Great Moments in Derek Jeter deification

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Derek Jeter came back yesterday. And had an OK day before leaving with an injury. And the team won. All, except for the injury of course, good things.  Wallace Matthews thinks something else was going on, though. Something magical!

Jeter’s first trip to the plate was like a coronation … and his first trip around the bases was like a victory lap … And although Jeter’s contribution was modest … there was something different about the way his teammates went about their business on this day … Earlier this week, falling behind 3-0 in the first inning as the Yankees did Thursday would have meant facing certain defeat, but Jeter’s Yankee teams were never done in the first inning, and neither was this one.

The power of Jeter compels you, I guess.

Assignment to a beat writer: ask Yankees players why they try harder when Jeter is around than when he isn’t. See what they say.

Royals to sign Billy Hamilton

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LAS VEGAS — Jim Bowden reports that the Kansas City Royals are close to agreement with outfielder Billy Hamilton. He says they are “just working through bonuses and pending physical.” Hamilton was non-tendered by the Cincinnati Reds a couple of weeks ago following six seasons with the club, making him a free agent.

Hamilton is one of the fastest men to ever play the game, but he has never come around as a hitter. In his six seasons with the Reds he put up a line of .245/.298/.333 (OPS+ 70). While he has stolen 277 bases over that period, getting caught 63 times, he has never once led the league in steals, primarily because he just doesn’t get on base enough. He is an excellent center fielder, but the bat is so sub-par that even the glove and the wheels are not good enough to justify going to arbitration with him.

Perhaps a change of scenery will do him good. He will certainly bring some excitement to Kansas City. He’s a fun guy to watch play.