The year-long mourning of Derek Jeter is going to be pretty much the most annoying thing ever. One thing to say at the outset is that by the standards writers have used to convict Jeff Bagwell and Mike Piazza, I have no idea what the basis for the claim that Jeter is the “clean” star of the era are. I mean, he played in the 90s and aughts, and showed remarkable durability and skills retention for a middle infielder, so he should be presumed guilty, right? It’s tautology all the way down.
Anyway, I’m sure there will be all too many chances to come back to the PED issue — let’s deal with some arguments about NERDS who are insufficiently respectful of the perfect man. We’ll have Allen Barra throw out the first strawman:
If one had to synthesize most of the recent Jeter coverage under one headline, it would be: Is Derek Jeter a True Hall of Famer or Is He Overrated?
The answer, of course, is “both.” Barra doesn’t cite anyone claiming that Jeter isn’t a Hall of Famer, presumably because (cranky exceptions because This is America aside) they don’t exist. Again, it’s not “an issue of his being overrated exactly; it is more an issue of his being fawned over.” Sportswriters certainly overrated him as a defensive player, but he’s still an obvious Hall of Famer and virtually nobody disputes this. The problem is that there are many great players who aren’t treated to this kind of routine hagiography, and many of the same sportswriters who engage in this ceaseless fawning over Jeter are keeping multiple players who were as great or greater than Jeter out of the Hall of Fame for no decent or coherent reason.
Since I’ve been baited, however, I can’t resist concluding with this:
Every major-league city will bring out Jeter and ceremonially roll ground balls out of his reach to his left and to his right.
— Tom Scocca (@tomscocca) February 12, 2014