Judging the Royals

Lee Judge breaks down the Royals, game by game.

Is Derek Jeter overrated?

07/16/2014 5:16 PM

07/16/2014 5:53 PM

Let’s see: Over 3,400 hits, over 1,900 runs, over 1,200 RBIs, over 350 stolen bases, over 1,000 walks, over 12,300 plate appearances, over 2,600 games, over 150 post-season games, Rookie of the Year, five Gold Gloves, 14 All-Star appearances, five World Series championship rings and some clown decides to yell "Overrated" while Derek Jeter is at the plate during this year’s All-Star game.

What the heck is wrong with some people?

How unhappy to you have to be with your life to try to ruin a moment of glory for somebody else? Some people spend a great deal of time and energy criticizing the efforts of others even though they haven’t accomplished much of anything themselves.

Here’s what former President Theodore Roosevelt had to say on the subject:

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."

I’ve run this piece before and I probably ought to run it every year. It’s a reminder to us all: give credit to the "man in the arena." So before we put a picture of our dinner on the Internet and complain about the chef, or go on a website to say a movie sucks or yell "Overrated" at ballplayer, we should ask ourselves—just what the hell have we done lately?

Throwing Jeter a "cookie"

A "cookie" is a hittable fastball and Adam Wainwright said he threw one to Derek Jeter. Jeter doubled and apparently Wainwright claimed he "piped" one for Jeter, then later tried to retract that. If you’re going to groove a fastball so a future Hall of Famer goes out on a high note, you don’t tell everyone you grooved it. And as Jeter later said: "You still have to hit it."

This incident reminded me of a story I heard from George Brett:

He was making his last trip around the league and as George stepped to the plate an opposing catcher asked him what he wanted. George said: "You know what I want."

Hitters want to hit fastballs so I asked George if he got one and he said yes. I then asked what he did with it. "I doubled—and if I had believed him I would have hit a home run."

Jeff Nelson, what were you thinking?

The 2014 All-Star game started when Andrew McCutchen hit a sharp groundball to Jeter’s left. The future Hall of Famer, dove, caught the ball, popped to his feet and appeared to throw McCutchen out at first base.

But the umpire saw it differently.

While the crowd roared, the first base umpire—Jeff Nelson—called McCutchen safe. Replays showed a very close play, but from the angle I saw—looking over the top of cup full of beer—McCutchen looked out. Certainly close enough to give the call to Jeter.

The All-Star game is supposed to be about moments and Jeff Nelson robbed every baseball fan of a special one. I think it’s wrong to base World Series home-field advantage on the All-Star game and then do so many things to make the game an exhibition—like make sure everyone gets to play, whether it makes sense or not.

If it’s a serious game then we’d lose moments like John Kruk reaction to Randy Johnson throwing a ball over his head in the ’93 All-Star game. If it’s an exhibition where fans get to see their favorites perform and guys headed for Cooperstown do something special; call Andrew McCutchen out.

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