It was no different this time. Even my Red Sox fan blogging friend Paul Francis Sullivan of Sully Baseball gave me grief over it, writing,"Yankee fans are throwing Jeter under the bus? This Red Sox fan WON'T HAVE IT!"
Here are some of the other responses. Reader Jeff Bunnell wrote in the comments section of the Jeter piece:
There has to be a reason that NO Yankee player went to the Sheppard funeral. That said, the Boss's funeral was this morning in Tampa and I didn't here of any Yankees there either (+ Reggie the the rest of the old-timers were all at Yankee Stadium for Old Timers' Day)I can think of two reasons no Yankees went to Sheppard's funeral:
1. It was the Thursday after the All-Star Break and they were enjoying their time off.
2. They figured their being present for the tributes to Sheppard at the Stadium would be sufficient.
But I haven't really heard many people argue either point. Instead, we've heard about this mystery bus containing Yankee players that may still be stuck in bad traffic at the Meadowbrook Parkway. Or that there must have been some other reason the Yankees skipped it, like it was family only. Wrong.
Unlike George Steinbrenner's service, which really was restricted to family-only (Reggie Jackson tried, and failed, to get an invite), there were 900 people at Sheppard's funeral, and that press release I quoted said that members of the Yankees would be at the service.
If anything, put it on the ownership. It was, after all, the Boss who flew the entire Yankee team to Canton OH to attend Munson's funeral, whether they would forfeit that evening's game or not. That did not happen here, but to single out a PLAYER, even Jeter, is totally wrong. What was he supposed to do, go AWOL?
Reader BeReal slams me as well, saying in part:
I guess the Sheppard family was so offended they had to show their disgust by sending Bob's widow to Yankee Stadium just six days after his death. Let's all just realize that we don't know why there were no Yankees players there. Maybe the family didn't want players there, turning it into a media circus. Reggie Jackson was actually Sheppard's friend (Bob helped him with both his HOF speech and his number retirement speech), and he wasn't there either. Why isn't anyone on his case?Maybe Mary Sheppard decided to show more class than was directed her way. I did notice about how the players made a point of all surrounding her in the introduction, which was nice.
As for the captain, so much of Jeter's image is based on being classy. Saying and doing the right things. And being the person who most befits what it means to be a "true Yankee." How many times have we heard criticism of another player prefaced by "Derek Jeter would never do that"?
So yeah, it is a big, honking deal when the captain of the team makes an error like this. It is a rare misstep, but it is a misstep, nonetheless.
BeReal also writes:
Jeter asked Bob Sheppard to record his announcement knowing that Bob wouldn't be there forever, but wanting his voice to be. Bob Sheppard called it one of the greatest compliments he had ever received. To stop using it now that Bob is gone would completely defeat the purpose of recording it in the first place, and dishonor Sheppard, who died knowing his voice would live on at Yankee Stadium through Derek Jeter.Again, if A-Rod had done the same thing, Yankee fans would not exactly be singing hosannas about him doing so. Because it puts the current announcer in an awkward position, and sets the player apart from everybody else as well.
Besides, Jeter isn't going to play forever. When he retires, will the Yankees not only have to keep Sheppard's voice alive, but keep announcing Jeter's name in the lineup each night, just to make sure Sheppard's voice will live on through the captain? Where does it end?
Matt on Earth writes:
Get over it, people. When will you all realize that athletes DO NOT owe us anything. Sure, it would have been nice if some of the players showed up for Mr. Sheppard's funeral. However, it's their call, and their right not to. Guess what! They don't even have to explain their reasons for choosing if they don't want too. To bad!
Jeter has been a great player for the organization and has never put himself in a compromising situation. The first second the media can find something even remotely controversial regarding him, all you yahoos come out of the closet throwing your two cents in on the matter. Come on!
You can whine all you like about what constitutes "classy," but the truth is those athletes don't give a damn about your opinion. Enjoy the athletes for what they are - entertainment. Stop putting stock into them as role models, and we'll all be a lot happier.
But Jeter didn't say "no comment" or "it's none of your business" why he didn't go. He said he "didn't know" about the funeral date, which is a joke. And he deserved to be called on it, especially given him insisting that only Sheppard can introduce him.
And, as I noted above, so much of Jeter's image is based on him being classy, and being a great role model - the guy who "has never put himself in a compromising situation." So, when he does something not so great, are we supposed to stick our fingers and say "la la la, I can't hear you" or something? C'mon now.
What do you think? Leave us a comment!