Sunday, May 27, 2007

Jeter Sees Sunshine Amid Clouds

Jeter Sees Sunshine Amid Clouds
Published: May 13, 2007

SEATTLE, May 12 — Most days, a few hours before the Yankees play, Derek Jeter will stroll into the clubhouse sipping a grande cappuccino from Starbucks. No endorsements, though; Starbucks does not need a pitchman, and he already hawks Gatorade and Propel fitness water.

Three hours before Friday night’s game, Jeter stood in the middle of the visiting locker room at Safeco Field with a different kind of treat: a soft-serve ice cream cone from the players’ lounge. As an accessory, it made him look carefree, which in many ways he is.

“You can tell he enjoys every aspect of the game,” said first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz, who is playing on a team with Jeter for the first time this season. “The good, the bad and the ugly, he thoroughly enjoys all of it.”

For the Yankees this season, there have been plenty of bad and ugly. But aside from a brief fielding slump in early April, not much of it has been caused by Jeter. He leads the American League in batting average (.376) and hits (53), maintaining a sunny outlook despite the Yankees’ erratic start.

That part comes easy to Jeter, the team captain, who said he always tried to take the long view, and the positive one.

“I’m optimistic by nature,” Jeter said. “Even when things are going poorly, you’ve got to find something positive. You have to. Because if you get caught up in being negative all the time, you’ll never get out of any kind of funk.”

Jeter is not immune to slumps, of course. He went 0 for 32 early in the 2004 season, and when Mientkiewicz struggled in April, Jeter often reminded him of his own slow starts.

But he has been remarkably consistent over the past two seasons. At one point, from Aug. 20, 2006, through May 3, he had at least one hit in 59 of 61 games. The stretch began with a 25-game hitting streak, followed by a hitless game. A 14-game hitting streak followed that. Then, after another hitless game, Jeter ripped off 20 in a row.

According to Trent McCotter of the Society for American Baseball Research, only one other player since 1900 had as many as 59 games out of 61 with a hit: Joe DiMaggio, who hit safely in 60 of 61 in 1941, when he had a record 56-game streak.

For superstitious reasons, Jeter does not like talking about hot streaks as they happen. But when he stays in one all season, it is sometimes hard to avoid.

“I don’t think about it, really,” he said. “All I try to do, pretty much, is to be consistent. I don’t try to overanalyze anything, I don’t try to sit back and say, You’re doing this or that. I just try to consistently help out every day.

“You look at it that way, especially when things are going bad, you’re able to get out of it, because you’re not concerning yourself with how you’re doing individually.”

In a short time around Jeter, Mientkiewicz already understands the essence of what makes him succeed. Mientkiewicz said it was obvious to him that Jeter kept everything simple and took each at-bat with a clear head, never letting one plate appearance affect the next.

As a hitter, Jeter reminds Mientkiewicz of the Hall of Famer Paul Molitor, his former teammate with the Minnesota Twins. Both are exceptional hitters who make their own luck.

“He’s got that Paul Molitor knack,” Mientkiewicz said. “Even in batting practice, Molly never hit a ball right to the shortstop or right to the second baseman. They always had that knack of always hitting the ball where somebody wasn’t.

“Tony Gwynn had it, too — they just find holes. When he rolls a ball over, it’s never right to somebody. Then he tops one off the plate, and it’s right in front of the plate and he beats it out. Then he barrels it up and hits it 440 in the gap, and it’s a homer.”

There is a tendency toward hyperbole when discussing any hot hitter, and Jeter is no exception. But history shows that he does not vary much from the way he starts a season. Only once has Jeter’s season-ending batting average been more than .013 below his average May 11. And that year (1999), he finished second in the league in hitting at .349.

Jeter is now batting third, behind the struggling Bobby Abreu, because Manager Joe Torre said he felt more comfortable with Jeter in a position to drive in runs.

“He’s gotten an awful lot of two-out hits,” Torre said. “That’s the bonus, as far as I’m concerned. Yeah, man on third base, less than two out, you’re supposed to knock in the run. But with two out, that’s what turns into a great at-bat. When you get two-out R.B.I.’s, that’s something that really deflates the opposition and perks up your team.”

