Cinderella skipping his ball at All-Star Game
Derek Jeter would have been the star of the show. The belle of the ball. A major chunk of Tuesday's All-Star Game broadcast would have been devoted to him and his latest accomplishment: Membership in the 3,000 hit club.
And instead, he is staying home to rest an injury. I've just spent the last five minutes trying to come up with a better word than "lame" and I can't. Wait, I just did. It's not only lame, it's lazy.
Now before you accuse me of being blinded by my anti-Yankees bias (which is stronger than ever thank you very much) you should know I have nothing but genuine respect for Derek Jeter. How could you not for the only pure bred Yankee to get to 3,000 hits, only the second player to hit a home run for his 3000th career hit and the first player ever to collect hit number 3000 at Yankee Stadium (new or old).
All the assembly line clichés that get tossed around too easily apply to Jeter in every way. He plays the game hard. He plays the game the right way. He's a winner. He's clean. I tell the aspiring ballplayer in my house, work as hard as that guy and you'll be just fine. Jeter has always been a fine representative of baseball.
To skip an All-Star Game mere days after becoming one of 28 men to achieve one of the most noteworthy accomplishments in the game doesn't feel right. One of the game's most popular players, who just passed one of true touchstone marks of the sport, opts out of what is allegedly one of baseball's showcase events. It makes everybody look bad. Would it kill him to hop on a private jet, fly to Phoenix, wave, tip his cap, maybe even get an at bat or play one inning in the field, and then fly right home? Is that asking too much?
It's not that I'm anti-Yankees, I'm pro-Phoenix. Once the worry was that no one would show up due to politics. Now, upwards of 16 players have pulled out citing injuries. I'm starting to think that baseball just wants to get this particular All-Star Game over with. Like they're just going through the
Between all the players pulling out and the embarrassing omission of Justin Upton from the Home Run Derby, the headlines are all about who ISN'T here. Not who is. And that's not how I want Phoenix's only All Star Game to be remembered by.
But it's Jeter's face on the side of the milk carton. The worry here is that his absence above all others defines the 2011 All-Star Game in exactly the same way that the tie score defined the infamous 2002 All Star Game and led to my favorite Bud Selig photo ever:
It's like in Hoosiers. If I remember right, it's the townie who gets kicked out of Gene Hackman's first practice and says "Look, mister, there's... two kinds of dumb, uh... guy that gets naked and runs out in the snow and barks at the moon, and, uh, guy who does the same thing in my living room. First one don't matter, the second one you're kinda forced to deal with."
If the new Mr. 3000 and half of baseball wanted to bail on the All Star Game, why did they have to bail on the one in my living room?