On what turned out to be the day before reaching a milestone that no other New York Yankee had ever achieved, Derek Jeter did something completely classless, disrespectful, and stupid. He announced that he would not be a part of Tuesday's All-Star Game in Phoenix. Jeter cited his sore calves for taking the time off, but that didn't bother him the next day, when he went 5-for-5, and homered for his 3000th career hit.
Jeter's Yankee teammates Alex Rodriguez and Mariano Rivera also said they would skip the Midsummer Classic, and believe it or not, the most hatable Yankee of them all had the most legitimate excuse. It turns out that A-Rod has a torn ligament in his knee, and will be out from four to six weeks. Rivera actually didn't pitch for six days due to right tricep soreness, but he returned Saturday to save the Jeter 3000-hit game.
The National Hockey League has a rule that if you skip the All-Star game, you also have to miss the next regular season game. Major League Baseball should take that rule a step further, and say that if you miss the All-Star game, you have to be placed on the 15-day Disabled List. You know if that were the case, Jeter and Rivera and several others that bowed out, would opt back in.
Does Derek Jeter deserve to be an All-Star? Well, not really. His batting average is a modest .270. He's hit only three home runs and has only 24 RBIs and 8 steals. But the fans voted him to start at shortstop, and by deciding not to go, he is essentially giving the middle finger to those who voted for him.
If you survey those who say they hate the Yankees, I bet almost no one would say that they hate Jeter. He has been with the franchise his whole career, and for the most part has stayed out of the headlines and out of the tabloids (I wasn't happy when several years ago he was reportedly in a relationship with singer Mariah Carey, but that was jealousy, not hatred). He did build a huge mansion recently which got him some press, but hey, he's got the money. Good for him.
It's easy to hate the Yankees as an organization (the “evil empire”, the 200-million dollar payroll, the 27 championships, the Steinbrenners, and all that). But if you look at their players, hating them becomes more difficult.
Sure, there's Rodriguez, who lied to Katie Couric's face about using steroids, dated Madonna, was seen with strippers in Toronto, and this winter was caught on camera being fed popcorn by Cameron Diaz at the Super Bowl, but look at some of the others.
Don't get me wrong, I still want the Yankees to lose 162 games a year, but Curtis Granderson is one of the most outgoing and nice guys you'll ever hear from, and does a lot of charity work. Nick Swisher cut his hair for charity and is the clubhouse clown. C.C. Sabathia got his work ethic from his Mom in Vallejo and it seems like all he does is pitch well. Despite all the money that Mark Teixeira earns, if you hear an interview with him, you like him instantly. Rivera is the best closer in history. And Robinson Cano had his dad pitch to him in the Home Run Derby--how great was that?
Jeter joins that list of normally classy individuals, but he messed this one up. All he has to do is go to Phoenix and play one inning. How bad could that be? I'm sure his sore calves could handle it. Jeter may have 3000 hits, but he just made one big error.
Fox missed out: How is it that Derek Jeter's 3000th hit wasn't nationally televised on Fox? The game was on Saturday, and Fox televises a Saturday game of the week. Fox is a champion of bringing Yankees baseball to the masses whether we need it or not, but we didn't get this one. Yes, the schedule is determined a few weeks in advance, but Fox has the power to make changes. The game should have been shown to most of the East, with live cut-ins of Jeter's at-bats to the rest of the country.
Fox missed out II: One of the regional games on Fox Saturday was Padres at Dodgers. As it turned out, the Dodgers were being no-hit until two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, and then won it 1-0 a batter later, but very few people saw it. Despite it being the only game between two West Coast teams on Fox that day, the game was only shown in southern California, and likely parts of Nevada and Arizona. Northern California, and the rest of the Pacific time zone, got Phillies-Braves.