I haven't been a fan of ESPN for a few years now. Now, let me be clear, Ian O'Connor and I have had dialog and he's a good dude. Personally, I like him. Mark Simon is a cool cat and we have an understanding and he's helped Bleeding Yankee Blue out in the past, so we appreciate him. Plus, we both like Micro League Baseball. But what ESPN pulled tonight makes me sick to my stomach. Trust me, I understand different opinions... we have them here at Bleeding Yankee Blue among our own writers, but when it comes to a big night like the All-Star Game, and more importantly, the honoring of a baseball icon like Derek Jeter, ESPN just blew it...big time. Don't know what I mean? Keep reading...
There is something called Five Thirty Eight, clearly a ESPN affiliate blog. They wrote a piece titled "Derek Jeter And the Other Worst All-Star Starters of the Past 40 Years." The title itself is despicable, and then I realized that Neil Paine was a Sabermetrics guy, harping on the fact that Jeter's WAR is terrible among shortstops this season. My only question to Mr. Paine is, who cares? And why does it matter right now, right this second on a night of celebration for baseball's best and for a guy that's showed total class and professionalism for the past 18 years on the baseball field and in pinstripes.
Paine writes, "It’s tough to get too worked up, though, about Jeter getting the starting nod — however undeserved — in the final All-Star Game of his career. Although Erick Aybar of the Los Angeles Angels almost certainly warranted the accolade instead, baseball has a long history of awarding statistically unjustified All-Star Game starts... Forty-year-old Cal Ripken Jr.’s 2001 All-Star Game start was awarded purely out of legacy, and it’s been frequently compared to Jeter’s this week. Ripken, however, had the worst first half of any All-Star Game starter from the past four decades, having played much worse than Jeter has thus far in 2014. Ripken’s first-half triple-slash line in 2001 was .240/.270/.324 (good for a 56 Weighted Runs Created Plus); Jeter’s 2014 line is .272/.324/.322 (80 wRC+), despite playing in a more difficult offensive environment. Jeter may not be playing like a typical All-Star, but he hasn’t been as bad as Ripken was at the same age."
Now, I'm just going to state for the record that this is the exact reason that Bleeding Yankee Blue does not and WILL NOT throw stats at you all day long like other websites. Paine's piece is painful to me. I think I stopped breathing 10 seconds in and woke up at "... field tonight." What exactly is Paine saying?
Is he saying that Jeter's terrible, so is Ripken, and neither of them should have been picked to start in the All Star Game in their respective last seasons? Because if that's what he's saying, it's another conversation entirely. It's much bigger than Paine's WAR. It's about the process. Derek Jeter and Cal Ripken Jr. were chosen mostly for symbolism and respect, not to mention honoring an incredible player for their time. There is nothing involving WAR when the fan's vote, and vote multiple times I might add. The All-Star game is a popularity contest, mixed in with strong talent and you know what? That's the way Major League Baseball does it. So, if a player happens to just suck ass, but the fans love them and want to them in the All-Star game collectively, they're in in they get the votes. And they're in whether their WAR is the best among shortstops or not.
So to be honest, I have no idea what the heck Paine was trying to suggest, I'm just guessing. I will tell you though, this post is more about ESPN and their despicable selection for headline news on their website...especially on a night like tonight of honoring Jeter and thanking him for his service in baseball. The whole idea of this season was the say "Thank you" to Jeter. The players love him, 90% of the fans love him and the ones that hate him, only hate him because at some point in his career, he's done damage against their team.
Bottom line, Derek Jeter isn't the best baseball player of all time. It doesn't take Paine or ESPN to tell us that. But as a Yankee fan, we know the truth. Jeter is a leader, he's a true role model, a positive element of the game that everyone can embrace. He's won championships, MVPs, appeared in All-Star games multiple times. He's also been a symbol of greatness with the rest of the Core Four and Bernie Williams for years.
He is a true baseball player made up of every positive attribute known to man. In short, Jeter may not be the best, he may not have a terrific WAR, but what the hell does that matter in his last season in pinstripes? He's great because he carries himself that way. That's why he's there, that's why he was chosen by the fans... that's why there's a standing "O" wherever he goes this season.
It's because Jeter is the greatest, based on confidence, determination, leadership and ability... to hell with WAR on Jeter's last season... it's irrelevant.
Finally, let me just say something important. It's about respect, and it has nothing to do with Jeter and everything to do with fandom.
We here at Bleeding Yankee Blue are a fan website. You know that. We will NEVER forced or harassed you into thinking that we know what personnel should be moved to another club at any time for trades because we aren't in on those meetings, and neither are you. Sure, we could throw out names all we want, but it means nothing but speculation. We don't play that way and for the die-hard BYB reader, you know that.
I was called a retarded prick tonight on Twitter. Something I take offense to and you should too. I was called a retarded prick because I refused to engage in a debate that I knew would not end respectfully.
@BleednYankeeBlu retarded prick. Get to know some prospects. Im gonna smear ur site cause ur a poser who knows nothing! Embarrassing lolBYB has never been the type to act like we know everything. That's because we don't. You know that... this guy doesn't. For those of you that backed us up tonight, we love ya. Thanks.
— Dave Englander (@DavidEnglander) July 16, 2014
Keep checking here for info and information... not speculation of which prospects to trade for Troy Tulowitzki. Hell, if I knew that... I'd be running the Yankees.
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