Of course Derek Jeter is in the lead for the AL shortstops for the voting for 2014’s All-Star Game. Why do I know tat? Because he’s Derek Jeter; he is the epitome of leadership and hard work. And he’s in the All-Star Game basically every year. But looking at the season, is he really worthy of a spot on the All-Star team?
It is his last year playing. After 20 dedicated seasons with the same team [That’s right…he’s a true Yankee], much like Cal Ripken Jr., Jeter is finally hanging up his hat, but not before [what looks like] another All-Star Game.
Jeter is batting .269 this season. He has one home run and 10 RBIs. While he naturally is not a power hitter, he generally hits for average, gets on base and makes things happen. This season, thus far, he has only scored 14 runs.
We all know he hasn’t been the same Jeter since the 2012 heartbreaking game against the Tigers in the ALDS, but its still disappointing to watch such a storied player struggle in his final year on the diamond. He may not be Jeter right now, but does he really deserve that All-Star start?
Many Yankee fans would naturally provide a resounding “YES” as that answer, based on his stellar career and leadership on and off the field. With Jeter leading the voting for shortstops by about 130,000 votes over current runner-up Alexei Ramirez, the first results released prove that the All-Star Game is primarily a popularity contest for the fans to be a part of.
Mike Trout leads for outfielders, as he should based upon his stats so far for the Angels this season. David Ortiz, who has controlled the DH position for several years, is back on top, but there are others who have put up better numbers, such as Victor Martinez. Mark Texiera is in the top five for first basemen…and he missed a while with a wrist injury and is only putting up a .248 average. Think it is a popularity contest now? Think it is fair?
The bottom line is Derek Jeter is not an All-Star this year…at least not a starter. If this was a CAREER All-Star Game, he is definitely in…splitting time with Ripken at short, of course. But this is for this season and based on numbers, Jeter is not worthy of this start. But he’ll get it because fans want to see him. He’ll bring in viewers. That’s the bottom line for Fox. And even if he’s screwing over an impressive first half by Ramirez and even other players, like J.J. Hardy, he’s getting one last magical send-off. While they deserve this chance probably more than Jeter, what the fans want, they will get. And they want Jeter.
People want to see Jeter make one final start in his illustrious career at shortstop for the American League. Does he deserve that starting spot? The answer is a hard no. However, it is most likely going to happen. We’ll get to see Jeter magic one last time on that big stage…unless he can turn things around and drive the Yanks straight to their 28th World Series Championship. Until then, we’ll settle with giving Jeter a send-off in his final All-Star Game, just like they did for Ripken. He’s not the best this year, but no doubt he is one of the best all together. And no matter what team you root for, you have to respect a guy like Jeter.
Keep him in an inning, or maybe even two, and just give him that chance to be acknowledged for his perseverance in this sport. So many players have respect for him and some even grew up admiring him. Stats-wise, Jeter should not be in Minnesota with the rest of the All-Stars, but he will be. And the world will just have to get used to it, no matter how fair it is.