Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Hey Mr. DJ Play that Song
2008-08-21 05:40
by Alex Belth

I got caught up working late last night and didn't catch a single pitch of the Yankee game. By the time I got home, shortly before ten, it was over.  I turned on Baseball Tonight and waited for the score to appear on the crawl.  Wouldn't you know it, the Yankee-Toronto game was the last of the AL scores to appear.  While I waited I felt sure that the Yankees had won and for a few moments I thought about sure things.  Mariano Rivera is as sure as you get, though he's not perfect of course.  The Yankees themselves have been a sure thing for a long time too.  That isn't the case this year, sure-things don't last forever, but the fact that you can have them, even for a little while, is something to savor.  

Still, the longer it took to get to the score the more I started thinking, maybe they lost again.

But they didn't.  Andy Pettitte pitched a nice ball game and Derek Jeter had three hits, including a two-run dinger as the Yanks beat the Jays, 5-1.  His batting average is up to .298.  The Yankee captain is also two hits shy of 2,500 for his career.  Even though he's shown signs of decline this year, unless Jeter gets hurt or starts to deteriorate rapidly, he's virtually a sure thing to reach 3,000.  If all goes well he could reach the milestone in three more seasons. 

Pretty cool, huh?

2008-08-21 06:16:00
1.   JL25and3
monkeypants isn't here yet, so I'll second his emotion before he even expresses it.

For a superstar player, Derek Jeter is probably in decline. But for a regular old baseball player - and a shortstop, at that - he's still very, very good. We shouldn't let the player that he was obscure the excellence of the player that he is now.

2008-08-21 06:30:18
2.   monkeypants
1 Wow, I have a reputation, and it precedes me!

More seriously--at the start of Jeter's career, and even as recent as a season or tow ago, he looked like a lock for 3,000 hits and good bet for 4,000. This season has raised some warning flags. If he starts to decline in earnest, he will still probably get to 3,000, but in what will be (or should be) his last season.

On the other hand, if rebounds a little he could put up some very interesting career numbers.

I am probably too optimistic about Jeter, as I have shown this season (though if anyone scrolls back through old threads they will find more than prediction by me that he would end the season at .300/.360/.410/.770/~110 OPS+. That's looking like a pretty good guess right now, eh?). But I have a sneaking suspicion that he has one more great season in him, or at least very good.

2008-08-21 06:30:43
3.   Sliced Bread
Yeah, Alex. A sure thing that lasts in baseball is usually a good thing, and when the sure thing is greatness -- that's Mo, and we'll likely never see the likes of him again.

It might be my imagination but the score of the Yankees game, especially when they win, is usually last on the ESPN crawl -- and I'm pretty sure the results linger on-screen longer (accompanied by a laugh track) when they lose. At least the ESPN snakes are consistent (in my imagaination) I'll give them that.

Jeter's consistent. Andy's consistent. Their reliablity (dependability if there's a difference) has made them very easy to root for all these years.

2008-08-21 06:32:08
4.   monkeypants
2 "prediction by me that he would end the season at .300/.360/.410/.770/~110 OPS+. That's looking like a pretty good guess right now, eh?"

Of course, that would only be a 105 OPS+ this season. But y'all get my drift...

2008-08-21 06:33:06
5.   Shaun P
Alex, I was in the same boat as you. I didn't even think of checking the score until around 9:45, and imagine my surprise when I saw "Final: NYY 5 TOR 1"

Now, as my dad said to me last night, they need to go on a big winning streak, or they are probably toast.

2008-08-21 06:48:47
6.   Schteeve
My love for objective analysis when it comes to baseball goes out the window when it comes to Jeter.

In my mind, he's been the most exciting player I've ever seen. A career that has been well above average, a solid citiczen, a mascot for the "dynasty" years. I don't want to see Jeter playing anywhere else, and that would lead me to want to carry him, even after his production falls off.

Part of the reason that I'm a baseball fan is because I like watching the Yanks win, but part of it is the "intangible" stuff the aesthetics, the continuity.

One of my favorite sayings is "Things Fall Apart." Circumstance isn't permanance and we should be careful not to fall too much in love with transient things.

This season is a good reminder of that. But when Jeter is gone, I will miss him a lot.

2008-08-21 06:50:37
7.   Chyll Will
2 Jeter shouldn't have to carry the load with this lineup; that would make getting 3,000 a piece of cake and 4,000 an interesting likelihood. But they've underperformed most of the year and locked themselves in a bad situation where going on a run is very dependent on Jeter's bat maintaining it's current pace. Not impossible at any age, but it didn't have to be this way, and shouldn't have to be that way when they do chart next year's lineup. A couple of steady .300 hitters right behind him and he'll get 3,000 just blowing bubbles.

