By Chris Ruddick, MLB Editor, The Sports Network
Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) – Now that the Derek Jeter Show has concluded in Minnesota we can all get back to our normal lives and focus on the second half of the Major League Baseball season.
Jeter delivered, as he always does, in the American League’s 5-3 win with a pair of hits and received rousing ovations when he was introduced, came to bat and left the game. No fancy ceremony. No goodbye gifts. Just the fans paying tribute to one of the best ambassadors this game has ever seen.
And despite what some people will tell you MLB treated him no different than any other departing star. Cal Ripken and Chipper Jones received the same treatment as did Jeter’s former teammate Mariano Rivera, who went through his own sendoff at last year’s All-Star festivities.
Jeter’s first inning double on Tuesday, though, may have come a little easier than expected, as St. Louis starter Adam Wainwright admitted to grooving one to Jeter.
By the way that is reason No. 8,763 why World Series homefield advantage should not be determined by the All-Star Game outcome. A topic for another day I guess.
Some people on Twitter were actually killing Wainwright for, gulp, being honest. Who cares if he wanted to see Jeter get a hit? Most people watching the game wanted to see him get a hit.
You think Chan Ho Park didn’t give Ripken a pitch to hit when he homered in 2001?
Now had MLB given Jeter the MVP Award Tuesday that may be have been too much. Although, Jeter did do more to warrant consideration than Rivera, last year’s recipient.
Regardless, Los Angeles’ Mike Trout deserved it and was a fitting passing of the torch from Jeter to him as the new face of the game. Trout has very big shoes to fill and let’s be honest, the odds are he won’t handle himself nearly as well as Jeter has these past 20 years.
It’s been funny to me that over the last few days I have heard so many people knock Jeter for this or that. He’s overrated, he’s a product of his environment (whatever that means), had he played his whole career in Colorado or Seattle we would never even know who he was.
Yes playing in the biggest and brightest city on the planet makes him a bigger deal than he probably is, But saying Jeter is a product of New York is just so unfair. He is going to finish his career with close to 3,500 hits and five World Series titles.
Newsflash. Jeter would be a big deal no matter where he played.
If you think you could have just plugged any shortstop into those great Yankees teams in the late 1990’s – early 2000s and they still would have won you are just crazy. Or completely fueled by jealousy.
Jeter wasn’t just along for the ride, he was the one driving the train.
Somebody actually used the argument to me against Jeter saying, “Jeter has only had like what eight seasons of 200 hits or more.”
Yes he only has had eight.
In case you were wondering Rod Carew had four, Wade Boggs had seven and Tony Gywnn had five. Ty Cobb, Pete Rose and Ichiro Suzuki are the only players to have more than Jeter’s eight.
Jeter may have never won a batting title, or an MVP award, but he has personified class every step of the way. And you can’t say that about many players in sports these days. I guarantee you won’t find any photos of him rolling up a $20 bill in a nightclub bathroom.
By the way, I appreciate Derek Jeter as much as the next guy, but would it have killed MLB to perhaps put some sort of tribute together for Tony Gywnn?