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Monday, April 06, 2009

Yikes    


Mike Lupica has morphed into the godless lovechild of Joe Morgan and Peter King. Like Morgan, his column on the Yankees future with Jeter is absurdly myopic and bereft of the slightest, you know, evidence to support his assertion that the Yankees MUST renew Jeter's contract ad infinitum. But then, on page 3, BAM! He shifts into serious Peter King mental spew mode. Perhaps a FJM/KSK style line by line breakdown is in order. Perhaps this shall become a regular feature.

Derek Jeter in a class by himself for Yankees
Saturday, April 4th 2009, 11:10 PM

DETROIT - So Derek Jeter opens a new Yankee Stadium in exhibitions against Sweet Lou Piniella now and for real in a week or so, seven months or so from when he took the microphone and officially closed the old Stadium last September. He moves across the street as people are already moving him toward the door, like he is moving up on being one of the Yankee ghosts he is always talking about.

You really chose to open your column with two consecutive run on sentences with utterly bizarre syntax (a week or so, seven months or so) and a mixed metaphor (he can somehow move across the street, and towards the door… but not the door of the new stadium, the imaginary door that leads out of town). Actually, this is but a taste of the mysterious power of Captain Intangibles… he can move across both space and legend in seemingly opposing directions. He has mastered the 5th dimension. Like a handsomer version of Nightcrawler. With a more agile tongue.

Jeter runs out to short in this McMansion of a Stadium - call it The McStadium –

No. Call it Yankee Stadium.

the way he did for the first time as a regular across the street, in 1996, when the winning started.

Yankee WS Championships, pre-1996: 27

Even as he does, people really do act as if they want to move him off short the first chance they get and wonder where he plays after that.

No, people don’t “act” as if they want this, we DO want this, and we DO wonder this.

Everybody wonders how the Yankees are going to pay him when this contract, the second-biggest in baseball after the last two Alex Rodriguez has signed, is up the season after this one.

Biweekly paychecks work for most… does Jeter demand hand delivery of a sack full of pirate gold by a bare-tittied Amazon astride a unicorn? If so, Jeter fucking WINS.

And that's fine, it is going to be the most fascinating conversation about money the Yankees have ever had with a guy on his way to the new Monument Park.

Reasoned debate based on conflicting facts = fascinating. Debate between perceived (emotional) value and demonstrable value = not fascinating.

This one matters because Jeter still matters, to the Yankees, and Yankee fans, as much as anybody they've had since Mantle. Whether he has lost a step or not.

But to dwell on all that, or begin to obsess on it the way we do with everyting (sic) Yankee-related, is to miss the great drama of the captain of the Yankees, trying to win again, after a start to his career when he thought he would win forever. Jeter won four World Series in his first five years and now hasn't won the World Series for eight straight years. You know it is something he never saw coming.

Which didn’t he see coming, the winning a lot or the not winning forever?

It is still a great Yankee drama watching him try.
He will be in the Hall of Fame


Probably. Probably won't belong there, either.

and still isn't the kind of baseball immortal that Mo Rivera is, because Rivera isn't just the greatest closer of all time, he is the greatest single pitcher the Yankees have ever had, with all due respect to Whitey.

While I of course agree with the statement that Rivera > Jeter (even though it’s apples > oranges), why are you tossing this in? In a piece meant to canonize Jeter, it seems like an unnecessary fuck you to Whitey Ford. Look, Ricky Bobby, just because you say “with all due respect” doesn’t mean you can insult someone and they shouldn’t see it as a slight.

But in all the important ways, representing what the Yankees used to represent before they became like some bank of baseball, Jeter has been the most important of them.

All the important ways besides those we can measure, that is.

It is why I hope he stays at shortstop as long as he wants to and I hope he gets paid again when the time comes.

“As long as he wants” might be the single stupidest phrase uttered about players who hold a special place in the hearts of fans.

George Steinbrenner is out of the picture now and Joe Torre is in Los Angeles. Maybe that is why the presence of the old Yankees and Jeter in particular seems more meaningful than ever before, as they try to do it one more time.

Because, you see, we few, we happy few, we True Yankee Fans hold onto the past, forever looking back, as our ship careens down the 5th dimension q-axis that leads to third place in the AL East.



The main criticism of Jeter, before everybody moved in on his loss of range, is that he never said enough, that he wasn't a vocal enough leader or a fascinating quote. But he never signed on for that. He signed on to win, and after those first five years thought he was going to win as much as Joe DiMaggio did.

Surprise!

He is still everything the Yankees want to be.

Gay? (rimshot)

He is old-Yankee class at a time when they open this monument to excess and act as if they have done something as noble as building a library, or a church. If A-Rod is the face of the excess of this decade, Jeter is the face of the last one. The fans liked the last decade better.


/head explodes

Jeter has made his money, you bet. Signed that contract for $191 million right after A-Rod got his $252 million off the Texas Rangers (before Hank Steinbrenner came along to show Tom Hicks, the Rangers' owner, that he could sign Rodriguez to an even dumber contract than that one). But somehow, because of all the winning, he has never been thrown in with the $200-million-a-year All-Stars who haven't won it all since the Subway Series of 2000.


Hm… you seem to be implying that it is correct for him to not be lumped into that group of chokers. Here’s a thought- perhaps playing a marginal all-star player $18M a year has something to do with the Yankees’ failures of recent years?

