The NY Times Magazine did a million word article filled with statistical analysis and backed up with tons of empirical evidence to tell us what anyone with eyes and calendar already knows: at the age of 37, Derek Jeter is washed up:
He leads all of baseball, by a wide margin, in his ratio of ground balls to balls lifted in the air, an arcane but telling statistic. Jeter can no longer consistently bring the bat through the hitting zone at the proper moment… He is on pace for just 30 extra-base hits this season, meaning that about once a week he gets something more than a single. With age, his “range factor” has declined further from a not-so-impressive starting point; as of mid-June, he was dead last this season in both that category and another, “zone range,” among starting major-league shortstops.
A nice read, but like I said, this is news to no one except, apparently, readers of the NY Times Magazine. What IS interesting though is this little gem about how the Yankees management treated the guy who wrote the piece:
The prospect of this article did not sit well with the Yankees, or at least elements of its hierarchy. Jason Zillo, the team’s media director, would not grant me access to the Yankees’ clubhouse before games to do interviews…“We’re not interested in helping you, so why should I let you in?” Zillo said, before further explaining that he views his role as a “gatekeeper” against stories the Yankees would rather not see in print… Jeter has become a lightning rod on the topic [of aging]. We see him getting old, but we’re supposed to pretend he is just in a prolonged slump.
Unbelievable. This isn’t Russia, Danny. Is this Russia? No, this isn’t Russia. Unless you’re a long time baseball writer for the biggest newspaper in America who has the guts to write the obvious truth that Derek Jeter is done. Finished. Well on his way to a BrettFavrian end to his career. Then the Bronx Bolsheviks drag you away to a gulag somewhere to “reform” you. There’ll be no reporting the obvious, not while Steinbrenner’s Ministry of Truth is in power. The Yankees have gotten so fat and happy over the last 15 years reading puff pieces about how Jeter emits a magic, radiant glow of winning that shines on all about him that they can’t face the inconvenient truth that he’s getting old just like everyone else does. Granted it happened to him years ago. And they don’t like to admit he’s human. But that doesn’t mean the rest of the world has to go along with their fantasy that Jeter is immortal. Sorry Yankees, you can’t handle the truth. @JerryThornton1