“Please! I wanna like Derek Jeter! I do!”

Please! I wanna like Derek Jeter! I do! Joe Posnanski

Jeterate (verb) meaning “to praise someone for something of which he or she is entirely unworthy of praise.”


See, the thing is Derek Jeter is such a good baseball player — I mean, we are talking about a no-doubt, first ballot Hall of Famer here — that people don’t need to jeterate him for his fielding. The guy sucks as a defensive shortstop, OK? He’s brutal out there. Every detailed defensive number shows it. He’s back near the bottom again in zone rating and range factor and, I’m sure, the Dewan plus/minus. Plus every scout who pays attention knows he can’t go two steps to his left and his arm is subpar. It’s OK! Really! He doesn’t have to be Mark Belanger. He’s a great hitter! He plays every day! He’s makes up for some of his flaws with his awareness and mental stamina! I wouldn’t be bothered by his defensive liabilities, I really wouldn’t, except, well, you know, so many people don’t think he HAS defensive liabilities. They give him freaking gold gloves. They knight him Sir Derek of Defensive Wizardry because 238 years ago he tagged Jeremy Giambi and jumped into the crowd on a foul ball.

You see what happened there. I completely went overboard again. This is what Derek Jeter does to me. I like Derek Jeter. I do! I wouldn’t even care about Jeter’s deficient defense if certain people would just stop jeterating, stop mythmaking, stop telling me that the numbers are wrong and my eyes are wrong and that Jeter’s defensive brilliance is beyond my understanding, like the size of the universe or the appeal of Drew Barrymore.

This sums up my feelings about Jeter as well: absolutely a Hall of Famer, but so overrated. We don’t hate Jeter as much as we hate how much praise he gets. (I really think Tim McCarver is trying to figure out how he can become the first person who’s actually male to give birth so he can have Jeter’s baby.) He’s kind of like Mike Piazza: Great offensively, not so hot defensively. If his boosters could just accept that, I don’t think there’d be the Jeter-hating phenomenon we see so often. The hate is a counter-reaction to the overweening praise he gets. (But we should still hate him since he is a Yankee, and therefore evil.)

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