No player has felt the demand to perform every plate appearance like Alex Rodriguez has since Dave Winfield was nicknamed Mr. May in the 1980s. However, this week there were several instances of Yankee fans going to bat—so to speak—for Rodriguez over Derek Jeter.
The Jeter-Rodriguez debate returned to New York sports-talk radio from wherever it was left two years ago. However. it changed. It used to be that Rodriguez can’t come through in the clutch, highlighted by his .133 and .071 averages in the 2005 and 2006 ALDS. Now it is that Jeter is overrated, too old to play shortstop and is washed up.
What happened? I will admit that I will defend Jeter to death, no matter what, and have always admitted that Rodriguez's stats are far better than the shortstop’s. But why do we have to throw one under the bus? Why not like both?
I guess I just don’t understand why you can’t like Paul McCartney if you like John Lennon, they’re both Beatles. It is the same with these two.
Jeter may be overrated, he has been put on this pedestal of all-time great players like Ruth, Mays, Williams and few others have reached. Rodriguez is the one that should be on this pedestal—the numbers are incomparable.
Rodriguez has hit at least 30 home runs, driven in over 100 runs every year since 1998, has been named the AL Most Valuable Player three times, and has made 13 All-Star Games. Now, after his Ruthian 2009 postseason with six home runs, 18 RBI and a .366 average, what else does he have to prove? Not a thing to me.
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While, Jeter has had a Hall of Fame career, he has six seasons with 200 or more hits, five World Series rings and is the only player to be named the All-Star MVP and World Series MVP in the same season.
His career has been set apart by a series of moments such as the flip play in the 2000 ALDS, diving into the stands against the Red Sox in 2004, or a fan reaching over the fence and catching a ball to give Jeter a home run. That’s what separates Jeter, he always seems to be in the right spot at the right time—always.
So, can we stop this Jeter or Rodriguez debate? They’re Yankees, we’re Yankee fans—we are supposed to root for them to play well and let them know what we think when they play badly.