Saturday, July 15, 2006

Jeter and Cano provide solid defense for Bombers

02/01/2006 10:00 AM ET
Around the Horn: Middle infielders
Jeter and Cano provide solid defense for Bombers
By Mark Feinsand /

The following is the fifth in a series of weekly stories on examining each Major League club, position by position. Each Wednesday until Spring Training camps open, we'll preview a different position. Today: Middle infielders.

NEW YORK -- Alex Rodriguez and Jason Giambi have the MVP awards, Bernie Williams has the batting titles, Gary Sheffield has the intimidating swing and Hideki Matsui has an entire country chronicling his every move.

None of it matters. Derek Jeter is the face of the New York Yankees.

Jeter enters his 11th full season as the Yankees' shortstop, looking to build on yet another solid season in 2005.

The six-time All-Star didn't make it to the Midsummer Classic last season, though one could argue that it was among the finest all-around seasons of his career.

Jeter, who had 19 homers and 70 RBIs, batted .309 and posted a .389 on-base percentage, ranking sixth in the American League in both categories. He finished second only to A-Rod with 122 runs scored, placed third in the league with 202 hits (his fourth career 200-hit season), and his 290 times on base was the second-best total in the league, trailing only A-Rod's 301.

But Jeter didn't only get it done with the bat last year, as he captured his second consecutive Gold Glove Award as the league's top fielding shortstop.

"He works hard at his defense," said general manager Brian Cashman. "He's gotten better and better, and now he's got two. Hopefully there are many more to come."

Jeter's .979 fielding percentage was the third-best mark of his career, trailing only the .986 he posted in 1998 and .981 from 2004. The shortstop committed 15 errors, two more than he posted in 2004.

Although Orlando Cabrera of the Angels had a better fielding percentage and fewer errors than Jeter, the Yankees shortstop had 454 assists -- 107 more than his Los Angeles counterpart.

Jeter's range has improved annually, allowing him to get to more balls. He has also been helped by the presence of A-Rod at third, essentially giving New York a pair of shortstops on the left side of the infield.

On Jeter's other side will be Robinson Cano, as the Yankees appear to have found their second baseman of the future.

Cano made quite an impression after taking over the second-base job in early May, posting a solid rookie campaign.

The runner-up in the AL Rookie of the Year vote, Cano hit .297 with 14 home runs, 62 RBIs and 34 doubles, leading all AL rookie hitters in average, slugging percentage (.458), doubles, runs (78), hits (155), multi-hit games (47) and at-bats (522).

Cano also ranked first among all hitters in the AL with a .335 batting average on the road.

While he hit second for much of the second half of 2005, Cano will likely find himself dropped down to the No. 9 spot this season, as Johnny Damon's presence at the top of the lineup will move Jeter back to his traditional No. 2 spot.

If Cano's offensive ability is clearly there, he still has some room to improve when it comes to his defense. Cano ranked seventh among AL second basemen in fielding percentage, and his 17 errors were the second most in the league at the position. He is still a raw talent, but he and Jeter work well together as a double-play combination.

Miguel Cairo, who played for the Yankees in 2004, returns to the Bronx as the backup infielder. Two years ago, Cairo hit .292 with six homers and 42 RBIs in 360 at-bats for the Yanks, playing second base, third base and shortstop.

Last season, Cairo started 82 games at second for the Mets, as well as six at first and one in right field. He hit .251 with two homers and 19 RBIs in 327 at-bats.

Mark Feinsand is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Jeter has rare quiet night in AL win

07/12/2006 2:20 AM ET
Jeter has rare quiet night in AL win
Yankees captain hitless in three trips; A-Rod goes 0-for-2
By Mark Feinsand /

PITTSBURGH -- Derek Jeter entered Tuesday's All-Star Game as the top hitter in All-Star history. Unfortunately for the Yankees' shortstop, he didn't leave PNC Park with the same title.

Jeter went 0-for-3, matching the total number of hitless at-bats he had in his previous six appearances in the Midsummer Classic.