With two outs and runners in scoring position, Jeter had a .600 average through Friday, with nine hits in 15 at-bats. It does not always work this way, but for now Jeter is living up to his reputation of giving the team what it needs. He said he was not thinking of anything else.

“When the season’s over, you get a chance to reflect on what happened during the season,” Jeter said. “Once you sit around and start talking about what you’ve done, that’s when you’re in trouble. You always strive to do something better.”

Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company

Monday, May 14, 2007

Jeter: What, me worry?

05/14/2007 12:27 PM ET
Jeter: What, me worry?
Yanks captain staying positive and his play shows the way
By Bryan Hoch /

SEATTLE -- Derek Jeter flicked the lapels of his sharp silver blazer -- exceeding the standard for team charter flights -- and turned to the gathering of television cameras and notebooks waiting by his locker.

After tough losses, this practice has become a steady standard for the Yankees captain. It has also been far too common an occurrence in the early going, as the 17-19 Yankees sank two games below the .500 mark following their defeat to the Mariners at Safeco Field on Sunday.

So Jeter, the most consistent Yankee this year, coolly dissected the latest installment of a season that has been implicit in its inconsistency. The state of the Yankees address contained an underlying message of hope.

Sure, the Yankees were eight games back of the Red Sox, but, as Jeter cracked, it's better than nine.

"I think what you've got to try to do, when there's a lot of things going on, is try to stay positive," Jeter said before Sunday's game. "I think that's the biggest thing. It's real easy to get caught up in that everything is so negative, negative, negative. That's all anyone's asking about, that's all anyone's talking about.

"I just try to stay positive, regardless of what happens. Even if we're not playing well, you can still try to draw some positives from an individual day. That's what I try to do. I'm still optimistic by nature."

Perhaps so, but the first six weeks of the campaign have presented circumstances difficult for even the most ardent Yankees supporters to swallow.

A starting rotation plagued by inconsistency and injuries seems to finally be rounding into form, but now the red flags have shifted to the offense, which has been held to two runs or less in three of four games leading into Monday's off-day in Chicago.

After Sunday's loss, Johnny Damon fretted that nobody would catch the Red Sox if their current pace continued. Even Yankees manager Joe Torre showed concern that the team was wasting pitching and had lost its swagger.

Yet Jeter kept his brave face, offering compliments to the Mariners' pitching staff and stating that the Yankees would worry about the Red Sox when they unpacked their belongings in a clubhouse across the hall. It was a course of action learned long ago.

"I remember being young, and you'd get caught up in the, 'Here we go again,' thing," Jeter said. "The thing you have to realize is, when we're going poorly, the only way you can get out of it is to forget about what's happened. Once you keep talking about it and keep dwelling on it, it's pretty difficult to get out."

In a lineup plagued by outages among many key contributors, including Bobby Abreu (2-for-22), Robinson Cano (9-for-63), Jason Giambi (0-for-18) and Alex Rodriguez (2-for-17), Jeter's reliability strikes even more of a chord.

The veteran shortstop has never finished a season leading the American League in hitting, but right now he paces the AL with a .375 batting average. His teammate, catcher Jorge Posada, is second with a .365 mark, and neither player appears particularly interested given the Yankees' struggles and the calendar month.

"I'm not chasing him," Posada said. "It's May."

"Individual awards, if I led the league, are great, but you don't think about that," Jeter said. "Especially in May. We're trying to win games. We've got a long way to go."

If nothing else, the statistics reflect a consistent approach. Jeter hit in 25 consecutive games in '06 and opened the 2007 campaign with a 20-game hitting streak, a string that was snapped on May 4, ending a run of 29 at-bats in which he'd batted .552.

Undeterred, Jeter picked up where he'd left off, hitting in his ninth straight game on Sunday.

"He knows what his capabilities are," Torre said. "He's not swinging and missing as much as the first couple of years. The fact that he uses the whole field, he's not going to hit a lot of home runs. Basically, he hits a lot of line drives."

Including the final 37 games of '06, Jeter has hit in 60 of his last 62 regular-season games and has reached base in 67 out of 68 games dating back to last season.

Perhaps most valuable, Torre said, was Jeter's production when pitchers tried to escape innings. With runners in scoring position and two outs, Jeter's success rate has been a staggering .625 (10-for-16) with 11 RBIs.

