Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter went 5-for-5 on Saturday at Yankee Stadium in an afternoon that won’t soon be forgotten by fans of baseball. He reached then quickly surpassed the 3,000-hit milestone, doing it in storybook fashion as the Yankees captured a 5-4 victory over the Rays.
Let’s swing it around the web for reaction to Jeter’s feat from those who know him best:
- Current teammate Alex Rodriguez, via the New York Post: “Days like today remind you of the icon that this guy is. I’ve said it all along, 3,000 hits in a Yankee uniform for me, is like getting straight A’s at Harvard. He’s been a great student.”
- Former teammate Bernie Williams, in a statement to MLB.com: “Congratulations, Jeet, on No. 3,000. … Just exhale, enjoy it, and know what an honor it was to be your teammate for so many years. Tonight, my last song is dedicated to you my friend.”
- Part owner of the Yankees, Hal Steinbrenner, via USA Today: “Today we celebrate a remarkable individual achievement by one of the game’s greatest ambassadors. On behalf of the entire New York Yankees family, we congratulate Derek on his historic accomplishment.”
- Yankees legend Yogi Berra, from ESPN New York: “I want to give him a big hug. It’s an absolute wonderful accomplishment.”
- Former manager Joe Torre, via the New York Post: “We’ve been around him and watched him so long that nothing he does should surprise anybody. He’s always been a guy who was able to rise to the occasion. And . . . you know this is not an easy city to play in.”
- Rap mogul and friend Jay-Z, from Forbes.com: “That’s Derek Jeter for you. He’s just a winner. … He’s a great Yankee, definitely the top tier.”
- Red Sox skipper Terry Francona, from SI.com: “I’ve seen him since the Fall League when I think he was 19 years old. He’s still the same kid. A little different haircut, but always plays the game right. He always treats people right and he tries to beat your brains out. That’s a good way to go about things.”
Finally, I’d implore you to read Joe Posnanski’s take on Saturday afternoon’s events over at Sports Illustrated. As with most things Posnanski writes, it’s a masterpiece. “On Saturday, he played young again.”
This was inevitable: The Republican National Committee published a ridiculously detailed and self-serious opposition-research report accusing Hillary Clinton of being a “bandwagon” Cubs fan.
If you’re of a certain age you’ll recall that Clinton, who grew up in the Chicago suburbs, spoke about being a Cubs fan as a kid. You’ll also recall that when she was running for her senate seat in New York, she gave shoutouts to a heretofore unheard of Yankees fandom. A lot of people have had fun with this at various times — we’ve mentioned it here on multiple occasiosn — but I wasn’t aware that anyone considered it an actually substantive political issue as opposed to an amusing “politicians, man” kind of thing.
The Republicans think it’s serious, though. Indeed, there’s more detail to this oppo-hit than there is any of the party’s candidate’s position papers. And while someone could, theoretically, have a lot of fun with this kind of material, the opposition report is not even remotely tongue-in-cheek. It reads like a poisition paper on nuclear proliferation. If the GOP had been this serious about vetting its own candidate, I suspect they wouldn’t be in the position they’re in today.
As for the substance: eh, who cares? Sports is entertainment and cultural glue. As a kid in Chicago, being a Cubs fan is both fun and makes some sense. As a senator from New York in the early 2000s, you’re gonna get to go to some Yankees games and sit in some good seats and that’s fun too. And, of course, politicians are going to say opportunistic things in order to attempt to connect with their constituents. Think of that what you will, but if you think of that as something which reveals something deep and dark within their soul about what kind of person they are, you probably need to step away from the cable news for a while and get some fresh air. Or you probably need to admit that you already believed the worse about her and that this is just an exercise in confirmation bias.
Heck, at this point I almost hope she finds a third or fourth team to rot for. Indeed, I hope she makes a comic heel turn, puts on a Chief Wahoo hat for tonight’s game and claims that, deep, deep down, she had always rooted for the Indians. Then even I could get on her case about it. And we could all talk about how, in her own way, Hillary was really bringing the nation together.
Back in July, then-Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy vetoed a trade that would have sent him to the Indians, helping the club make a significant upgrade behind the plate after losing Yan Gomes to an injury. At the time, Roberto Perez had only played in 11 games, batting .043. Gomes had hit .165 before his injury, and Chris Gimenez batted .202 over 42 games. It was not much of a logical leap to think the Indians would eventually falter due to a lack of production at the catching position.
But here the Indians are in the World Series facing the Cubs. In Game 1 on Tuesday night, Perez — who finished the season with a .183 average and three home runs in 184 plate appearances — drilled a pair of home runs, accounting for four of the six runs the Indians would score in a shutout win over the Cubs.
Perez’s first blast was a solo that that just cleared the left field fence at Progressive Field, coming on an 0-1 fastball from starter Jon Lester. That padded the Indians’ lead to 3-0.
The second homer put the game away, as he punished reliever Hector Rondon for hanging a 2-2 slider with two runners on base, slugging this one enough to clear the left field fence by plenty. That doubled the Indians’ lead to 6-0, the score by which they would eventually win.
Perez is the first catcher to homer twice in a World Series game since Gary Carter did it for the Mets against the Red Sox in the 1986 World Series. Perez is the first Indian to homer twice in the same playoff game since Jim Thome in the 1999 ALDS against the Red Sox.