Monday, October 12, 2009

Derek Jeter enters the Twilight Zone

It was bad enough seeing the Yankees dispose of the Twins on TBS, but at least I wasn't listening on ESPN radio. Squawker Lisa tells me that she heard, via Fire Joe Morgan's KenTremendous, that Jon Miller said Derek Jeter must have had a "third eye" to spot Nick Punto failing to stop at third when Jeter fired the ball to Jorge Posada, who then threw Punto out at third.

So Jeter is not simply a future Hall of Famer - now he is a superior entity straight out of the "Twilight Zone." (Spoiler alert: Clip reveals the ending of my favorite Twilight Zone episode - "Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up.")

Sure, Jeter made a good play. But Jeter could be the smartest player in the history of baseball and there's no play to make if Punto even had ONE EYE on his third-base coach, frantically trying to hold him up.

By the time Jeter got the ball, batter Denard Span was almost at first base. Did Jeter need a fourth eye to notice that?

Once Jeter saw that he couldn't throw out Span, his options shifted to the other runner, Punto. Jeter simply did what he was supposed to do.

As someone who watched way too much of the 2009 Mets, I certainly do not take smart infield play for granted. A 2009 Met middle infielder might well have hurried a throw to first - past Daniel Murphy and into the dugout. Punto could have been the hero instead of the goat.

But Punto was not the only goat. Ex-Met Carlos Gomez showed he really was trained in the Met farm system when he made his own baserunning gaffe in Game 2. And then there is Joe Nathan, who blew Game 2 and put Game 3 out of reach.

Seeing Nathan take dirt from the Metrodome mound after the Twins were eliminated that was irritating. Nathan was responsible as anyone for the Twins' quick demise, and here he is taking a memento after giving up two hits to turn a 2-1 deficit into 4-1. What's next - asking A-Rod for an autographed baseball:
To Joe: Shoulda pitched around me! [signed] Alex Rodriguez :)

It reminded me of when the Mets blew the playoffs in 2008, then put on the tribute to Shea Stadium. It came off a lot better than I thought it would. There was a lot of history to celebrate, just as is the case with the Twins. But I am glad I did not notice Scott Schoeneweis or Luis Ayala, who gave up eighth-inning homers that day to seal the Mets' fate, taking dirt from the mound.

Instead, it is the Twins that are covered in dirt, while the Yankees roll on. I look forward to an entertaining and competitive series featuring Mark Teixeira and Bobby Abreu facing their old teams. I don't see anyone stopping the Yankees, but at least it can be close.

Unfortunately, I also don't see anyone stopping Squawker Lisa's crowing. It is shaping up to be a long winter.


Anonymous said...

I read that he took the dirt to bring to the new stadium and sprinkle on the mound thus connecting the history of the Metrodome with the new chillier Target Field. I don't see anything wrong with his sentimental gesture. I guess he could have waited till the place was empty to get the dirt tho'.


Go Yankees 2009 !!!!

Anonymous said...

With regards to the Twilight Zone ...absolutely one of the greatest shows ever episode which was not necessarily my favorite but one that spooked me to this day when riding on dark, lonely roads was the "The Hitchhiker". Whenever I'm riding dark roads I see that hitchhiker in my mind's eye. I guess I could never pick a favorite episode because almost all were fantastic. Rod Sterling was a genius who was way ahead of his time.


Go Yankees 2009 !!

Uncle Mike said...

Submitted for your approval: Jon Lewin, a disgruntled Met fan, though a keen observer will note that a disgruntled one is the only available kind.

He fails to note that the episode in question mentions that the Yankees had lost the most recent World Series, on the walkoff home run by Bill Mazeroski, as Jack Elam, in old-age makeup, used it to to explain to the police that he was actually from Earth rather than Mars.

A keen observer could also tell John Hoyt, who turned out to be the actual Martian, is not from Earth, because he was in a hurry to get to Boston. Why any Earthman would be in a hurry to get to Boston, home of the Red Sox, and the truly alien species known as the Red Sox fan, is beyond any Earthman's comprehension.

But then, as the Red Sox just proved, a Red Sox fan falls under the title of another classic episode of that series: "The Obsolete Man." And a Met fan, stuck in the regular season that just ended, would be fully understood if, like Fritz Weaver as that episode's fascist chancellor, cried out, "Please, in the name of God, let me out!"

And, of course, Rod Serling was from Binghamton, New York, now home to a Mets farm team. As the man himself would say, "A case to be filed under M, for 'Mankind.'" If not under M for 'Mets,' in the Twilight Zone."

DOO-doo-DOO-doo, DOO-doo-DOO-doo...

Anonymous said...

ummm ... to suggest that Jeter made an average play on that ball does not speak well for your baseball acumen. 9 out of 10 shortstops do not make that play. it takes a rare combination of instinct, experience and baseball know-how to get that out. Jeter has made so many big plays in big spots that by now people like you write off another one of them as merely average. that was the play of the game.

Anonymous said...

From the LATimes:
But the ball took a bad hop, handcuffing Pedroia and extending the inning.

"Our infield sucks. It's the worst in the game. I'm not lying about that," said Pedroia, who blamed the grounds crew. "That stuff upsets me. My job's to take 1,000 ground balls a day and the others guys' jobs are to get the field perfect so we can play baseball

Pedroia is blaming the grounds crew?! Really? These guys need to learn to lose gracefully. Admit they got their butts handed to them and wait for next year. Again, he blames the grounds crew? Really? Who does that?


Uncle Mike said...

Oh, whatsamatter, Pedroia, those groundskeepers prevent you from making any new dumb commercials?

I've heard of guys blaming the grounds crew for losses... but that's when they're playing on the road. The Indians and White Sox, when Bill Veeck owned them, were notorious for doctoring the field to help their teams, like sloping the foul lines for their bunts.

The Yanks had a problem like that in '78 in Baltimore, went Earl Weaver told Pat Santarone and his Oriole grounds crew to be verrrry sllllow with the tarp, and if it hadn't happened, the Yanks would have won the AL East without a Playoff, and New England would have forgotten about Bucky Blessed Dent by now.

Glad to see the old Red Sox are back: 25 men come to the ballpark, play a game, and then take 25 cabs home. At least in those days they had some interesting people like Tiant, Lee and Fisk.

Anonymous said...

Maybe he didn't need a eyes in the back of his head for the Punto play, but what about the Gomez play in Game 2? Watching that replay, Jeter never ONCE turned around from facing Swisher and calling for the baseball. How did he know Gomez was so far off the bag? How did he know he was coming back to second instead of going on to third (making the play at 3rd)? How did he know he had a play? But he did.

Anonymous said...

Wow - you sure do take everything literally, don't you.

Okay, let me explain this to you so you'll understand. Miller didn't mean that Jeter REALLY had a third eye. He was trying to make the point that Jeter was alert to the point of quickly observing what was going on all around the field of action.

In a way it's beside the point that the play was a result of Punto making a blunder. If Jeter didn't notice it right away and react as quickly as he did, nobody would even know Punto goofed - really bad. That's the point.

Jeez, give credit where it's due like a mensch (or don't mention it all if you can't deal with it) and stop acting like a little girl.

BTW - cool post, Uncle Mike.

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