Alex Rodriguez, starting at third base for the third consecutive season, was hitless in his two at-bats. Both Jeter and A-Rod left the game after the top of the sixth with the American League trailing by a run.

"Both sides have great pitching staffs, and good pitching is going to beat good hitting most of the time," Jeter said. "The pitching staffs did well on both sides."

"It was fun, it was great to be out there and a great game," Rodriguez said. "The pitching on both sides [was] really dominating."

The AL came back to beat the NL, 3-2, as Michael Young delivered a two-out, two-run triple in the top of the ninth off Padres closer Trevor Hoffman. True to his word, Ozzie Guillen summoned Mariano Rivera for the newly-created save opportunity, and the Yankees stopper faced four batters, retired the side and earned the save.

"I've seen him from the bench a few times when I've been hurt, but he's automatic," Jeter said. "He's not scared of anyone. He's going to challenge them."

The AL is now 9-0-1 in the last 10 All-Star Games, keeping Jeter's record a perfect 6-0-1. The last time the NL won the Midsummer Classic was 1996.

"I wouldn't call it domination," Jeter said. "We got some breaks today and had the good ninth inning. It's just one of those things; we're on a roll right now."

Jeter entered the game with seven hits in 10 career All-Star at-bats, giving him a .700 average -- the highest for any player in history with at least 10 at-bats.

His three hitless at-bats brought him down to .538 (7-for-13), leaving him behind Hall of Famer Richie Ashburn, who had six hits in 10 career All-Star at-bats for a .600 average.

Complete All-Star Game coverage >"Probably not anymore," Jeter said after being informed of his pregame standing as the All-Star Game's top hitter. "That puts a lot of pressure on me if I make it back again, huh?"

The shortstop came up against NL starter Brad Penny with one out in the first inning, but Jeter couldn't improve on his average, striking out in a seven-pitch at-bat. Jeter wasn't alone, though, as Penny struck out the side by getting Ichiro Suzuki and David Ortiz, too.

As he did last summer, A-Rod sported white shoes for the game in honor of Keith Hernandez and Gary Carter, two of his favorite players from his childhood.

Rodriguez led off the second inning against Penny, quickly falling behind, 0-2. A-Rod fouled off a few pitches before grounding out to shortstop Edgar Renteria on the seventh pitch.

"We knew he was going to be tough to hit," A-Rod said of Penny. "He throws very hard and throwing strikes."

Jeter and A-Rod both came to bat in the fourth, facing Arizona's Brandon Webb. Jeter led off the inning with his second strikeout of the night, while A-Rod grounded out to Renteria once again, ending the frame.

"When you're facing guys for the first time, you don't really know what they have," said Jeter, who was surprised to see Webb throw him a curveball. "He's been pitching well all season, and he did a good job tonight."

Jeter's third and final at-bat came in the sixth against Rockies closer Brian Fuentes. Jeter grounded out to third baseman David Wright, making the final out of the inning and closing out his 0-for-3 night. Jeter was replaced in the bottom of the sixth by Miguel Tejada.

"The way I was swinging, I was ready to come out," Jeter said.

Jeter watched the rest of the game from the dugout, trying to cheer on his teammates, who had done the same for him during the first 5 1/2 innings. As the AL came to bat in the ninth, Jeter had a feeling he was about to see something special.

"I called it from the bench," he said." I said if we got a couple of guys on, Michael Young would win the game for us. He can flat-out hit."

Despite his night at the plate, Jeter left the ballpark with a smile on his face after watching his team come back in the ninth inning to earn home-field advantage in the World Series for the AL.

"We won; that's a good memory," Jeter said. "That's the biggest thing; when you come here, you want to play well and win, and we were able to do that."

Mark Feinsand is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

© 2001-2006 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Four Yankees score All-Star selection

07/02/2006 9:25 PM ET
Four Yankees score All-Star selection
A-Rod, Jeter elected by fans; Cano, Rivera picked by players
By Mark Feinsand /

NEW YORK -- When the American League takes the field for this year's All-Star Game, a quartet of Yankees will be on hand as part of the festivities.
Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Robinson Cano and Mariano Rivera were named to this year's AL roster, which will try to capture home-field advantage in the World Series for a fourth consecutive season. The game will take place at Pittsburgh's PNC Park on July 11.

