Adrian Gonzalez can't do everything. I mean, there are some things the guy just can't do. Sure, he can hit like Wade Boggs and Nomar Garciaparra's love child (Sorry, Utah!), and he looks smart in a Red Sox cap, but the guy just couldn't quite manage to top Robinson Cano in the World's Most Meaningless Contest (copyright 2003, Bud Selig). Oh drat. I guess we'll all have to go back to caring about stuff that actually impacts the standings.
Baseball often lends itself to flowery wordplay. Some great or at least memorable poetry has been written about the sport, while the earlier years of the baseball writers turned baseball players into gods. In that vein, Steven Goldman of Pinstriped Bible makes an interesting comparison in his newest piece on that site. He compares giving up Jeter's home run ball to Robert E. Lee's siding with the South in the Civil War (or, if you're from where I'm from, the War of Northern Aggression. No, I'm not kidding.) Despite the article's comments, the comparison works. Not on every level, but on the intended one.
Speaking of comparisons, Jay Jaffe of Baseball Prospectus compares the reputations of Alex Rodriguez and David Ortiz with the actual men. It's behind the paywall, but general gist of it is easily accessible. It's hard to get a handle on the comparison, to be honest. Ortiz is lionized while Rodriguez is disregarded as a cheater, a fraud and a hypocrite. Still, their careers did not being in close to the same fashion, a fact that Mr. Jaffe does not touch on and one which goes a long way towards establishing the way the players are perceived publicly.
Rodriguez was a first overall draft pick, and was the recipient of baseball's biggest contract, not once, but twice. Ortiz was initially highly thought of though in no way on the same level as Rodriguez, but whether through his own fault or mismanagement and bumbling by the Twins organization, the early part of his career was more star crossed than star powered. He was cut by Minnesota and signed by the Red Sox. Afterthought is too strong a word, but he was an easily disposable bench bat. We all know what happened then. In 2004 Rodriguez slapped the ball out of Bronson Arroyo's glove and then claimed he hadn't done what we'd all just seen twelve times on instant replay. He also was one of the faces of the team that many see as the preeminent playoff chokers in modern baseball history. This while Ortiz ended two consecutive extra inning playoff games which gave life to a team most thought was effectively deceased. In the end, they are both big power hitting stars who make more money in a year than most will ever see in their lifetimes. They've both made mistakes with PEDs but the larger issue seems to be their pre-2005 careers. To me, that is where the comparison falls flat.
Move over Dead Lou Gehrig. Derek Jeter is the luckiest man on the face of the Earth. Or so says the Washington Post's Dave Sheinin. It's an interesting idea. OTM's own Marc Normandin also thinks Jeter is lucky, or healthy or both. 3,000 hits is, as many have written before me, an incredible accomplishment. One wonders if this will effectively be Jeter's swan song or if the old man has a few more surprises left in him. One way or the other, I know one thing: I won't miss him when he's gone.