"That's the bonus, as far as I'm concerned," Torre said. "[With a] man at third base, less than two outs, you're supposed to knock in the run. With two outs, that's what turns into a great at-bat -- two-out RBIs. That's something that really deflates the opposition and perks up your team."

The production might be a bigger statement than any rah-rah speech Jeter could give behind closed doors.

"You don't always have to say something," Jeter said, "and when you say something, guys don't have to know about it. I get a big kick out of people saying that I don't say too much. How do you all know? You don't just run your mouth for the sake of running your mouth. I think you can lead by example, first and foremost.

"We've got 100-something games left. The sky ain't falling yet."

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

© 2001-2007 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.

The following are trademarks or service marks of Major League Baseball entities and may be used only with permission of Major League Baseball Properties, Inc. or the relevant Major League Baseball entity: Major League, Major League Baseball, MLB, the silhouetted batter logo, World Series, National League, American League, Division Series, League Championship Series, All-Star Game, and the names, nicknames, logos, uniform designs, color combinations, and slogans designating the Major League Baseball clubs and entities, and their respective mascots, events and exhibitions.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Wang nearly misses perfect game; Yankees roll, 8-1

Wang nearly misses perfect game; Yankees roll, 8-1
Posted by The Star-Ledger May 05, 2007 6:50PM
Categories: Sports
AP Photo/Julie Jacobson

New York Yankees' Chien-Ming Wang delivers against the Seattle Mariners during the first inning in Major League Baseball action. at Yankee Stadium in New York.NEW YORK - Derek Jeter likes to greet Yankees teammate Chien-Ming Wang with a cry of, What up Wang? - purposely mispronouncing the pitchers last name to rhyme with clang instead of song.
What was up yesterday was a lot of nothing.

As in, almost all zeros for the Seattle Mariners.

Wang came within five outs of the 18th perfect game in major-league history, retiring 22 straight before settling for eight two-hit innings in the Yankees' 8-1 victory at Yankee Stadium.

It was a welcome performance for a team that had allowed 15 runs the night before and had seen its starters combine for a 5.73 ERA. Wang was the first Yankees starter this year to pitch into the eighth inning and the first in 17 games to finish the seventh.

With one out in the eighth inning, Seattle's Ben Broussard hammered a 0-1 pitch over the fence in right. The Yankee Stadium fans gasped in disappointment, then gave Wang a standing ovation for his effort.

During the middle innings, the crowd was often hushed - as if the fans were nervous about seeing history and afraid of jinxing Wang. But the cheers grew louder for every out he recorded.

It was just the third start of the season for Wang. He was in line to be the Yankees opening-day starter - an honor he earned last year by winning 19 games and finishing second in Cy Young Award voting - before he suffered a strained hamstring late in spring training.

Wang came off the disabled list April 24, and in his first two outings was 0-2 with a 5.84 ERA.

The Yankees blew open a 1-0 game with five runs in the sixth inning off former Yankee Jeff Weaver (0-5). The Yankees had four hits in the inning and were helped by a bases-loaded hit batter and a bases-loaded walk. Derek Jeter capped the rally with a two-run double.

Contributed by Ed Price

©2007 All Rights Reserved.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Baseball 'Call Stars' Derek Jeter, David Ortiz, and Cal Ripken, Jr. are on the Phone from XM

Baseball 'Call Stars' Derek Jeter, David Ortiz, and Cal Ripken, Jr. are on the Phone from XM
Viral Marketing Campaign Invites Baseball Fans to Send Personalized Voice Messages from Baseball Greats to Friends
By: PR Newswire
Apr. 9, 2007 02:57 PM

WASHINGTON, April 9 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- XM, the official satellite radio network of Major League Baseball, is offering baseball fans the opportunity to send personalized voice messages from baseball greats Derek Jeter, David Ortiz and Cal Ripken, Jr. to their friends and family.

(Photo: ) (Logo: )

The marketing campaign "Call Stars" is geared to enhance baseball fans' awareness of XM's comprehensive coverage of Major League Baseball. XM airs every MLB game for every team from Opening Night to the World Series.

Fans can visit the web site to send a customized voice message from the New York Yankees' Jeter, Boston Red Sox slugger Ortiz, or Hall-of-Fame-bound Ripken. When fans arrive at the site, they choose a ball player and enter a friend's name, favorite team, hobbies, and other details. Friends will receive the voice message on their phone, email or by AOL Instant Messenger.

