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Monday, June 18, 2007

The Great Debate

After the wrap-up of this season’s installment of the Subway Series, I felt compelled to weigh-in on the recent debate surrounding the question: Who is the best shortstop in New York?

To me, this question is extremely premature. That being said, Derek Jeter, without question, is far superior to Jose Reyes.

Don’t get me wrong; Reyes is probably the most exciting player in Major League Baseball. He is the catalyst and key to the Mets’ formidable lineup and his explosiveness and prowess on the basepaths makes him invaluable to his team. He has a quick bat and can hit the occasional homerun, and Reyes probably has a better throwing arm than half the pitchers in the Mets’ current rotation.

But the only thing that really distinguishes Reyes from Jeter is his speed (and, perhaps, the fact that he is a switch hitter). Derek Jeter is a better all-around hitter. He hits for a higher average (.342 compared to Reyes’ .320 this season), scores more runs, and possesses more power. Jeter also drives in more runs, but that I won’t hold against Reyes considering he is a leadoff hitter and Jeter’s customary position in the Yankees batting order is 2nd.

More importantly, Derek Jeter is a winner. Jeter made his Major League debut in 1995, but was a rookie in 1996, his first full season in the big leagues. All he did that season was earn the Rookie of the Year Award, hit .314 and win a World Championship- all at the tender age of 22. Through his first five seasons in the majors, Jeter had a .312 batting average, 78 homeruns, 996 hits, and, incredibly, four World Series rings, an All-Star MVP, and he was named the MVP of the 2000 World Series.

Reyes, on the other hand, is currently batting .289 lifetime (this being his 5th M.L. season). He has 36 homeruns, 611 hits, and one National League pennant under his belt. In other words, 0 Championships. Even if the Mets were to win it all in ’07, he’d still be three behind his counterpart.

What Reyes also lacks is the leadership quality that propelled Derek Jeter to be named Yankee captain in 2003, only the 11th in New York Yankees history.

Jose Reyes has tremendous upside, and has the potential to be one of the best shortstops, not just in New York, but of all time. As of right now, though, all it is is potential. A few years ago, plenty of people were ready to crown Ken Griffey, Jr. the “Homerun King.” Now, despite Junior’s recent resurgence, he’s not getting anywhere near Hank Aaron. It’s one thing to look at a player and project his potential; it’s another thing for him to actually go out and fulfill it. If Reyes can sustain his excellent numbers for another 7+ seasons (and win a couple of World Series’ in the process), talk to me then.

But for now, Derek Jeter still reigns supreme in the Big Apple.

(Photos from Yahoo! Sports)

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Another Yankee Game, Another Yankee Loss

In the past, I've tuned in to every Yankee broadcast, expecting my team to win. It didn't matter who they were playing or who the opposing pitcher was- The New York Yankees, night after night, went into a ballgame anticipating a "W", regardless of the circumstances.

The 2007 Yankees? I tune in now just waiting to see what will go wrong and how they will disappoint me on a given evening.

Tonight's disappointing loss to the White Sox, well, didn't fail to disappoint in this regard.

It is becoming increasingly disconcerting to win a big ballgame in dramatic fashion and seemingly take the next game off, yet that is exactly what has been happening all season. And tonight was no different.

Every time I see a glimmer of hope, this Yankees squad sends my expectations crashing back down to earth almost immediately.

I am at a loss as far as the Yankees are concerned. I still believe that they can (and likely will) go on a run and play the way everyone expected at the start of the season, and I still believe a playoff berth is not at all out of the question. But if it's going to happen, it had better happen sooner rather than later.

Someone not named Jorge, Derek, or Alex needs to step up and carry this ballclub on their shoulders. And a little luck wouldn't hurt either! Despite losing to the Red Sox on Saturday, it was encouraging that Mike Mussina wasn't sent to Mass. General with a broken bone. Unfortunately, this time it was Doug Mientkiewicz suffering such a fate. Seriously, the Yankees need to petition FOX to stop making them play the "Game of the Week"- First, it was a broken leg for Karstens, then a broken hand for Rasner, and finally a concussion, cervical sprain and broken wrist for Mientkiewicz courtesy of Boston third baseman/linebacker, Mike Lowell. That's quite enough.

And that's quite enough from me on the matter. Any day now, the New York Yankees will wake up and start playing like the Yankees. Any day now. At least that's what I keep telling myself.