Friday, November 5, 2010

Sweeny Murti tells a charming, but telling, anecdote about Derek Jeter

We always hear from the media about what a master Derek Jeter is at handling the press. Regarding that subject, WFAN's Sweeny Murti's wrote an article called "A Decade With Derek", a piece I saw linked on Baseball Think Factory today. In the piece, Murti, who covers the Yankees for the radio station, talked about moments both on and off the field with the Yankee captain in his 10 years covering the team.

There is one really telling anecdote that BTF highlilghted, and that I couldn't help but notice as well. In 2002, Murti mentioned to Jeter that he hadn't struck out in his first 34 plate appearances that year. Murti said:

I thought it was quite a feat for a player who usually strikes out at least 100 times a year (only 99 each of the last two years he quickly reminded me).
Top of the first inning (against Roy Halladay mind you) Jeter struck out for the first time that season. I muttered a few four-letter words to myself. I mean, how stupid was I? Top of the third inning, Jeter struck out again. When the game was over, I noticed Jeter glaring at me from across the clubhouse and dragged myself over to his locker. I actually apologized for him striking out. I said something like, “Man, that’s a rookie mistake from a second year guy. I’m never doing that again, trust me.” Jeter shot back, “Don’t think I wasn’t thinking about you either.” It was somewhat playful since the Yankees won the game, and as I’d find out many more times over the decade, Jeter really doesn’t care how he performs as long as the team wins.
The next night, Jeter struck out three more times in a 9-7 loss to the Blue Jays. That was five strikeouts in two games after my little attempt at conversation. Jeter walked by me this time and said, “I’m not talking to you for a month as punishment.”
For years now, every time somebody tries to feed Jeter a statistical nugget about a hitting streak or errorless streak or whatever, he glares at them and begs them to stop. And I laugh.
Cute story, right? But change the name in the anecdote of the player from Derek Jeter to Alex Rodriguez, and the story wouldn't seem quite so charming, would it?

You know, I get Jeter's superstition -- I feel the same way whenever Michael Kay reveals some stat, like scoreless innings by a pitcher, only to see it end in that very inning!

I'm just saying that if it were A-Rod or some other less-revered player who glared at a reporter like that after a team win, then threatened him the next night with the whole "I’m not talking to you for a month as punishment" thing, reporters would have a much more negative reaction. And they sure as heck wouldn't be falling over themselves to apologize, the way Murti did with Jeter!

What do you think? Tell us about it!


Anonymous said...

I'm not a Yankee fan, so I don't think I will ever really "get" the love for Derek Jeter. He does seem to have his own set of rules.

Lisa Swan said...


I sometimes get accused of being a Derek Jeter hater. I'm not. But I just have a real problem with the blind worship of the guy, and the way he's put on some pedestal as being bigger than the Yankees, and as being somehow classier than everybody else in the game.

I think it's always instructive when hearing reporters talk about something Jeter does to ask how they would react if it were A-Rod doing it, like in this story. Like when Jeter pretended to get hit by a pitch earlier this year. I can assure you that nobody would have called such a move by A-Rod clever gamesmanship, the way they did Jeter!

baliboy said...

Lisa, Lisa ... give it a rest! I used to read you religiously--having been a Yankee fan for FIFTY FOUR YEARS! But you've become like the little old lady who lives with her cats and spews venom at everybody ... not named Alex that is! We get it already ... you love A-Rod (whom I also like a lot), but that doesn't mean you have to compare EVERY accolade or positive comment bestowed on Jeter as a personal affront and how different it would be for A-Rod. Also, enough with the "advanced" metrics crap -- you use it whenever you want to trash Jeter, but if it's so "advanced," how come Marco (18 errors and many at crucial times) Scutaro and Ian Desmond (a league leading THIRTY FOUR ERRORS -- nearly TWICE that of the ENTIRE Yankees infield!) are ranked ahead of Jeter by these so-called "advanced" metrics. For all the junk he takes, Jeter played a VERY solid shortstop the past two seasons ... with, most importantly, not a SINGLE miscue of substance in either year (regular or post-season). if that's not good enough for you and others, you're beyond hope.

Lisa Swan said...

Baliboy, is that really the standard for the Gold Glove: "most importantly, not a SINGLE miscue of substance in either year (regular or post-season)"? C'mon, now. It's supposed to be the best defensive player at each position.
Sure, he had fewer errors, but that's because his range is so limited now. You can't make errors on balls you can't get to.

And even most other Yankee fans acknowledge that Jeter is no longer the best shortstop in the league, and didn't deserve the award.

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