"I don't know much about Pittsburgh," Jeter said. "The only thing I know is that when I was in Triple-A at Columbus, every flight we took went through there. So I know the airport pretty well."

"I'm very proud of them," manager Joe Torre said. "Some of them may say they're tired and they want to go home; but trust me, every one of them are very proud at the fact that they're recognized for this."

A-Rod and Jeter were elected by the fans to start at third base and shortstop, respectively, beating out Boston's Mike Lowell and Baltimore's Miguel Tejada.

This marks the ninth time Rodriguez has been elected to start for the AL, his third as a third baseman after six starts at shortstop. It is his 10th overall All-Star selection. A-Rod is hitting .279 with 17 home runs and 57 RBIs in 76 games.

"I look forward to having fun representing the American League," Rodriguez said. "When so many fans vote for you, you have the responsibility to go out there and do your best."

Rodriguez has played in eight All-Star Games, going 6-for-19 (.316) with one homer and two RBIs. Last year, A-Rod went 1-for-2 with a walk and a run scored in the AL's 7-5 victory.

Despite the fact that he has heard more than his share of boos at Yankee Stadium over the past month, A-Rod received more than 2.6 million votes, easily outpacing Lowell by more than 1.1 million.

"The whole world isn't in New York; there are some people out there who like me," Rodriguez said. "There's always satisfaction, especially when you're not having the banner year that you're accustomed to having. I'm very proud of that."

Torre believes that the light-hearted atmosphere of the All-Star Game may help Rodriguez, who has endured a couple of prolonged slumps this season.

"It will give him a day to have fun without having to fix his problems," Torre said. "Who knows, a couple of days of batting practice and the ballgame there, he may discover something."

Jeter was not on the 2005 AL All-Star team, marking only the second time since 1997 that the shortstop did not attend the Midsummer Classic.

"It's an honor any time you get to go to an All-Star Game," Jeter said. "It's something you can't take for granted. I didn't go last season, so any time you get that opportunity, you appreciate it."

Jeter has been elected to start only once before, in 2004, when he became the first Yankees shortstop elected to start for the AL since Bucky Dent in 1981. This year, Jeter received more than 2.8 million votes, the second-highest total in the AL, beating Tejada by more than 700,000.

"It shows that the fans appreciate how you play," Jeter said. "It makes you feel good, especially when you consider how many great players there are at the shortstop position."

Jeter is hitting .334 with five home runs and 46 RBIs in 73 games this season, ranking third in the league in batting average, sixth in on-base percentage (.425) and eighth in stolen bases (15).

In his last All-Star Game, Jeter went 3-for-3 in the AL's 9-4 win in Houston. The 2000 All-Star Game MVP, Jeter is 7-for-10 in his six Midsummer Classics; his .700 average is the highest in big-league history for any player with at least 10 All-Star at-bats.

"Any time you get a chance to go, you should be honored, you should enjoy it and appreciate it," Jeter said. "You're not always going to have a chance to go."

Cano, who led in the voting at second base as recently as last week, was edged out by Boston's Mark Loretta for the starting spot by less than 100,000 votes. But the sophomore second baseman was chosen to the team by the player ballot, giving him his first All-Star nod.

"It's a great accomplishment for that young man," Torre said. "He's just been in the big leagues for a little over a year; to be voted in by the players is quite a tribute."

A hamstring injury landed Cano on the disabled list last week, so he will not participate in the All-Star Game. Cano may still attend the events in Pittsburgh, where he would be introduced as part of the pregame festivities.

"I'll still go, but I'm not playing," Cano said. "I'm disappointed that I'm not going to play, [but] I know that I'm hurt and I can't play. It's an honor to be selected."

Cano's teammates were excited to hear that the second baseman had been selected to the AL team, but disappointed for him that he wouldn't get to play in the event.

"I'm most disappointed for him," A-Rod said. "I can recall my first All-Star Game as a day I'll never forget, playing along side my childhood idol in Cal Ripken. I was really excited for Robbie to play in the All-Star Game."

