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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

What would Jackie Robinson have done about Derek Jeter last night? Do teammates hold each other accountable?

In last night's Seattle Mariner win at Yankee Stadium Robinson Cano was again booed by his former fans and Mariner Kyle Seager had a double, two triples and a home run.  One of Seager's triples should have only been a double but Yankee captain Derek Jeter made a rare fielding blunder.  Jeter assumed that a fair ball was foul and held it, oblivious that Seager was still running the bases.  Good for Seager.  Bad for Jeter.

Derek Jeter August 24, 2008
by Flickr user Keith Allison via Wikimedia Commons
In the top of the 4th inning with Seattle leading 1-0 Seager led off with a short pop up down the left field line.  Jeter and left fielder Brett Gardner converged.  Gardner slid under the ball but it popped off his glove to Jeter who by then was in foul territory.  Jeter almost caught it, which would have been a cool putout.  But Jeter could not hold on.  Instead Jeter picked it up and continued moving away from home plate with is back to it.  It looked like he might give the ball to fan.

Once Jeter finally realized what was happening he lobbed the ball towards third base but by then Seager was standing there. I think any other Yankee would have been charged with an error of omission but Jeter was not, hence the triple for Seager who scored two batters later on a force out, 2B-SS.

Jeter did not seem particularly perplexed.  After the game Yankee starting pitcher David Phelps was asked about the play and shrugged it off saying that the ball looked foul.  No one seemed to want to hold Jeter accountable for his gross mistake.  In recent games Jeter has made base running mistakes, too.  Maybe playing only 17 games in 2013 has made Jeter rusty.  Maybe Jeter's impending June 26 40th birthday suggests a cause.  Maybe it's those reasons combined with Jeter's spring training announcement that 2014 is his final season playing baseball.  Maybe Jeter is just looking more toward the future than the present.

The real issue is accountability, not Derek Jeter.  I think a fundamental dynamic among current players is: there but for the grace of God, go I.  If a player does not hold a teammate accountable, then teammates will not hold that player accountable.  They say that they do but they don't.

Rivera and Jeter on Cano.  Wednesday, May 7, 2014

By now you've probably read that Mariano Rivera wrote that Robinson Cano lacks the red hot passion to excel...

When Cano returned to Yankee Stadium with Seattle he was booed by fans but defended by Yankee captain Derek Jeter who suggested that it was OK for Cano to protect himself from injury by running slowly to first when he'd likely be out.  As far as I know no one had the sense to ask Jeter why he had not done the same, especially starting years ago when he was Cano's age.

What do these conflicting positions say about Rivera and Jeter?  ...

Jeter's friendship and loyalty are good.  So are Rivera's honesty and leadership.  Jeter or Rivera?
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Most managers and coaches seem timid about accountability.  During games players rarely are spoken to after mistakes.  Some of it is the modern touchy feely nature of American society generally.

What would Jackie Robinson do about Robinson Cano?  Tuesday, February 25, 2014

What would Jackie Robinson have done about Derek Jeter last night?

1 comment:

Zack Murphy said...

That's very interesting - good article. I was listening to that game's radio broadcast (I only cared because I have Felix on a fantasy team) and the Seattle radio guys made NO mention of Jeter issues on any of their play by play. All their talk was of the triples, period.

Now, truth be told, Seattle's broadcasters are among the least listenable, but those seem like obvious call-outs. I listen to a lot of broadcasts of other teams and Seattle is right down there at the bottom.

I did not hear the NY broadcast, but I'm certain Sterling and Susan didn't call him out on that stuff.

You're exactly right to question Jeter's play, regardless of his prior great Jeterness and all that. And Seattle's broadcasters should have questioned it also, as we all should when such a situation occurs.