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MLB - Dear Derek Jeter...

By Eric Maus
Saturday, February 8th, 2003
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Dear Derek Jeter,

As President of the Official Derek Jeter Fan Club, I'd like to say what a jerk George Steinbrenner is. The Boss wants you more focused. Says your mind is not totally on baseball and more so on extracurricular activities. Rumors have it you're living it up in the Big Apple. Out 'til 3 AM drinking and partying. Eating meals at Nobu cooked by the Iron Chef. Scanning the city in search of the next Mariah Carey. Sounds like quite the life to me.

What's the problem here? Am I missing something? It's all part of being a 28-year-old guy and Georgie doesn't understand that. He's senile! How dare he question your focus! How dare he expect more out a guy that he pays $18 million a season!

Doesn't he realize whom he's talking to? You are Derek Jeter, the greatest player in Major League Baseball history. The greatest Yankee that ever lived. Better than Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, Phil Rizzuto, Lou Gehrig, Bucky Dent, Shane Spencer, Luis Sojo, and Marcus Thames. You hustle and are a team leader. You are a winner and have the heart of a champion. You could turn water into wine and stones into loaves of bread.

Oops ... did I forget to mention you are 10 times better than any shortstop in the game? A-Rod may have hit 50 homeruns a year, but how many World Series rings does he have? Miguel Tejada has an MVP, but how many World Series rings does he have? Nosemar Garciaparra has two batting titles, but how many World Series rings does he have? Omar Vizquel has more Gold Gloves than Hugh Hefner has silk pajamas, but how many World Series rings does he have? We all know championship rings measure greatness, not statistics.

Speaking of which, I noticed something peculiar the other day while looking at my mint condition Topps 2003 card that I hope you'll autograph for me when I head down to Tampa to see you guys in a few weeks.

D.J.'s statistics:

1999 -- 24 HR, 102 RBI, .349 avg., .990 OPS
2000 -- 15 HR, 73 RBI, .339 avg., .897 OPS
2001 -- 21 HR, 74 RBI, .311 avg., .857 OPS
2002 -- 18 HR, 75 RBI, .297 avg., .794 OPS

Now maybe my eyes are deceiving me, but it appears your average and OPS have dipped dramatically since 1999. Back down naysayers, there is a logical explanation to this. Jeter went to manager Joe Torre and told him he wanted a new role with the club. He was once a Chief, but now is an Indian. Some people may call it a decline, but Derek and I know the truth. He's not hitting as well on purpose, to inspire the other guys around him to play harder. He's sacrificing his own statistics for the benefit of others. I'm onto you, big guy! It's all part of being a team leader, eh?

Oh, something else I wanted to talk to you about. Lately, I've read articles written by Rob Neyer and Bill James that suggest you may not be the flashiest guy with the leather, either. They say you are one of the worst in the league among shortstops in terms of range factor. But what the hell do these guys know? Range factor? Sabermetrics? Diuretics? What such nonsense is this? Stats don't mean a damn thing except to these baseball know-nothings. Furthermore, why should you and I take offense to what Mr. Neyer and Mr. James have to say, how many World Series rings have they won?

Anyway ... I just wanted to drop you a line, Derek. Keep on playing hard. Keep on partying. Take care, and don't listen to what Steinbrenner or those Jeter bashers like Neyer and James have to say. Don't worry, legions of fans like myself know you are the greatest player that's ever lived. Time to go watch Game 3 of the 2001 ALDS. Man, that sideways pass was awesome!


John, The Typical Jeter Fan

P.S. I'm predicting another monster season out of you: 15 HR, 70 RBI, .290 avg., .790 OPS. Do you think that's within reach?

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