Today, barring a rainout, is Derek Jeter's last game in Yankee Stadium. He's retiring after the following series in Boston against the Red Sox, thus ending a year-long, non-stop, near god-like, caravan tribute of the Yankee captain.
I like Derek Jeter well enough, at least as much as I can like any Yankee. He's had a great career, the sixth most hits by any player with 3,461, and a lifetime batting average of .310. And he's been pretty classy throughout.
But -- my head is numbed from the unrelenting praise which has always struck me as wildly over-exaggerated, bordering on head exploding. (Not whether is a terrific ballplayer -- he is -- but there are people debating whether he's the Greatest Yankee Ever. The greatest!! Keep in mind that this list includes Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Joe Dimaggio, not to mention Mickey Mantle.) That said, while I believe my opinion here to be reasonably objective, I couldn't swear that my anti-Yankee bias was creeping in.
And then happily I saw this from Keith Olbermann, which he did I believe on Tuesday. I don't always agree with everything he says about baseball, but I do agree with much of it. And even when I don't agree, and he's being a bit hyperbolic or holier-than-though, I still tend to note how well-thought out his opinion is. And Olbermann is a New Yorker. While he shows a fairly even-handed side in his baseball opinions, it does tend to shift a bit to NYC. But then, he's also a baseball historian, so I suspect that came heavily into play when he sat down to speak his peace.
(Technical note: he refers several times to "WAR." That stands for "Wins Against Replacement," basically a statistic about how valuable a player is to he team compared to when another teammate plays in his place.)
Even if you don't follow baseball, I think Olbermann is pretty compelling here. In fairness, he could have mentioned the statistics I did above, which are Jeter's finest. But then, Olbermann wasn't making a case that Jeter wasn't a wonderful ballplayer, just that the monumental over-hype...well, bordered on head-exploding. This was about hype and perspective.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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