Friday, November 26, 2010
Imagine There's No Jeter, It's Easy If You Try
The batter is Derek Jeter.
The opposing team's closer looks in. He fires. Jeter swings.
He drives the ball into the left-center gap. The tying run scores easily. Here comes the winning run. Here's the throw from left field, the shortstop takes it as the cutoff man, he throws to the plate...
A good throw would have gotten the runner. Instead, the shortstop screws it up. Ballgame over. Derek Jeter has led his team to the American League Pennant.
Final score, Angels 5, Yankees 4.
Mariano Rivera sits in the visitors' clubhouse at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, head down, seriously considering retirement. Yankee Fans are already inundating message boards with suggestions that the Yankees shouldn't have given Mo a big new contract a year earlier, and that he can't be trusted to close out the big games anymore.
There's also some mention on said boards of how Alex Rodriguez went 2-for-28 with just 1 RBI, a 450-foot homer in Game 5 after the Yankees were already down 8-2 following another spit-the-bit performance by A.J. Burnett.
In the Angels' clubhouse, team owner Arte Moreno is so glad he decided to show Jeter the money... money he was willing to spend, and the Steinbrenner brothers and Brian Cashman were not.
In the World Series, Jeter spends the 1st 5 games flailing away at the plate. In the New York Daily News, Mike Lupica writes in his column that the Steinbrenners were right after all.
Then in Game 6, Jeter hits a single and a double for 3 RBIs, and the Angels finish off the Reds.
Over the next 3 days, first Yankee manager Joe Girardi and then Reds manager Dusty Baker are fired.
The Yankees pry Don Mattingly away from the Dodgers to be their 2012 manager. He lasts until 2015, and is fired after 3 seasons with no Playoff berths. Yankee Fans finally realize there is one true curse in baseball: The Curse of Donnie Regular Season Baseball. No team with Don Mattingly in uniform, as player, coach or manager ever wins a Pennant.
Derek Jeter retires after the 2016 season, at age 42, with 3,786 hits, 3rd all-time, and 8 World Championships to his credit: 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2014.
The Mets celebrate the 50th Anniversary of their 1969 Miracle by winning the 2019 National League Pennant. But they lose the World Series to the Utah Buzz, in only their 5th season since moving to Salt Lake City following their inability to get a new ballpark to replace the inadequate dome they'd played in as the Tampa Bay Rays. Don't ask Met fans about the play that caused them to lose Game 7 in 2019: It's still too painful. Terry Collins lasts 2 more years as manager before he is fired.
Jeter is elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2022. His plaque shows him wearing a Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim cap.
The Yankees still haven't won a World Series since 2009, or made the Playoffs since 2011.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes a book titled The Curse of Derek Jeter: How the Yankees Threw It All Away.
"What if the Yankees had re-signed Derek Jeter in 2010?"
Wouldn't that be a great question to not have to ask?