"He doesn't feel his skin right now," Rivera said. "I think it's great. Everybody goes through that with the first one. It's like, 'Wow, I'm part of the All-Star team.' He deserves it."

Rivera was also chosen by the players' ballot, making the All-Star team for the third consecutive year and eighth overall. The Yankees' closer is 4-4 with a 1.84 ERA and 18 saves this season, leaving him just three saves shy of 400 in his career.

"It's great when your fellow players recognize you and give you that credit," Rivera said. "It's always a privilege and a thrill to be named to the All-Star team, to represent the Yankees and the American League."

Rivera has not allowed a run in any of his five All-Star appearances, earning the save in both the 1997 game in Cleveland and last year's game in Detroit.

"That's remarkable to begin with, to have as a long a run at this thing as he has so far and still be at the top of his game," Torre said. "Mariano is a like a regular player to us. Basically we play a whole game to get to him."

"Seeing all that talent together in one room is great," Rivera said of the All-Star experience. "Even though you don't play with a lot of those players, you know them from playing against them. It's neat to come together and play as one team."

Among the deserving candidates left off the roster was Jason Giambi, who ranks third in the AL in home runs, walks and slugging percentage, as well as fifth in on-base percentage and sixth in RBIs.

"There are a lot of people having great years," Giambi said. "It's always nice to make the game, but you can't control those things. You can only put up your numbers. It's not going to be too bad -- I get to go to Vegas."

Mike Mussina, who is 9-3 with a 3.17 ERA, was also not included on this year's team. Mussina ranks fourth in the AL in strikeouts (104) and ERA and third in opponents' batting average (.264).

"The American League this year, having nine potential World Series candidates, it's the strongest the league has been in my 12 years," Rodriguez said. "You're going to have more guys who should go because of that."

Mark Feinsand is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

You can knock Jeter, but you can't forget him

You can knock Jeter, but you can't forget him
Ken Rosenthal /
Posted: 11 days ago

Signature moments. You know the type. Plays that are instantly memorable, that stay with you for years.

Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter makes more of those plays than anyone else.

That's a subjective view — fire away, all you statistical analysts who want everything quantified in black and white — but is there anyone even close?

Jeter's teammate, Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez, certainly isn't, which is one reason he continues to get booed at Yankee Stadium.

Unfair as it might to be A-Rod, the reigning American League MVP, some fans perceive him as a choker, particularly when compared to Jeter.

David Ortiz has produced some huge moments since joining the Red Sox in 2003 — eight regular-season walk-off hits, including five homers, plus his three walk-off hits in the '04 postseason, including two homers.

But Ortiz, a designated hitter, doesn't play defense.

Barry Bonds? You remember his milestone homers, maybe, and oh, yes — his failure to throw out the Braves' Sid Bream at the plate in Game 7 of the 1992 National League Championship Series.

Ichiro? His spectacular laser throw from right field to nail the A's Terrence Long at third base heralded his arrival from Japan during his rookie season.

Albert Pujols? His monstrous home run off Brad Lidge in last year's NLCS was indelible, but so far, that's pretty much it.

Vladimir Guerrero? He does some cool stuff — hitting balls off his shoetops, things like that — but signature moments aren't his specialty.

They are for Jeter.

Of course, anything written or said about Jeter frequently ignites heated debate. He plays in the nation's media capital, New York, and for the game's richest team, the Yankees.

That alone gets a reaction.

Derek Jeter might be a little flawed defensively, but you can't deny he has had his share of shining moments with the Yankees. (Nick Laham / Getty Images)

Jeter recently was voted the most overrated player in Major League Baseball, according to a Sports Illustrated poll of 470 players. A new book, The Fielding Bible by John Dewan, shatters the myth that Jeter is an elite defensive shortstop.

His detractors say his legend outstrips his actual value, and they've got a point. Heck, Jeter might never have become Jeter if say, the Reds had selected him instead of outfielder Chad Mottola with the fifth pick of the 1992 draft. The Yankees grabbed Jeter out of Kalamazoo (Mich.) High School at No. 6.

