits in a lineup with one other big stick. He won the batting crown over Jeter. People talk about the grind of Jeter playing short. Mauer plays catcher. Shortstop is a physical and mental vacation compared to catching.

But apparently, Derek deserves the 2006 MVP as some bullshit Lifetime Achievement Award. As if his rings and undeserved Gold Gloves aren't enough. But, this season, they say, he had to "carry" a team through the "adversity" of only six other All-Stars and MVPs in the lineup instead of eight. Please. And his leadership? Please. I think it’s pretty clear that Jeter left A-Rod hung out to dry and continues to do so. His behavior over the last season or two regarding A-Rod should pretty much unravel the overhyped captain myth.

And as Seth Mnookin points out...
The endless articles celebrating Jeter’s desire to play in the World Series are ridiculous. Yes, we know Jeter likes the Series; that’s about as far from unique as is possible. And yes, we know he, along with the rest of the Yankees, he thinks of the Series as more of a right and less of a privilege; that’s the unique part. If you want to point something out, focus on that.

Nicely put, Seth. And this one from Chad Finn bears repeating as well...
It's hard to pin any of this on Teflon Jeter, who at least looks like he sincerely gives a damn and always plays his ass off 'til the last drop . . . but at some point, doesn't all the talk about the "businesslike" clubhouse and the 25 players, 25 private planes mentality reflect a negative light on the Yankees' captain? Rather than unifying this team, in tough times he always seems to go out of his way to make the point that this is a "different group" than the 4-time champs, almost as if he's disingenuously distancing himself from the mess. He's a wonderful player, but the more I see, the more I believe his leadership is entirely by example - at best.

As we all know, the MVP votes are already counted, but we won't find out who wins 'til next month. If yesterday's announcement of Derek Jeter winning the Hank Aaron Award is any indicator, Mr. Driven has it in the bag. Let me point you to this breakdown of the top AL hitters and where Jeter fits in the list. There are a slew of stats to back up this conclusion:
Travis Hafner is a better hitter than Derek Jeter. So are lots of other people. Jeter might deserve the MVP, because he put up his very very good stats from the SS position, which makes those stats very very valuable. But the Hank Aaron Award is not the MVP.

So there you have it, folks. Derek Jeter. Winner of the Hank Aaron Award for being the first-or-second-best-hitting SS in the AL, and probably like the third- or fourth-best hitter on his own team.

That's what we give the award out for, correct?

I don’t even know what the fuck "SecA" and "IsoP" are, but I know Jeter sure as hell didn’t deserve this award. There is nothing “intangible” about the Aaron Award. It is hitting and stats. Period. Jeter didn't actually lead the League in anything except perfume sales. And looking closely at the obscure stats as that post does, choosing Jeter as the winner looks even worse. This is the one award where a guy like Ortiz should be able to say, “So what if I’m a DH. Hand it over.”

I guess Jeter should just clear a space on his mantle for his MVP now. At this rate, leave room for another undeserved Gold Glove and, what the hell, give him the Cy Young and a freaking Grammy as well.


Mike said...

Funny stuff, Furious. I like seeing that you get furious about Derek "The Greatest Player In The History Of The Universe" Jeter, as much as you do about George "The Worst President In The History Of The Universe, Irony Free Version" Bush.

By the way, SecA = Secondary average, which is extra bases + walks + steals divided by ABs. Serves as a measure of the non-batting average contributions to offensive production.

IsoP = Isolated power, or the difference between slugging percentage and batting average. A measurement of the non-singles hitting part of slugging perentage.

Jeter, who's a very good all around hitter (we have to admit) nonetheless creases most of his offensive damage through his batting average. He's not as high an average hitter as Carew or Gwynn, but he's in their group.

Mr Furious said...

Look, I will give Jeter his due. He really is a gutty player, and a proven winner. but I think the accolades get a bit carried away at times.

A lot of the above post is hot air. If Jeter wins the MVP this year, it won' be a travesty. He is deserving. I'm just not sure he's MOST deserving, and he sure as shit isn't "owed" the award.

Gold Glove and Hank Aaron? Those are travesties.

Mike said...

With a capital T.

Anonymous said...

It is impossible to actually be the Most Valuable Player in the league as part of a $200 million dollar team. Simply put, if Jeter is removed from the Yankees and replace by any other starting shortstop in baseball, they still make the playoffs. Either change the name of the award to Most Beloved Player, or give it to someone who has the most value to his team.