It was the end of what will be the last great time in Yankee history, the four in five and three in a row between 1998 and 2000, the closest thing in the last half-century to the Yankees winning five World Series in a row between '49 and '53. Jeter's Yankees doing that in a world where you have to win three playoff rounds and 11 October games to win it all.
Jeter's Yankees giving you 1998 and what might have been the best Yankee team of them all.


I agree- the Yankees of 98-00 were an incredibly good team, likely the best I’ll see in my lifetime. Congratulations on making your first accurate point.

"We played the way you're supposed to play and won the way you're supposed to win," he said to me once.

In one of the most tired and generic sound bites this side of “you have to take ‘em one game at a time.” I thought it was hollow shit like this that made the NY media criticize Jeet in his early years?

It is not just Yankee fans that want things the way they used to be, on the other side of 161st St. It is Jeter, too. The Yankees will win another Series eventually, maybe even this season at McStadium.


All this week: free supersize upgrades on all Scrappy Meals(TM) at McStadium.

Jeter may still be at short when they do. But it won't be the way it was. The Yankees of today are the new place. They're A-Rod. Jeter was made for the place across the street.

The place that reeked of urine and had random chunks of metal and concrete falling off it all the time? That sounds about right, actually.

If those Yankee tickets are going like hotcakes, how come they had to run a full-page ad about tickets in the Times the other day?
Because they are charging $2,500 a ticket for the seats that are left. Because they can. Because it’s NY, and New Yorkers are rich and egomaniacal.

Every time I see one of the Steinbrenner sons out in public, I wonder all over again how long this family is going to stay in the baseball business.
Just from the slide shows alone, you only have one question about the Yankees' new clubhouse, and it comes off an old Bob Newhart line:
Where's the gift shop?


Mike Lupica talks to clubhouses. Alert security.

Glenn Beck cries on television like he's reading the ending to a dog book.

And here begins Lupica’s foray into Peter King territory. No real segue, no warning, no nothing. Buckle up, we’re going on an amazing ride.

Seriously: He's the only guy working who's under the impression that his own material is a four-hanky job.


I can think of another four-hanky job that Lupica would be ideally suited for. Far more suited for that than sportswriting.

Plaxico Burress finds out now what a lot of guys like him find out, that you go right out the door the moment you become more trouble than you are worth.

Wait - which door is this one? Is there a leprachaun on the other side?

The truly amazing thing about Plax is that he still is under the impression he's negotiating from strength.
But don't say the Giants are better off without him, because they're not.

Then, um, he would be negotiating from strength, you twat.

I can't be sure about this, but I think Al Harrington just got T-ed up somewhere.

Ok, I’ll just let Lupica do his thing.

Don't you get the idea that when Harrington goes to the gym, they need a SWAT team to get him off the chin-up bar?

Maybe before the next billboard of Nate Robinson he'll decide to cover somebody besides Will Ferrell.

How do the Knicks sell another season like this to fans still paying top dollar for tickets?

John Calipari was saying yesterday in Detroit as he walked up Jefferson Ave. that the first time he was ever in Rupp Arena was the second-to-last row of seats the night Villanova beat Georgetown in 1985.


Then he said, "Only took 24 years to make it down to the court."
Maybe one of the reasons James L. Dolan was able to spend the money he spent defeating the West Side Stadium is because he's still working off an obscene deal with the city where the Garden doesn't have to pay taxes.


Why? Because Ed Koch was afraid they might leave the city, that's why.


Mayor-for-Life Bloomberg ought to take that off the books now and ask this question:


Where you going now, Jimmy?


If the Nets really want to come to New York and Brooklyn comes off the table, how come they don't do something with the Islanders on all that land on Willets Point?


This would involve the next Nets owner, of course, after Ratner inevitably sells the team.


I will say this again on Jay Cutler: For all those yards and all those touchdown passes, there was a reason Josh McDaniels wanted Matt Cassel.


And a reason Pat Bowlen was this willing to give up on the kid this soon.


Cutler got a case of hurt feelings because they wanted to trade him and now he's supposed to be the leader of Da Bears?


You know what's the best thing Bud Selig has done for baseball, despite all the kneejerk and uninformed pounding he routinely gets from coast to coast:


He took the game back from the union.


He took it back from Fehr and Orza, who thought they were the real commissioners of the sport.


You don't get banged around for something like that. You deserve a medal.


And that's before you talk about a drug-testing program the sport would not have if Selig hadn't gotten that survey five years ago.
But none of that is supposed to matter because he hasn't shown the kind of remorse that somebody like Mike Vick is supposed to show.


The Jets have to declare on one of their young quarterbacks and then stay with one of them for more than 20 minutes at a time.
That way they don't have to look for a new savior every year.

The Final Four really is such a wonderful thing for Detroit, one of the great cities in this country, and one of the toughest.


Say it for the last time: Michael Imperioli was the best thing on "Life on Mars."


I'm predicting right now that Jon Voight has the antidote to cure Jack in "24," not that you asked.


Happy 17th Birthday today to the youngest of the Lupica boys, Zach.


He's the point guard of the family, the one who's played bigger than he is his whole life.

Mostly because of his heart.

Aaaaaaaand…. scene.


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