Circumstances play into this, no doubt. But then, the Yankees wouldn't be the Yankees without Jeter, would they? Big-money players like Rodriguez, Jason Giambi and Gary Sheffield come and go, but Jeter is the team's standard-bearer, elevating the club in ways that simply can't be measured.

The SI poll attracted more attention than it deserved; Jeter received only nine percent of the votes, a grand total of 42. What's more, part of the antipathy toward him surely is due to jealousy. A good number of players believe that Jeter, in the sixth year of a 10-year, $189 million contract, is overpaid.

The indictment of Jeter's defense in The Fielding Bible, based on exhaustive statistical research, is a far more serious matter. The book includes an essay by Bill James — yes, Red Sox executive Bill James — that explains why Astros shortstop Adam Everett is far superior to Jeter at short. James writes that, in the past three years, Jeter was "probably the least effective defensive player in the major leagues, at any position."


Jeter fans can accuse James of bias, but for years statistical analysts have pointed out that Jeter makes fewer plays than most shortstops. At this point, it's virtually indisputable that on a day-to-day basis, he's a below-average defender. However, the counterargument also is powerful; Jeter invariably finds ways to help the Yankees win. Just watch him play.

OK, so Adam Everett is a better defender than Jeter; that's useful, enlightening information. But for heaven's sake, which shortstop would you rather have on your team?

Polarizing as the discussion has become, pretty much everyone can agree that Jeter has been delivering big plays at opportune moments from the start of his career.

Consider the following list of Jeter's top 10 signature moments. Out of respect to the Jeter Haters, each item includes an anti-Jeter spin — basically, what a Red Sox fan in a bar might say, wishing that just once, Jeter could play for the Olde Towne Team.

A star is born
Date: April 2, 1996.

Setting: Opening Day, Cleveland.

Intro: Amid concerns that he is not ready to take over as the Yankees' shortstop, as detailed in Joel Sherman's new book, Birth of a Dynasty, Jeter steps in for the injured Tony Fernandez. The previous season, Jeter had hit only two homers in 534 at-bats, playing mostly at Triple A and also with the Yankees.

Jeter moment: Actually, there are two. Jeter hits a solo homer off Dennis Martinez in the fifth inning to extend the Yankees' lead to 2-0. Two innings later, he makes an over-the-shoulder catch on a popup by Omar Vizquel to save a run.

Anti-Jeter spin: "Jeter looked brutal in the spring. He only made the team because Fernandez got hurt!"

Walk-off warrior
Date: April 5, 2005

Setting: Second game of regular season, Yankee Stadium.

Intro: In the first series between the Yankees and Red Sox since their epic seven-game ALCS in 2004, Yankees closer Mariano Rivera blows a save by allowing a one-out, game-tying homer in the ninth by Jason Varitek.

Jeter moment: Against Red Sox closer Keith Foulke, Jeter gets ahead in the count 3-0, then hits an opposite-field, walk-off homer on a 3-2 pitch.

Anti-Jeter spin: "No wonder Foulke is no longer the Sox's closer!"

Jeter had a big game in Game 2 against the Rangers in the 1996 ALDS. (Al Bello / Getty Images)

Trust me, Joe
Date: Oct. 2, 1996

Setting: Game 2, ALDS, Yankee Stadium

Intro: Under first-year manager Joe Torre, the Yankees are trying to win their first playoff series since 1981. They lose Game 1 with Jeter stranding six runners in his first postseason game. Afterward, Jeter playfully tells Torre to get a good night's sleep, saying the next game would be the most important of the manager's life.

Jeter moment: After the Yankees rally from a 4-1 deficit to force extra innings, Jeter leads off the 12th with a single, his third hit of the game. Tim Raines walks, and Jeter scores the winning run when third baseman Dean Palmer makes a throwing error on an attempted sacrifice by Charlie Hayes. The Yankees go on to win the series in four games and eventually win their first World Series since 1978.

Anti-Jeter spin: "The fix was in! Mike Stanton was the losing pitcher! He just wanted to pitch for the Yankees!"

