Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
The Way It Is
2007-02-21 05:14
by Alex Belth

I ran into a Yankee fan yesterday at work and the first thing he says to me is that Alex Rodriguez is a bum. This reminded me of something I read recently in Robert Lipsyte's book, SportsWorld: An American Dreamland (Lipsyte was a reporter then a columnist for the Times during the sixties--and later, in nineties--and is particularly famous for his coverage of Ali. This book is out-of-print, but worth checking out if you run across it in a used bookstore):

"A sportswriter learns early that his readers are primarily interested in the affirmation of their faiths and their prejudices, which are invariably based on previous erroneous reports. They do not want fact that conflict with preconceptions."

Which also brings to mind, what the newspaper man tells Jimmy Stewart at the end of The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance:

"This is the west, sir. When the legend becomes fact, print the legend."

Having said all that, of course, Derek Jeter is getting ripped in the local papers today.

2007-02-21 05:52:43
1.   Cru Jones
Amen, sportswriters. Thank you for getting it right and calling out Jeter.

Just because Jeter is "clutch" playing baseball doesn't mean he's more secure as a person than A-Rod. It was easy for Jeter to appear magnanimous and pull for Giambi, steroid user, but it's a lot harder for him to support a far superior player in A-Rod.

Jeter says he has a deep respect for the position of "Yankee Captain." It's time for him to act like it. For better or for worse, I think the team needs it and I place 90% of the blame for us even having this discussion on Jeter's shoulders.

2007-02-21 06:27:02
2.   The Mick 536
How about this quote from "Chinatown" in support of not paying any attention to what is said or not said or known or not known during Spring Training or the Period of the Surge: If you believe this, you are dumber than you think I think you are.
2007-02-21 07:11:04
3.   joejoejoe
A lot of the famed Yankee professionalism will be tested this year. The Bernie situation has the potential to sour the veterans. Joe Torre is in what is likely his last year as manager. Clemens may or may not be back getting special treatment. Jeter isn't helping things with his 'Fredo, you're dead to me now' style of leadership. I see more Bronx Zoo Redux than Yankee class.
2007-02-21 08:00:40
4.   Schteeve
This is horseshit. Jeter is now a bad guy? The whole thing is a function of the fact that A-Rod ripped him publicly in 2001, and A-Rod supposedly allows off the field matters to affect him on the field. And A-Rod is basically saying that that's the case.

So because Alex was immature 6 years ago, and is thin skinned now, Jeter is a bum because he carries a grudge? Ridiculous. Jeter is a human being and a baseball player. Nowhere in that job description is anything about being a psychoanalyst, or a baby sitter for A-Rod's ego.

I love A-Rod the ballplayer. I love Jeter the ballplayer. I am growing to despise sportswriters.

2007-02-21 08:09:07
5.   pistolpete
'Bum'..? LOL, who even uses that vernacular anymore?

I'm guessing the person who used it was at least 70 years old...

2007-02-21 08:16:33
6.   Alvaro Espinoza
Isn't Lipsyte's assertion about readers a bit broad? I have no doubt that plenty of people/readers just want to hear their version of events, right or wrong, reinforced by the news writers but he's painting with an awfully broad brush in the quote cited.

As for Jeter-A-rod, I can't believe that anyone is still wasting time on this non-issue.

2007-02-21 08:40:36
7.   yankz
These sports writers are such f*cking tools (minus Pete Abraham, of course). How the hell do they know what goes on behind closed doors, where both Jeter AND Arod have said they have discussed matters and are cool with each other?
2007-02-21 08:47:33
8.   yankz
Harper is a disgrace. He has no business bringing up Jeter's upbrining, of which I'm willing to bet I and half the people here know more about. And I'm almost positive I remember Jeter saying he was fine with Huckaby. The BS some people will create to sell.
2007-02-21 08:48:22
9.   Raf
6 I thought that it was a bit broad, then I saw the back pages of the local dailies. I thought back to all the barroom arguments I've had with people over the years, who value the worth of a player on BA-HR-RBI. I thought back to Rodriguez showing up in the NYDN because he took off his shirt in Central Park. Thought back to trying to understand how a player with a .915 OPS had a bad year. Thought back to how a player who, a year removed from a MVP suddenly doesn't know how to play in NY (despite 2006 H/R splits that show the contrary). So on, and so forth...

I'd have to agree with Lipsyte. And not only on sports reporting.

2007-02-21 09:18:16
10.   wsporter
Yes, but in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance John Ford did "film" the "facts". I think he was saying "give us the facts and we'll make our own minds up". To call all people primarily one thing and not another thing in the way Lipsyte did is to create a legend and then claim it as fact. That seems as anti-intellectual as the thing he is originally complaining about. That may be what the papers big advertisers wanted but I doubt very much it's what his readers primarily wanted.

As for me I'll respectfully take the facts and do my own thinking thank you. What I choose to do with them is my problem and that includes my choosing to ignore, twist, otherwise pervert or consider them logically. As to the Jeter/A-Rod love affair- why should I give a rat's ass about the facts? I didn't care if Mickey liked Roger, Thurman liked Reggie or Donnie liked Dave, why should I care about this nonsense now?
2007-02-21 10:46:03
11.   Count Zero
7 10
You're right -- I couldn't give a rat's ass how much Jeter and A-Rod hate or love each other. Except...If I think their relationship is affecting the TEAM's performance, well then it's a valid topic for conversation.

A-Rod started it. A-Rod should learn to deal with the fallout from his own mistakes. BUT...Jeter definitely appears to be extending it at this point. I mean honestly -- who here read Jeter's comments yesterday and DIDN'T say to themselves: "That was the most unresponsive answer he could have given -- especially in light of what A-Rod said the day before."

The team's CAPTAIN had an opportunity to do something positive for the TEAM yesterday. He opted to pass on the opportunity, and instead deliver his pre-arranged sound bite regarding his personal life. That's definitely his choice. But as a leader myself, I would say he made a bad decision as a CAPTAIN, plain and simple. The press might have spun his words badly even if he tried, but he should have tried anyway.

Sometimes, leadership involves projecting an image that your followers can latch on to -- even if that image isn't really you. Now I know a lot of you will say: "These guys are professionals -- they don't go for leadership speeches." BS! People at all levels respond to good leadership -- what a good leader does is collect so much respect that people around him want to do whatever they can to help him. Jeter didn't gain any respect with that sound bite anyone's eyes.

2007-02-21 11:46:54
12.   Raf
11 Team performance? They have played .599, .586, & .623 ball over the past 3 years.

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