Jeter packing it in? Factional warfare in the clubhouse?! Oh no!
Obviously that’s silly, since as far as I know Sherman isn’t basing this on anything but his imaginary scenarios that would be fun for a tabloid writer to cover. But Jeter is a competitor and a professional, he’s not going to quit on his team or his teammates just because he’s asked to move to the bottom of the order. But a couple of things do stick out anyway.
First of all, it’s really fascinating how the New York media’ portrayal of Jeter has done a complete 180, without even a hint of self-awareness. Three years ago, Jeter was the “consummate team player” who “only cared about winning” and “always did what was best for the team no matter what.” Now he’s an egomaniac who might be expected to throw a hissy fit and tank the rest of the season if he’s moved to the 7th or 8th spot in the batting order at 37 years old. Neither of these are likely 100% accurate, but to state the obvious, they can’t both be true. This basically gives up the game that the papers are feeding you a fictional story much more than they’re giving you any actual “analysis.”
The second thing that continues to amaze me is how full of themselves the New York papers are. After all, who is going to make all of this noise if/when Jeter is moved down? The fans? That seems unlikely. Jeter is only going to be moved down if he isn’t hitting well at all, and in that situation I can’t really see a large portion of the fan base being too worked up. There will be the cadre of Jeter dead-enders who freak out about it, obviously, but most fans want their team to win first and foremost, and if Curtis Granderson is raking and Jeter is struggling to get a ball out of the infield, I think most people are going to have a hard time getting too worked up about a simple change to the lineup.
No, the people who will be making the uproar will be the guys who write for the papers. The Shermans and Maddens and Lupicas of the city. Sherman is basically promising the create a controversy if and when Jeter is moved down the lineup. This is nothing new, of course. We’re all familiar with the way the local media talks about players “not being able to handle” the New York press, but it’s still weird how they go about creating and sustaining this myth themselves. There’s some pretty unprofessional elements of the sports media complex in every city, but I don’t think anyone else completely revels in their lack of professionalism and tabloid nature of their work the way the New York papers do.