Stanton signed with the Yankees following the 1996 season and pitched for them from 1997 to 2002.

Boosting the Rocket
Date: Oct. 14, 2000

Setting: Game 4, ALCS, Seattle.

Intro: The Yankees lead the series, two games to one. Roger Clemens buzzes the Mariners' Alex Rodriguez, then strikes out 15 in a one-hit, complete-game shutout.

Jeter moment: The game is scoreless with two outs in the fifth when the Yankees' Scott Brosius hits a single to right and Chuck Knoblauch draws a walk. Jeter follows with a three-run homer off Mariners right-hander Paul Abbott, the decisive blow in a 5-0 victory.

Anti-Jeter spin: "Like the Mariners would have scored off of Clemens, anyway."

Jeffrey Maier reaches over the wall to turn Jeter's flyball into a home run in 1996. (TIMOTHY CLARY / Getty Images)

Thank you, Jeffrey Maier
Date: Oct. 9, 1996.

Setting: Game 1, ALCS, Yankee Stadium.

Intro: The Yankees trail 4-3 with one out in the eighth inning. Jeter faces Orioles right-hander Armando Benitez, who is poised to embark upon a career of big-game meltdowns.

Jeter moment: Flyball to right, Tony Tarasco under it ... the ball disappears! Maier, 12, reaches over the wall and becomes a New York legend. Umpire Richie Garcia rules home run instead of fan interference and Bernie Williams hits a game-winning homer off Randy Myers in the 11th. The Yankees win the series, four games to one.

Anti-Jeter spin: "A flyball, that's all it was. A lousy flyball."

Half-gainer to heaven
Date: Oct. 15, 2001.

Jeter makes a twisting, diving catch against the A's in Game 5 of the 2001 ALDS. (Jamie Squire / Getty Images)

Setting: Game 5, ALDS, Yankee Stadium.

Intro: The Yankees, after rallying from a two-games-to-none deficit in the best-of-five series, lead the A's 5-3 with one out in the eighth inning. Jason Giambi is on first after hitting a leadoff single when Terrence Long hits a foul pop near the third-base stands.

Jeter moment: In a foreshadowing of an even more famous play three years later, Jeter sprints toward foul territory, makes a running catch near the rail and barrels into the stands.

Anti-Jeter spin: "Those choking-dog A's, they played terrible defense, ran the bases horribly and said, 'Please, Derek, have your way with us.' "

Adios, Mets
Date: Oct. 25, 2000.

Setting: Game 4, World Series, Shea Stadium.

Intro: The Mets look to tie the series at home after ending the Yankees' record 14-game World Series winning streak the previous night.

Jeter moment: On the first pitch of the game, Jeter hits a home run off Mets right-hander Bobby Jones. The Yankees win the game 3-2 and clinch their third straight World Series title the next night. Jeter is named MVP.

Anti-Jeter spin: "Bobby Jones. Bobby freakin' Jones. It wasn't as if Jeter took Tom Seaver deep."

Mr. November

Jeter celebrates his game-winning home run in Game 4 of the 2001 World Series. (Ron Vesely / Getty Images)

Date: Oct. 31, 2001.

Setting: Game 4, World Series, Yankee Stadium.

Intro: The Yankees, down two games to one, are tied 3-3 with the Diamondbacks in the 10th inning. Diamondbacks closer Byung-Hyun Kim gets the first two outs, then Jeter steps to the plate, 1-for-15 in the Series.

Jeter moment: Jeter falls behind 0-2, works the count to 3-2 and then hits Kim's 62nd pitch of the night for an opposite-field walk-off homer. The Yankees tie the Series, which had been pushed back due to 9-11, but ultimately lose in seven games.

Anti-Jeter spin: "What was Diamondbacks manager Bob Brenly doing, allowing Kim to throw that many pitches after he gave up a two-out, two-run homer to Tino Martinez in the ninth?"

Hey Nomar, check this out!

Jeter's dive into the stands against the Red Sox is a tough one to forget, even for Boston fans. ( / Associated Press)

Date: July 1, 2004.

Setting: Regular-season game, Yankee Stadium.

