You wouldn't know it by reading this here webpagesite, but Derek Jeter is putting together an incredible year. Rob, the paragon of editorial standards that he is, remains reluctant to flout Jeter's greatness out of fear of turning off every thinking baseball fan from beyond the Tri-state area. Unfortunately for all who love to hate Jeter, we must give him his due: the man is putting together a terrific year.
Jeter's 2009 numbers are indeed sparkling. The Yankee Captaion could finish with an on base percentage over .400 for only the fourth time in his career while playing around league-average shortstop and scoring bunches of runs for the league's best offense. Not bad for a 35 year old who's traveled from overrated and underrated so fast it would make his head spin, were he not so unflappable and professional in his approach.
That his numbers pale in comparison to Joe Mauer in every conceivable way matters not to this growing horde of Jeter supporters, some who use the "lifetime achievement" crutch as a means to reward the often jilted Jeter. Thankfully Rob Neyer of ESPN wants to end that talk here and now:
Baseball's different, though. Award voting is (or should be) mostly objective, with little room for sentiment. Just give the thing to the best player, you know? More to the point, baseball has a Lifetime Achievement Award: it's called the Hall of Fame, and Derek Jeter will be there one day.
Just give the things to the best guys. Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter are both enjoying wonderful seasons that rank among their very best. Neither of them really are the best guys this year.
It is true, Jeter is having a wonderful season. That he's rebounded in the field to appease the angry SABR meance and their long-running vendetta helps to improve his case. That his team will make the post season means next to nothing when you realize two of his teammates are also frequently mentioned in the MVP discussion.
Despite the growing media uproar, Derek Jeter will not win the MVP in 2009. He will get his lifetime achievement upon induction to Cooperstown, where a long career of near-constant success, tens of millions of dollars, more beautiful women than a mere mortal could even imagine, a fawning fanbase, all the Gatorade he could possibly drink, and a legacy Jesus would envy finally reach their true zenith: a bronze bust in upstate New York.