Jeter defeat most logical


以下文章出於可能是NY Daily News甚至紐約最知名的文字球評家Mike Lupica



Jeter defeat most logical

Voters check stats, not stripes

By Mike Lupica / NY Daily News

Published : Nov.22, 2006

In New York, we thought it was Derek Jeter's time to finally win the MVP. We thought maybe the award would be for his whole time at Yankee Stadium. It doesn't work that way. He lost to Justin Morneau yesterday, lost out on an MVP he should have won. He did not get robbed. No.2 of the Yankees just finished a close second. This is a surprise, not an outrage.

This year, somebody beats out the star Yankee. David Ortiz couldn't do it one year ago, even though Ortiz deserved the award more than Alex Rodriguez did. Now Morneau beats out Jeter. It is funny how these things work out, because Jeter deserved the MVP this year a lot more than A-Rod did last year.

Jeter still hasn't won the MVP. Mo Rivera has never won a Cy Young Award. It doesn't change who either one of them is, or has been, at the Stadium. Doesn't change how lucky we are around here to watch them play baseball.

I would have voted for Jeter. I grade higher for shortstops and for catchers, which is why I wonder why more people didn't go for Morneau's teammate, Joe Mauer. I thought in a close year, with everything that happened around him, Jeter was a greater Yankee than he had ever been, that this really was his time. Everybody around here did. We see everything he does, every day. We know why he has become this kind of star, why he has become the Yankee kids most want to be the way Mickey Mantle was.

Oh, sure. If they sold sports apparel in Mantle's day the way they do now, we would have seen kids all over town wearing No. 7 jerseys the way we see Jeter's No. 2. He is the biggest sports star of his time in this city. It is no small thing.

I always remember sitting with David Cone one Sunday morning, drinking coffee before batting practice, when Jeter came walking through the door. Cone nodded at him. Jeter nodded back. When Jeter was out of earshot, Cone sighed and said, "It's good being Derek Jeter."

Maybe that's why it was so easy to think this would be the year when he was rewarded in some way other than another World Series ring. It seemed like a fitting honor for everything he has been at the Stadium. It is still no crime that he did not win.

We can't measure this only on the numbers because Jeter is never going to have the home run numbers or RBI numbers of Morneau or Ortiz or A-Rod. Around here, we sure did see what a rock Jeter was this year for his team once Hideki Matsui was gone and Gary Sheffield was gone and even Robinson Cano was gone for a good long time. We see all the games in the regular season when he won't allow his team to lose.

It is still hard to scream that somehow Jeter got jobbed because Morneau won, not after the year he had or the year his team had. In Boston they still think it is Ortiz, even the way the Red Sox faded. Maybe if the White Sox beat out the Twins and Tigers as you kept thinking they would, it would have been Jermaine Dye, who had the season of his life.

Imagine how the Yankee fans screaming about Jeter would scream if they had a catcher with Mauer's numbers and that catcher didn't come close to finishing in the money.

No one knows what formula voters use for awards like this. Sometimes it seems the whole thing is about as scientific as Miss America. The Yankees won the American League East as soon as they won that five-game series from the Red Sox at Fenway Park in August. The Twins, who started off badly, had to play all the way to the last day of the regular season to win an AL Central title the Tigers had been winning for six months.

Jeter had nothing to say about any of that. It is easy to make the case that the Yankees aren't even in a position to knock out the Red Sox in August if Jeter hadn't held the whole thing together in the months before that. He was a more complete hitter and player this year than he has ever been, and that is saying something.

But in a close year, even with Jeter's numbers from the No. 2 hole, enough people wanted more than a .343 batting average and all those runs scored and the fact that Jeter is a shortstop. None of that, especially not a close vote like this, changes who he is as a ballplayer. And who he is for the Yankees as a ballplayer is the DiMaggio of this time. That doesn't mean he has DiMaggio's talent or his numbers. It is about the way he plays the game.

"You don't play for this team in this place and think about finishing second," he said on the field at the Stadium before Game 2 of the Tigers' series, when we were as sure it was going to be a big October for the Yankees as we were sure he was going to win the MVP award.

Jeter finished second yesterday. No. 2 of the Yankees, as cool a number as there is in sports, didn't have the numbers.