Intro: The Yankees begin the night leading the division by 7 1/2 games.

Jeter moment: With runners on second and third and two out in the 12th inning, the Red Sox's Trot Nixon lofts a popup down the left-field line. Jeter catches the ball in fair territory, then crashes head-first into the stands. The Yankees win in the 13th, and afterward Jeter is taken to the hospital with a bloodied chin, swollen cheek and bruised shoulder.

The juxtaposition between Jeter and Red Sox shortstop Nomar Garciaparra, who sits out the game with a sore Achilles', is jarring. Garciaparra, perceived by many to be a clubhouse downer, is traded later that month — and the Red Sox go on to win their first World Series in 86 years.

Anti-Jeter spin: "How many times do we need to see the replay? How many?"

The flip

Jeter's flip to nail Jeremy Giambi at the plate helped turn around the 2001 ALDS. ( / Associated Press)

Date: Oct. 13, 2001.

Setting: Game 3, ALDS, Oakland.

Intro: The Yankees, down two games to none in the best-of-five series, lead 1-0 in the seventh inning. The A's Jeremy Giambi hits a two-out single, then tries to score on Terrence Long's double into the right-field corner as Yankees right fielder Shane Spencer overthrows both cutoff men.

Jeter moment: Like a human GPS, Jeter dashes toward the first-base line, grabs the bouncing ball and flips it back-handed to Yankees catcher Jorge Posada, about 20 feet away. Posada tags out Giambi, and the Yankees go on to win the next three games and the series.

Anti-Jeter spin: "If the idiot Giambi had slid, he would have been safe and Jeter's 'brilliance' would have amounted to nothing."

Ken Rosenthal is's senior baseball writer.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Big Apple shortstops meet in showdown

Big Apple shortstops meet in showdown
06/29/2006 10:15 PM ET
By Ryan Mink /

One turned 23 years old on June 11. The other turned 32 years old on Monday. They're both shortstops in the Big Apple and they're both one of the main reasons their clubs are a couple of the most competitive in baseball.
They are the Mets' Jose Reyes (the younger of the two) and the Yankees' Derek Jeter. Reyes, very much like Jeter did 10 years ago when leading the Yankees to their first World Series championship since 1981, has the Mets looking like a playoff-bound team.

That journey continues Saturday as the Mets take on the Yankees in the second game of the weekend series in the FOX Saturday Game of the Week.

Jeter will get another look at a shortstop who has impressed him thus far this season.

"I don't get to watch the games, but I see the highlights," Jeter said. "He's exciting to watch."

Jeter continued to lavish Reyes with praise, saying the young Mets speedster reminded him of Ichiro Suzuki of the Mariners. Reyes has 34 stolen bases in 42 chances and touts a .293 batting average as of Thursday afternoon.

"Speed never slumps," Jeter said before joking with reporters. "But I was a little faster when I came up."

Yankees manager Joe Torre actually said Jeter wasn't all that impressive before his first full Major League season in 1996.

"There was even talk the last week of Spring Training as to whether we made the right decision that he was going to be our shortstop," Torre said. "I didn't know anything about him. He was OK. He looked a little raw, didn't do anything spectacular."

That quickly changed when Jeter hit a home run and made an over-the-shoulder catch in his first game that season. Torre said the veterans started looking to Jeter for leadership around June or July, sensing that he was something special.

"He was either at the start or finish in every rally that we had into the playoffs," Torre said.

Reyes, who is already in his fourth season with the Mets, seems to be on his way toward becoming on of the game's elite shortstops, as well. Reyes was named Player of the Week for the second consecutive week Monday. He batted .613 (19-for-31), scored 12 runs, hit two homers and stole four bases in the week.

Jeter didn't allude to any specific similarities between him and Reyes. But Mets manager Willie Randolph did liken the two shortstops.

"They're not the same, but they are the same," Randolph said. "I see either one and I think perennial All-Star. You can win a championship with either of them. They do it [in] different ways. And Derek has the longer track record. ... They're special athletes. Look in the dictionary under shortstop, either one could be there."

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.