No, Derek Jeter will not play the anti-PED hero for you

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If that headline sounds familiar it’s because I used one remarkably like it two weeks ago. Then, as now, I do so in response to a Bob Klapisch column. Then, as now, Kalpisch is using his column in a desperate effort to make Derek Jeter into some kind of anti-PEDs hero.

Two weeks ago he did so via comparison between Jeter and A-Rod. Today Klapisch actually tries to get Jeter to say all of the anti-PEDs things he likes to say. To get Jeter to come out firing against A-Rod and everyone who uses PEDs, whom he refers to as “baseball’s felons” (yes, really). The best/worst part: there’s a desperate fanboy element to it all which is almost embarrassing:

That’s why I asked the captain about his message to young fans about steroids — specifically whether he’ll use the farewell tour to renounce performance-enhancing drugs once and for all . . . All it would take is a few words from Jeter about the dangers of using PEDs — to one’s career, health and reputation — and he’d likely get through to some kid on the fence.

And of course Jeter doesn’t do that. Because there is absolutely zero in his history or what we know of his character that would inspire him to put himself out there on a controversial subject like this. He is far too smart for that and, based on his very words, both in the past and here, explains that he is not going to do it. Yet, despite him not taking Klapisch’s bait, Klap concludes thusly:

I have no doubt Jeter disapproves of both players’ use of PEDs and the lies they’ve told along the way.

He has to believe that. To not believe that may cause him to question whether the guy he thinks is some cross between God and Superman has a nuanced thought about a topic that isn’t nearly as black and white as Klapisch likes to claim it is.

I really can’t recall when I’ve ever seen a more blatant instance of a baseball writer projecting like Klapisch is projecting here. It’s almost enough to make me feel sorry for him.

Madison Bumgarner began his rehab assignment yesterday

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Giants ace Madison Bumgarner tossed three no-hit innings yesterday in his first minor league rehab start with the Giants’ Arizona Rookie League team. He struck out two and walked a guy, while sitting in the 88-91 m.p.h. range on his fastball.

Bumgarner, who is coming back from a sprained left AC joint in his shoulder suffered in a dirt bike accident in April, will return to San Francisco to throw a bullpen session and then go back on the road for more rehab games. That’s a lot of traveling, but the Giants obviously want to monitor his progress. At the moment he’s expected to build up his strength for the next several weeks and, hopefully, return to the Giants’ rotation some time after the All-Star break.

Of course, there shouldn’t be too much of a rush. The Giants have lost five in a row and 12 of 13 and currently sit in last place, 24.5 games behind the Dodgers. At this point Bumgarner rushing to rejoin the Giants is like an Australian soldier getting a wound dressed to hurry back to the Gallipoli Campaign.

Is it really that weird that Cody Bellinger does not know who Jerry Seinfeld is?

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Dodgers rookie Cody Bellinger has been tearing through the league so far this season, blazing a 50-home run pace despite not even making his debut until April 25. His Dodgers are winners of 10 games in a row, sit in first place and have the best record in the National League.

But not everything is rosy in Cody Bellinger land. He’s now at the center of controversy after he revealed on SportsCenter on Friday night that he doesn’t know who Jerry Seinfeld is. Or, at the very least, that he could not put a face with that familiar-sounding name and that in no event did he know why he was famous.

People have been going crazy with this, acting as if he’s from Mars or something for not knowing who starred in one of history’s most popular and influential sitcoms. His teammates, especially, have been getting on his case:

I dunno. On the one hand, sure, the show was amazingly popular and has been in heavy syndication for like 20 years so it would be hard to miss even for a young guy like Bellinger. And, of course, the catchphrases and bits of the show that has seeped into the popular culture have given it a longer shelf life than most TV shows ever manage.

On the other hand the thing ended when he was not yet three years old. For him, “Seinfeld” was like “The Beverly Hillbillies” for someone my age or “M*A*S*H” for someone born in the early 80s. Those shows were just as popular — actually, they got higher ratings and were seen by a larger percentage of the population than “Seinfeld” ever was — and they were just as heavily syndicated for the decade or two after they went off the air. We don’t get on the case of players born in the 70s or 80s for not knowing who Alan Alda or Buddy Ebsen are. And if it’s about the catchphrases, substitute in “Happy Days” and “Welcome Back Kotter,” each of which created a cultural footprint larger than the show itself. Would we freak out if we found out that Jayson Werth — born in 1979 — had never heard the phrase “Up your nose with a rubber hose” or “Sit on it?”

And that’s before you acknowledge how much more fragmented pop culture and entertainment is now. I was 12 in 1985 and back then I had little choice but to watch “M*A*S*H” reruns at 7pm while I was waiting for prime time. It was either that or “Wheel of Fortune” I guess. As a 12-year old in 2007, Bellinger could’ve easily avoided “Seinfeld” reruns. He could’ve avoided TV altogether and just been online. My son is 12 now and he hasn’t watched an actual TV show in years. It’s all You Tube and stuff. The idea that there is any one thing or even a handful of things that, culturally speaking, we can all agree upon or which can serve as a common touchstone is an increasingly obsolete idea.

Maybe “Seinfeld” is different. Maybe this is not the same as not knowing “The Beverly Hillbillies” or “M*A*S*H”. I floated this whole idea on Twitter yesterday and people were outraged, so perhaps something else is going on here that I’m missing. But personally speaking, I feel like we should all calm down a bit about Cody Bellinger and the “Seinfeld” thing. Maybe we should acknowledge that the stuff we like is not going to be culturally prevalent forever. And that young kids like Cody Bellinger are going to be the ones to inform us of this inescapable fact.