Derek Jeter is going to retire after this season. The 40-year-old has one of the most air-tight Hall-of-Fame cases in history. Baseball-reference's version of wins above replacement rates him as the sixth best shortstop in the game's history (at least 60 percent playing time at the position) . He is the fifth most valuable player in the history of the Yankees by that same measure and that is a franchise that has seen a few impressive players. He is the Yankees all-time hits leader and he is almost a lock to pass Lou Gehrig for the lead in doubles. He is a career .312/.381/.446 hitter and a 13-time All-Star.
His post-season heroics are legendary. There is his Mr. November late-game heroics during the 2001 World Series and his flip-out-of-nowhere to nail Jeremy Giambi in the 2001 ALCS, just to name a couple. He played 158 games in the playoffs, almost a season's worth, and he hit .308/.374/.465, just a bit better than his already-incredible regular season numbers.
He is truly one of the greatest players people of my generation will ever see. So naturally, I hate-respect Derek Jeter more than any player in my lifetime. Did I mention I am a Red Sox fan?
As a Red Sox, Jeter's heroics stopped annoying me in the late 90's and coalesced into a complicated ball of begrudging admiration and outright loathing. He is the face of the franchise that I hate the most and everything about him represents the best and worst of that organization, from his borderline magical dedication to continuing the "winning tradition" to his sleazy gift-baskets-for-boinking corporate slickness. He gets more credit than he deserves at times (5 Gold Gloves, anyone?), but his greatness simply cannot be denied within the bounds of rational thought.
That, my friends, is hate-respect at its finest. I doubt I will ever hate-respect a player as much as I hate-respect Derek Jeter. It is kind of sad really. Look at me, I'm tearing up.
What player do you hate-respect the most?
Breakfast Links 2/13:
Na Na Na Na, Na Na Na Na, Hey, Hey Goodbye... is not one of the them.
Yes, this side of the Captain's life is fertile ground for jokes, but Grant Brisbee got there before me.
The loss of Burnett will hurt the Pirates significantly, but at $16 million, it is hard to criticize them too harshly. Bad A.J. Burnett is still lurking out there somewhere.
The Pirates wanted him back, the Phillies paid too much and Burnett gets $16 million, what a loser.
Right now, it looks like Jose Lobaton for Nate Kearns, but you never know with the Rays. Maybe they will walk way with Bryce Harper for Jeremy Hellickson.
Bullpen issues solved!
Settling soul mates.