The New York Media Is Still Strangely Proud of Itself

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.

About Brien Jackson

Born in Southwestern Ohio and currently residing on the Chesapeake Bay, Brien is a former editor-in-chief of IIATMS who now spends most of his time sitting on his deck watching his tomatoes ripen and consuming far more MLB Network programming than is safe for one's health or sanity.

8 thoughts on “The New York Media Is Still Strangely Proud of Itself

  1. I think the 180 turn in how Jeter is perceived was set off by how he treated A-Rod during those first few years. I know it really rubbed me the wrong way at the time, and since then I haven't thought of Jeter as a team player or clubhouse leader. Same goes for Joe Torre. I still love Jeter and want to see him succeed more than anybody else on the team, but that is probably more out of nostalgia for the Bernie-Tino years than for Jeter himself.

    • Well I want Jeter to do well to. He's still playing for my favorite team, after all. And I don't think your explanation makes a lot of sense, in so much as there isn't any recognition in the media that they've changed the narrative. It's not like they're writing "we used to think Jeter was selfless, then he did this, and now we know he's really an egomaniac," they've just totally changed the character in the middle of the story without any explanation for it. Which is why I think it's always been BS.

      And for what it's worth, I don't think Jeter has ever really been a great clubhouse guy, whatever you want that to mean. In fact, I've never really even bought Jeter as the team captain, and pretty much always thought that was a combination of Steinbrenner/Torre being enamored with him and the marketing team thinking that Derek Jeter Yankee Captain would make a great character. There's nothing wrong with that, of course, just another thing to remember as you try to dig through the more or less mythical character that Derek Jeter is, at least in the media.

      • I agree with you 100%. I wasn't trying to say the media narrative flows coherently, just point to what I think was the catalyst for the abrupt character change.

        • Ok, I see what you mean. I still don't think that's right, if for no other reason than that the media hates A-Rod. I think it was the contract issue myself. Not because of anything Jeter did, but simply because re-casting Jeter was necessary for them to spend a year ginning up interest/controversy in that.

  2. Good post, Brien!

    More garbage gets written about Derek Jeter than anyone else I can think of in baseball. Why? Because Derek Jeter puts fannies in the seats. Derek Jeter sells newspapers. Heck, go back and look at the number of comments WE get when we post on Derek Jeter. The cheapest and easiest way for any Yankee writer (blogger or MSM) to capture a little attention is to focus on Derek Jeter.

    Jeter is the most famous and most marketable athlete in baseball, and a lot of people will like him just for that reason, and a lot of people will resent him just for that reason.

    Brien, my advice is to treat every piece you see about Jeter like a Murray Chass column. Skim it quickly. If Jeter himself is not quoted, and if the piece does not contain any advanced statistical information, then the piece should be tossed away.

  3. Good stuff.

    The old saying "you can't have it both ways" seems to fit for both Jeter & the MSM. In order to focus and not be betrayed during key moments I feel that confidence morphs into arrogance. He stated recently that his job is to be SS because that is who he is and they haven't asked him to play elsewhere…so, fans saying that if he was a leader he would ask for a lower place in the order are asking him to conceed that he has slipped. Jeter needs to work harder (as he is older) and believe that 2010 was a combonation of several things with age being one, but not THE one.

    I believe he will play above for 1 or 2 years and below for 1 or 2 years. He has earned that respect and that role but I won't cry when Joe/Cash makes the move, but would be bummed if Jete asked for it (as that'll be the day when he dies).