Jeter hit 3,000 with class

New York Yankees Derek Jeter runs the bases after hitting career hit number 3000 with a solo home run in the third inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium in New York City on July 9, 2011. UPI/John Angelillo

Derek Jeter got hit number 3,000 with a home run while going 5-5 in a victory for the Yankees. It’s a fitting end to his quest for this milestone, as he’ll go down as one of the greats of his generation.

Yahoo! Sports has a great list of the greatest Yankees of all time, and Jeter is now in the mix.

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Are Yankee bosses angry with Derek Jeter?

New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter adjusts his cap before the start of an MLB spring training game against the Toronto Blue Jays in Tampa, Florida, in this March 23, 2011 file photo. Despite being known as a consummate winner with five World Series rings to back that up, the New York Yankees captain and shortstop has as much to prove as any player heading into the 2011 Major League Baseball season. Even as Jeter begins a campaign that should see him become the first Yankee to reach 3,000 career hits, the 36-year-old has been honing a new batting style to prove he still has what it takes after suffering through his worst year at the plate. REUTERS/Steve Nesius/Files (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)

Buster Olney tweets that Derek Jeter’s comments in which he “essentially exonerated” teammate Jorge Posada of any wrongdoing has apparently angered his Yankee bosses.

Following this weekend’s shenanigans in which Posada removed himself from the Yankees’ lineup because manager Joe Girardi was making him bat ninth (oh, the horror!), Jeter said: “Everybody’s struggled. And if that’s the reason why he came out, then he doesn’t need to apologize. If it’s something else, then yeah, but not for that.”

If Olney’s report is accurate and the Yankees are upset over Jeter’s comments, then they need to get a clue. Jeter is still the captain of their team and he’s not going to make a situation worse by scolding one of his long-time teammates via the media. And quite frankly, his comments were rather innocent. He’s been around long enough to know that a situation like Posada’s will eventually get ironed out without him having to say much on the topic. The Yankees’ “bosses” should just let the situation die out.

What would the Yankees have rather had Jeter say? That Posada was being a selfish, stubborn player and should have acted more professional? Even if that’s what Jeter thought, saying something like that would have fueled the situation even more and caused there to be a rift in the clubhouse (which is something the struggling Yankees don’t need right now, especially after they were just swept by their most hated rivals).

I get that the Yankees don’t want Jeter “exonerating” Posada’s mistake. Posada was definitely in the wrong here, which is why he apologized. But he did apologize and that should be the end of the situation. There’s no reason to make a mountain out of a molehill and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Yankees came out and denied Olney’s report, because they look rather silly right now.

Orioles’ Showalter takes shots at Theo Epstein, Derek Jeter

Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter (R) and batting coach Jim Presley talk in the dugout during the third inning of a MLB spring training game against the New York Yankees in Sarasota, Florida, March 22, 2011. REUTERS/Steve Nesius (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)

“I’d like to see how smart Theo Epstein is with the Tampa Bay [Rays] payroll. You got Carl Crawford ‘cause you paid more than anyone else, and that’s what makes you smarter? That’s why I like whipping their butt. It’s great, knowing those guys with the $205 million payroll are saying, ‘How the hell are they beating us?’”

All right! Let’s fire this f**king season up!

Those comments were made by Orioles skipper Buck Showalter, who recently did an interview with Men’s Journal. He also took a few swipes at Derek Jeter in which he said the Yankee captain “ticks” him off.”

“The first time we went to Yankee Stadium, I screamed at Derek Jeter from the dugout,” Showalter told the magazine, according to the Bergen Record. “Our guys are thinking, ‘Wow, he’s screaming at Derek Jeter.’ Well, he’s always jumping back from balls just off the plate. I know how many calls that team gets — and yes, he [ticks] me off.”

I love it. Some readers got upset with me last year because I didn’t mind when Reds’ second baseman Brandon Phillips stirred the pot with his comments about the Cardinals. But I don’t mind stuff like this. It brings intrigue to a league that has the opportunity to regain some of its popularity back from the NFL because of the CBA mess. I respect and love the game of baseball as much as anyone (I’ve played it my entire life and someone would have to cut my limbs off to ever get me to stop), but comments like Showalter’s breathe some life into Bud Selig’s stuffy league.

What’s ironic is that Epstein would somewhat agree with Showalter’s comments. In fact, just last week Epstein told the Boston Herald that “it’s definitely easier” to win with the more money you have. But as Epstein points out, there’s more to his job then just spending John W. Henry’s money.

“It’s easy to get defensive when people attribute a lot of our success to our payroll,’’ Epstein told Borges. “To a degree they’re right, but it’s still a challenge. It’s definitely easier the more money you have, but I’m justifiably proud of what our organization has done in the draft, in scouting, in player development. The core of our roster is 26 years old, and most of them came up through the organization.”