My biggest worry is up-the-middle defense...

2008-08-21 06:56:25
8.   Chyll Will
6 Chinua Achebe. One of the toughest stories I've ever had to read. I don't know about you, but it makes me pissed, so I only read it once every three or so years...
2008-08-21 07:22:43
9.   williamnyy23
7 Jeter is still a lock for 3,000 hits, especially if he continues the decline in his walk rate. I can't see him making it to 4,000 hits though. That would be 10 more years at about 140 hits per season, which means Jeter would have to keep playing until age 45.
2008-08-21 07:32:19
10.   JL25and3
8 With all due respect to Chinua Achebe (whom I've never read), he probably got it from William Butler Yeats:

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

2008-08-21 07:35:15
11.   Chyll Will
9 Agreed. I may be wrong, but I seem to remember an interview wherein he doubted himself reaching 4,000, implying the same reason. I'm just saying that the hits would come easier if he wasn't burdened with picking up the rest of the lineup. If 1-6 produced at potential, he could've hit 3-thou even by the middle-end of next year. But that's neither here nor there...
2008-08-21 07:38:59
12.   Chyll Will
10 Well now I'm all pissed off... >;)
2008-08-21 07:40:29
13.   ms october
oh so true about the espn crawl.
i am at my mom's house and she doesn't have extra innings - so every so often i switch to one of the espns to get the score - and my mom keeps wondering why we are watching the llws or poker - and damn if i don't just miss the al scores most times.

6 nice senitment schteeve.

and well said about derek all.

2008-08-21 07:41:31
14.   williamnyy23
11 Do you really think he is burdened with pikcing up the lineup though? I think that responsibility falls on Arods shoulders, which is why he seems to have those spells whne he seems helpless. When you are essentially a singles hitter like Jeter, you have the luxury of not having to carry the team, whereas a guy like Alex is expected to do so.

I also don't understand how he could get to 3,000 by next year. Even if you gave him 100 more this season (which would smash his season high), Jeter would still need 400 more in 2009 to reach 3,000.

2008-08-21 07:47:21
15.   Chyll Will
14 I must have read something wrong; I thought he needed 250. My bad.

I can't read Jeter's mind, but I get the impression that he tries harder especially when A-Rod gets in those funks.

2008-08-21 07:49:21
16.   williamnyy23
15 He may or may not try harder, but what he is trying to do is easier (hit a single up the middle/the other way) than what someone like Arod is (hit HRs).
2008-08-21 07:50:46
17.   JL25and3
14 OK, so he'd have to have a helluva year. Batting .640 or so would do it (but only if his walk rate doesn't go up)
2008-08-21 07:54:00
18.   JL25and3
12 At least he steals from the best places. That's one of my all-time favorite poems, one I quote pretty frequently. ("The best lack all conviction, while the worst/Are full of passionate intensity" describes the political scene of recent years all too well.)
2008-08-21 07:58:31
19.   Chyll Will
17 He still wouldn't get a unanimous MVP vote. Still, the positives would far outweigh the negatives...
2008-08-21 08:05:37
20.   Chyll Will
18 Good Ol' Schteeve, the G. Gordon Liddy of Banter! >;)
2008-08-21 09:26:45
21.   RichB
It might be surprising to note that at the end of last season, Jeter was 19 hits ahead of Pete Rose's pace. They had their first full seasons at the same age, so it's an interesting comparison. But, starting at his age 34 year (this year for Jeter), Rose went on a tear, averaging 207 hits for 5 seasons.

So, to keep up, Jeter would have to get up to 191 hits this year (which is reachable) and then average 207 for the next 4 years. It's that last part that's not very likely at all, of course. Forgetting even the signs of decline we're seeing this year, he's only had two seasons where he hit more than 207 in his career so far.

Next year will tell us a ton about where he'll end up on the career list. Bill James "Favorite Toy" predicts he'll end up at 3266 (assuming he makes 191 hits this year) - mostly because it assumes he'll play for only another 3.6 seasons. Then again, it would have predicted Rose to end up at 3285, so you know there's a reason James refers to it as a "toy".

2008-08-21 10:34:21
22.   Sliced Bread
re: DJ
just caught this over at Sweeny blog:

Derek Jeter (1,252) needs 18 hits in the final 16 home games to pass Lou Gehrig (1,269) for most hits EVER in Yankee Stadium.

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