Much ado about Jeter: ‘The Captain’ floods the ESPN market
As I opened ESPN.com Monday morning, I searched for any baseball news, predictions, columns — anything — to quench my thirst during this long final week of spring training.
Imagine my surprise when the first photo I see is Derek Jeter, sprawled out in his signature “jump in the air thing after ranging right on a ground ball” pose.
Another Jeter story? No big deal for ESPN. Another story about Jeter’s intangibles and will to win? Classic ESPN.
I imagine the writers meeting that morning in Bristol started off as usual. After the staff went through their standard routine of updates on Kobe Bryant, Tiger Woods, Brett Favre and Alex Rodriguez, Jayson Stark drew a blank on his story for the day. It was in this moment that he reached into the ESPN vault and pulled out his trump card: “A story about Jeter’s winning attitude!”
Well played, Mr. Stark.
In what must be Stark’s 250th Jeter article of the past year, he claims that what “really separates Derek Jeter from the masses is the unstoppable force that drives him from April to September.”
The real news in this article is that Stark finally quantified “unstoppable force” into a statistic. UFQ, or Unstoppable Force Quotient, if you’re looking for it in the stat boxes. Jeter’s is, like, .640, I bet.
“Derek Jeter doesn't believe in taking plays off or not giving a full effort,” Stark goes on to discuss.
Since the Yankees have made the playoffs in virtually every year since the bomb dropped on Japan, in what years, exactly, could Jeter have taken plays off?
If he played for the Nationals and was mathematically eliminated from the postseason by Valentine’s Day, would he still be as gung-ho to go 100 percent on every play?
For all I know, probably. I don’t mean to knock Jeter for apparently trying really hard and giving every play everything he’s got.
I knock the guys like Stark who perpetuate the stereotype that Jeter is a rare breed that gives full effort.
There have been roughly 8 million articles on Derek Jeter’s effort and “will to win,” and about three combined for everyone else’s.
Here is a quick list of other topics ESPN could have thrown out there Monday morning besides the typical Jeter coddling:
- How hard will Vernon Wells laugh on his way to the bank after another .260/.310/.400 season?
- How many times will Rays manager Joe Maddon use the same lineup this season? I’ll set the over/under on six.
- How loud was the sigh of relief when Joe Mauer signed with Minnesota a few weeks ago? Deafening, probably.
- What will happen to Baltimore when their savior Matt Wieters fails to live up to the unattainable goals the fans have set for him?
- In what hilarious ways will the Cubs fail this year? This one might be beating a dead horse, actually.
Right off the bat, there’s at least four stories more interesting than the Jeter cheerleader article.
Can’t wait to see what Jeter folktale they have lined up for next Monday.