I try and read as much as I can about the Yankees on the internet. A lot of my reading comes from straight news sites. This gives me the information I need to make posts here. I also read a lot of blogs, message boards, and other sites of fan commentary. These open new ways of thinking and insights which might never occur to me on my own. In addition seeing how knowledgeable the competition is motivates me to elevate my game and learn so that my analysis will be on the same intellectual level. Many times I will disagree with my fellow fans on certain issues, but I certainly respect and understand their perspective. Unlike professional media writers, whom I believe are fair game for criticism, fans exercise their craft for the love of the team and the game. There is no ulterior motive or agenda. As long as something is well thought out, I will not attack.
This brings me to a piece written today by Phil Allard on his blog at nyyfans.com. Allard absolutely rips to pieces the work of another fan. American history is one of my passions just like baseball is. Allard correctly takes the writer to task for a strained analogy. The thought that 2008 Spring Training is as critical to Derek Jeter’s career as Inchon was to Douglas MacArthur is silly. Jeter is not up against the same odds, and his legacy will be in tact no matter what. Still the point the writer makes is a good one. The Yankees just replaced a manager who was very popular within the clubhouse. They replaced him with a gruff character many believe will clash with veteran players. Seeing their captain get behind the new manager and falling in line probably would set an example for a lot of veterans and make them more willing to tolerate Girardi’s taskmaster demeanor.
Allard seems to be furious over this assertion. There would be no other reason to make the title of his article “Growth of Jeter fan boy militia getting dangerous.” The bizarre thing is that while railing against the author, Allard does not argue the substance of his argument. Instead, he gets sidetracked into a rant on Derek’s defense.
Most Yankee fans with a functioning brain understand that Jeter is a poor defensive shortstop. This has been objectively proven time-after-time with statistical data that I won’t repeat here. The man has no range on grounders. Yes, he is good at pop-ups, but a shortstop’s main responsibility is ground balls.
This is baffling on so many levels. The original author made absolutely no comment on Jeter’s defense. It has nothing to do with the substance of the article or the intelligence of the author he is allegedly trying to refute. Why he feels the need to rail on Derek Jeter’s defense I do not know. I could try and refute his opinion stated as fact by pointing out how flawed defensive statistics are. Most of them are so inconclusive that even their supporters say a fair sample size of data takes at least 3 seasons to compile to even form a relevant interpretation. However, Allard’s own words in a 2006 article seem to contradict his angry blustering.
Baseball stat freaks, or sabermetricans, point to the Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR), one of the systems that measure a fielder’s range. Jeter ranks near the bottom of the pile, at -8 below league average. A weighted analysis by the venerable TangoTiger even rates Jeter as the very worst of all Major League Shortstops for range factor over the past three seasons.
As much as I believe in most forms of objective sabermetric philosophy, such as the all important OBP and the shunning of “productive outs,” I have to disagree here. Yes, Jeter does not have great range, but he adds dimensions of worth to his team that defies quantitative analysis, and there ain’t no stat geek that can tell me otherwise. I can’t let statistical “objectivity” act as a blinding agent to what my eyes can clearly see. (That sound you hear is members of the saber community firing up their keyboards to take pithy shots at me.)
You remember that catch Jeter made against the Red Sox on that glorious first night of July in 2004, when he risked his body by crashing in the stands to save the game? That doesn’t count in sabermetric measurement because it was a foul ball. Remember “The Play” against Oakland in the 2001 playoffs that saved the series for the Yanks when Jeter intuitively ran to a spot where he had no business being and then made the perfect cut-off throw home? Aside from the assist, there is no quantitative measurement of such a play, nor are there useful measurements for his amazing skills as a cut-off man.
Jeter’s value is truly intangible, and he inspires teammates with his leadership. He belongs at shortstop on my team, but let the arguments rage on. The debates are fun.
Allard says that anybody with a brain knows that Jeter’s defense is lousy and that all we need to know this is statistical data. Does this mean that he did not have a brain in 2006? Is Allard really part of this “dangerous militia” he decries? What has changed between now and then that has moved Jeter from good shortstop to a player only somebody without a brain could defend? His rant continues.
It continues to amaze me that these same members of the delusional Jeter fan boy militia also think that Jeter is a “clutch” hitter.
Jeter usually hits well in the post-season because he is a good hitter, not because he dons some sort of super-human apparel.
Kobe Bryant makes a lot of big shots because he is a good basketball player, not because he dons some sort of super-human apparel. Both he and Jeter have come through in huge situations a lot in the past. I have never heard anybody being accused of founding a “fan boy militia” for suggesting Kobe is clutch. What exactly is Allard’s problem with those who brag about their favorite player’s ability to come through in big spots?
As far as his leadership skills, ask A-Rod.
A-Rod is “proud to be his teammate.” That is an endorsement of leadership abilities where I come from.
Phil Allard’s rant is downright bizarre. He criticizes a fan for claims he did not make and then rips fans who speak about Derek Jeter in terms that are too glowing. This was really mean-spirited stuff. Maybe we fans go overboard in our praise of certain players, but is that not part of being a fan? We try to frame our guys as elite, conquering heroes and the opposition as overrated villains. If Allard roots for the New England Patriots, I guess we are not far away from complaints over fans showing Tom Brady too much love.
This was really just an awful article. He venting on another writer without arguing a bit of the substance of what the guy actually wrote. He stuck words in his mouth and then complained that too many fans are blind to the perceived flaws of a Hall of Fame level player who has helped bring four titles to New York. My guess is that just about every fanbase is guilty of overloving their best players.