Friday, July 8, 2011

Rant #542: Hat's Off To 3,000

OK, I am going to do something I have held off doing for a while.

Congratulations to Derek Jeter on his 3,000th hit.

No, he hasn't reached the milestone yet. He currently has 2,998 hits, and has three games before the All-Star break to reach this milestone.

And I hope he reaches the milestone, and passes it, tonight.

Since I don't write on the weekends, I am going to congratulate him right now.

Playing his entire career for my beloved New York Yankees, he has been one of their finest players ever. In fact, when he reaches his 3,000th hit, he will be the only Yankee to do so in their history.

Yes, the only one.

But I wish he would get it already. The road to this hit has become a distraction to the team, and they are currently playing like it is a distraction, falling into second place in the American League East behind the hated Boston Red Sox with the Bronx Bombers' loss last night.

Attention has turned away from the games and directly to Jeter.

This is media nonsense, but it is what it is, and it has to affect the players. They are playing for the chance to win it all, to go through the playoffs and the World Series, but they have this great albatross to get off their backs.

And it is a huge one.

This is no knock against Jeter. He has been an incredibly gifted athlete.

Jeter is not the player he once was, but who is after so many season? He has given baseball fans thrills since he broke in 16 years ago.

All these years later, hiis productivity has dipped, but his popularity has skyrocketed.

He may be the most popular player ever to don a Yankee uniform.

Sure, he gets cheers at home. That is to be expected.

But he is about the only Yankee star I can ever remember who gets cheers on the road.

I wasn't around for Ruth, Gehrig or DiMaggio, so I can't comment on them. I do remember the Mick though. Mickey Mantle did get cheers toward the end of his career, but remember, he at one time was even booed at home.

I don't remember Jeter ever getting booed at home.

Anyway, I hope Jeter does it tonight, and the Yankees win.

And remember, that is the important thing. If Jeter gets his hits and the Yankees lose to the Tampa Bay Rays, it might make the back and front pages of the paper, but the team will continue in its doldrums.

That can't happen, and I doubt that Jeter would want it to happen this way.

My prediction: he does it tonight, with two hits, one a single to centerfield and the 3,000th a single to rightfield.

He doffs his hat in appreciation, but more importantly, he makes a great play in the field at shortstop to lead the Yankees to a 5-3 victory.

Let's see if I am as clairvoyant as I want to be in this instance.

And let's get it done and over with already.

(This will have to wait a day. Tonight's game was rained out.)

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