Epstein is right. Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury, Kevin Youkilis, Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, Jonathan Papelbon, Daniel Bard and Jed Lowrie all came up through the Red Sox’s farm system. It’s also important to note that Boston isn’t a big market team. They may spend like a big market team, but that’s only because the fans’ interest is so high in Baaahstin. Otherwise, Boston is actually a mid-market team.

But getting back to Showalter, whether he was trying to poke the embers in the AL East or pump up his young Orioles, it works. Baltimore may finish in fourth place again this year, but Showalter is trying to light a fire under his club’s ass. It’s time for everyone to wake up in Baltimore and maybe Showalter can be the rooster. (What? Stupid…)

The only beef I have with what he said is the part about “whipping” the Red Sox’s butts. As ESPN’s Gordon Edes points out, the Showalter-led Orioles went 3-3 against Boston last year, which hardly constitutes whipping anyone’s butts. Still, I like his spunk.

We Got Game: The MLB All-35+ Draft

If you’re anything like me, I hate it when my favorite team signs an aging veteran free agent. I’ve uttered the phrase, “Please God don’t let them sign that crusty old vet,” too many times to count.

But those “crusty old vets” hold a ton of importance to a team’s success, especially in baseball where World Series-winning rosters usually have a mixture of both youth and veteran experience. Take the World Champion Giants for example. They won because of their young pitching, but it wasn’t Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain or Madison Bumgarner who wound up holding the World Series MVP Trophy at the end. It was 35-year-old Edgar Renteria, who was cursed by the SF faithful for being yet another horrible Brian Sabean signing, but wound up being a Fall Classic hero.

Today’s media doesn’t pay enough homage to the older MLB players. In fact, when fellow TSR contributor David Medsker and I were brainstorming ideas for a new feature, the first thing I brought up was that we should do an all 24-and-younger MLB team comprised of…well the idea is pretty self explanatory.

It wasn’t until David and I exhausted that idea before he sent me an e-mail that simply read: “Has anyone done an all 35-and-over team?”

Perfect. The moment I read it I burst into laughter. Could you imagine compiling a team of players that were only 35 years or older when present day teams usually build around youth? I love it.

Unfortunately, the guys over at Off Base Percentage beat us to the punch by compiling their own 35-plus year old team, so David and I decided to actually hold a live draft in order to make two teams. (Take that OBP.)

Below is a round-by-round breakdown of our all 35-and-older MLB draft. We selected a player for every infield position, plus three outfield positions, four starting pitchers (we only had eight to choose from), three relievers, one DH and two bench spots. Once the draft started, David and I quickly developed different strategies for building our rosters, so it was interesting to see how the draft played out. Take a look and let us know if you would have gone a different route.

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2011 Fantasy Rankings: Shortstops

All 2011 Fantasy Articles | 2011 Position Rankings

Abandon hope, all ye who enter here. Shortstop is the new second base, a fantasy wasteland where only six (!) players are projected to be drafted in the first ten rounds. Six, out of a hundred. That’s bad.

New York Yankees’ shortstop Derek Jeter warms up before the Yankees take on the Texas Rangers in game four of the ALCS at Yankee Stadium on October 19, 2010 in New York. UPI/Monika Graff

“Hello. I’m Derek Jeter, and you’re not.”

Worse, only five of those players are proven fantasy performers year after year, and even that is stretching the truth until it nearly breaks. Truth be told, there is one guy in this group (Hanley Ramirez) that has held up as a reliable fantasy stud. The rest are streaky, as in ‘Will Ferrell in “Old School”‘ streaky. (Tulo, we’re looking at you.) What is a fantasy manager to do once Hanley and Troy Tulowitzki are off the board? For starters, don’t panic, and for God’s sake don’t reach. Continue to take the best guy on the board, and see if one of these guys lands in your lap.

Jose Reyes, Mets
The late, great Sparky Anderson once said, “Just give me 25 guys on the last year of their contracts; I’ll win a pennant every year.” You think he wouldn’t love to have Reyes this year, since he’s essentially auditioning for all of Major League Baseball? The Mets are so bogged down with money issues that there has even been speculation that they will have a hard time paying their players, which makes the likelihood of a contract extension to Reyes unlikely. Meanwhile, the shortstop of the Red Sox, Marco Scutaro, has a player option on his contract for next year, which the club could buy out for $1.5 million. Don’t think for a minute that Reyes doesn’t know this, and will bust his ass to get him some Carl Crawford money. Having said that, don’t bid the moon and the stars to get him. If he comes to you, great. If not, then take a look at…

Marco Scutaro, Red Sox
Reyes’ 2010 stat line was .282-83-11-54-30. Scutaro’s line was .275-92-11-56-5. Nearly identical in every category except steals, and he can be had 11 rounds after Reyes is off the board. If you play in a points league and Reyes is gone, take a deep breath, and remember that the next best thing is a mere 110 picks away. Scutaro is the textbook definition of a value pick, even if he spends the entire year in the 9-hole.

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