Marc Carig of the Star-Ledger has a good overview of the State of the Jeter these days. In it comes a quote from a scout who, after scrutinizes the hell out of Jeter’s current game, decries that Jeter is being scrutinized too much:
“That’s always easy to say when age comes,” the scout said. “He stays in great shape physically and mentally, has great feel for how to play the game. He’s being too scrutinized by the goofy saber-Gods.“
Not to be confused with the Hindu Love Gods. Or the Primitive Radio Gods. Or just the Gods. That said, “Goofy Saber-Gods” would make an excellent name for a rock band.
But let’s also be honest about something: it’s not the goofy saber-Gods who have made Jeter’s struggles front page news. They’ve been pretty accurately assessing Jeter, for all of his strengths and weaknesses, for years. This has only become a big story because now the mainstream media who talk to Jeter in the clubhouse every day are asking him about his struggles and openly speculating about moving him up and down the lineup, his legacy and all of that.
Back during the 2015 playoffs the sorts of New York media types who love to find reasons to criticize players for petty reasons decided to criticize Yoenis Cespedes for playing golf the day of a playoff game. The Mets won the series with the Cubs during which the controversy, such as it was, occurred and it was soon dropped.
It was picked back up again in 2016 when Cespedes, while on the disabled list with a strained quad, was seen playing golf. Despite the fact that everyone involved said that golf did not contribute to his injury and that golf would have no impact on his injured quad, it was deemed “a bad look” by a columnist looking to get some mileage out of bashing Cespedes for having a hobby that probably half of all ballplayers share. They did it when he showed off his fancy cars too, by the way, even though just about every ballplayer has a fancy car or three. When you’re a superstar in New York — especially when you’re one with whom the media is not particularly close for various reasons — you’re going to catch hell for seemingly nothing.
Now there’s a new twist to the Cespedes golf saga. Yoenis himself says that his poor start — he’s hitting .195/.258/.354 and leads the league in strikeouts — is due to . . . not enough golf! From the New York Times:
He gave a possible reason for the poor start this weekend: not playing enough golf, a hobby beloved by many baseball players. And, yes, he is serious.
“In previous seasons, one of the things I did when I wasn’t going well was to play golf,” he said after a game on Friday in which he struck out four times but still drove in the go-ahead run in the 12th inning. “This year, I’m not playing golf.”
The story says Cespedes quit golf last summer because he worried that it was contributing to hamstring problems. He’s thinking about going back to it soon, as he thinks it’ll help his swing. Given that he’ll catch hell either way, he may as well do what he wants.