Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Derek Jeter Deserved His Gold Glove

Derek Jeter, Robinson Cano and Mark Teixeira won Gold Gloves yesterday.

They all deserved the honor.

Yes, even Jeter.

"Advanced fielding metrics rank him as mediocre at best at shortstop these days." -- Lisa Swan, Subway Squawkers

Advanced fielding metrics? I'm not going to doubt Lisa's "True Yankee Fan" status just because she likes Alex Rodriguez and Joe Girardi more than Derek Jeter and Joe Torre, respectively. Besides, she's merely backing up the point of the actually offensive (and she frequently agrees he's offensive) Wallace Matthews of ESPN (and formerly of the New York Post, that great bastion of irresponsible journalism):

You really don't need to consult any statistics or advanced fielding metrics to know what your own eyes told you if you watched enough Yankees games this season, which is that there can really be no argument that both Teixeira and Cano are among the best, if not the best, at their respective positions.

And neither did you need any numbers to tell that Jeter is not.

This is not to say he is a bad shortstop. Far from it. At 36, Jeter remains sure-handed and rifle-armed. His instincts, as always, are perfect -- his fundamentals rock-solid. Along with Cano -- and some would say, because of Cano -- he still turns a terrific double play. Any ball hit right at him is a guaranteed out.

And that is both a compliment and an indictment. Because if it isn't hit right at him, and I mean right at him, then it's a base hit. 

Talk about damning with faint praise.

"Theoretical physicists will tell you that an elephant can hang from a cliff with his tail tied to a daisy. But use your eyes." -- Jim Garrison

"Statistics are like women; mirrors of purest virtue and truth, or like whores to use as one pleases." -- Theodor Billroth

"There are two kinds of statistics, the kind you look up and the kind you make up." -- Rex Stout

"The average human has one breast and one testicle." -- Des McHale. Ouch. Actually, at the rate humanity is going, it may be down to one breast and .8 balls.

"Say you were standing with one foot in the oven and one foot in an ice bucket. According to the percentage people, you should be perfectly comfortable." -- Bobby Bragan, although I've also seen this attributed to another mediocre player turned cagey manager, Eddie Stanky.

"He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lampposts, for support rather than for illumination." -- Andrew Lang. I'm not sure who he is, but I first saw this attributed to broadcaster Vin Scully.

"Statistics are like bikinis: What they reveal can be good, but what they don't reveal can be more important." -- Aaron Levenstein, whoever he was.

"Lucy, tell your statistics to shut up." -- Charles Schulz as Charlie Brown, Peanuts

Derek Jeter has 5 Gold Gloves now. He deserves them all.

Go ahead, cite your statistics. They may suggest that I am wrong. They will never prove it.

As I've said many times, facts can be true or false, but opinions can never be proven right or wrong, only agreed with, or not.

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