City Sports Report

Much to Do About Nothing by Marc Rasbury

Derek Jeter Is Starting to Heat Up

Derek Jeter Is Starting to Heat Up

To take a page from Mark Twain, the report of Derek Jeter’s demise has been extremely exaggerated.  Now I’m not going to expect the Captain to revert back to his perennial All-Star status or even live up to his current contract, but he is not finished or washed up by no stretch of the imagination.

The problem here is that Jeter has spoiled us for over a decade and a half.  Not only has he put up numbers that most players would love to have been able to claim for themselves, but he has carried himself with class and dignity in the world’s biggest fishbowl.  One can say that he is this generation’s Joe DiMaggio.

So when the 36-year old got off to a slow start this season, batting a poultry .250 with only two extra base hits, folks were ready to send the Yankees’ shortstop out to the pasture.   He barely hit the ball out of the infield during most of his at bats this season.  There was a movement to demote or remove him from the lineup.  Some fans truly felt that Jeter should have been moved down the batting order to seventh, eighth or even ninth.

This sentiment may have been the result of the residual backlash stemming from this winter’s nasty contract renegotiations.  Then there were all of the haters that have been lying in the bushes waiting to come out and criticize Jeter all of these years.  The masses were ready to panic.  But hopefully Jeter’s exploits at the plate this past week have eased their fears.

Starting in Texas, Jeter showed the power that has been missing since the ’09 season.  On Saturday he drove a ball that just missed going yard. Then on Sunday he did drive two out of the park.  Now should one expect this type of power for the rest of the season?  Not exactly, but we should expect him to hit a respectable average from here on out.

Let’s keep in mind that the man will be 37 year’s old this season and he is playing the, perhaps, the most difficult defensive position in baseball. Unless you are taking steroids, which we know that he is not, then you are not going to perform like a player in his prime.

Jeter has raised his batting average from .250 to .282 in a week.  Even if he hits .270 to .280, I will take it, especially if he continues to make all of the routine plays in the field.  Listen Bucky Dent hit .265 and played steady defense and we all thought that was more than acceptable.  At this stage of his career and based what he has accomplished thus far, I would take that in a New York minute.  If I were most fans, I would be more worried about Jorge Posada than Jeter.

They had to take the shortstop position from Carl Ripken, Jr.  Hopefully, it will not come to that with Jeter.  I’m sure that if he realizes that he can not make the routine play in the field or his hitting is hurting the team, the Captain will be the first person to go to Joe Girardi and tell him that a change is needed.

If it was any other player, I would be concerned, very concerned. But we are talking about Jeter, a man that always seems to rise to the occasion.  It has only been a little more than a month and with the warm weather finally arriving, Jeter will continue to heat up accordingly.  The Captain has earned that extra time to reach his potential.  He has built up that equity. Just do not bet against the Captain.

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