"Call Stars" offers the baseball fan a wide variety of choices for creating a personal message from Jeter, Ortiz, or Ripken. Messages from Ortiz are available in Spanish or English. This campaign marks the first time that this type of audio service has been available in Spanish.

"With baseball season underway, XM is truly thrilled to provide fans an interactive way to get excited about the game," said Vernon Irvin, Chief Marketing Officer at XM. "This viral marketing campaign engages fans in a way that is fun and effective, and it provides XM an ideal platform to communicate directly to consumers."

In addition to carrying the games, XM has the nation's only 24-hour talk radio channel dedicated to Major League Baseball, MLB Home Plate (XM Channel 175). The channel covers every aspect of the sport 365 days a year with call- in shows, round-the-clock news updates, specials, and classic games. Ripken, who will be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in July, hosts the XM show "Ripken Baseball" on MLB Home Plate with his brother and fellow major league veteran Billy Ripken.

XM also offers Spanish play-by-play game coverage and baseball talk on the channel MLB En Espanol (XM Channel 174).

MLB is part of XM Radio's 170-channel package of sports, music, news, entertainment, and talk radio. XM subscribers can listen to the games live and nationwide on satellite radio receivers for the car, home, office, and portable use.

About XM

XM is America's number one satellite radio company with more than 7.6 million subscribers. Broadcasting live daily from studios in Washington, DC, New York City, Chicago, the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, Toronto and Montreal, XM's 2007 lineup includes more than 170 digital channels of choice from coast to coast: commercial-free music, premier sports, news, talk radio, comedy, children's and entertainment programming; and the most advanced traffic and weather information.

XM, the leader in satellite-delivered entertainment and data services for the automobile market through partnerships with General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Nissan, Porsche, Subaru, Suzuki and Toyota is available in 140 different vehicle models for 2007. XM's industry-leading products are available at consumer electronics retailers nationwide. For more information about XM hardware, programming and partnerships, please visit

Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements in this press release include demand for XM Satellite Radio's service, the Company's dependence on technology and third party vendors, its potential need for additional financing, as well as other risks described in XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc.'s Form 10-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on 3-9-06. Copies of the filing are available upon request from XM Radio's Investor Relations Department. Programming is subject to change.

XM Satellite Radio
CONTACT: Carrie Kreiswirth, +1-212-643-1068 ext. 241,, John Totaro, +1-212-643-1068, ext. 258,, both of Pyramid Public Relations for XM Satellite
Radio; or Marie Farrar of XM Satellite Radio, +1-202-380-4151,

Web site:

Published Apr. 9, 2007 — Reads 270
Copyright © 2007 SYS-CON Media. All Rights Reserved.

Copyright ©1994-2007 SYS-CON Publications, Inc. All Rights Reserved. All marks are trademarks of SYS-CON Media.
Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of SYS-CON Publications, Inc. is prohibited.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Jeter: Joe MUST NOT go

Jeter: Joe MUST NOT go
Posted by Staten Island Advance April 30, 2007 1:49AM
Categories: Dean Balsamini

For all those folks who say Derek Jeter, as Captain of the Yankees, should speak up once in a while, well, your wait is over.

With the Yankees dropping yesterday's rubber game, 7-4, in the weekend series against the Red Sox, Derek clearly sees the walls closing in on manager Joe Torre.

The drumbeat for Joe's ouster are growing louder.
From the media.
From bloggers.
Most importantly, from the man who signs his checks.

And Jeter, who knows how to read signs (i.e. George Steinbrenner's silence -- save for those sources who report the Boss "is not happy") made sure to step up for his once-again beleaguered manager.

You, know, that guy who has led the Yankees to four World Series titles and 10 Eastern Division titles.

"It's unfair to even be talking about it, and it should stop," Jeter said yesterday afternoon.
The Yankees hit the road to Texas having lost eight of their last nine games. And five of six to Boston since April 21.

Any sane person would say it's way too early to even think about firing Joe. But tell that to Yogi Berra, who was fired by Steinbrenner after 16 games in 1985.

"It's unfair," Jeter said. "It shouldn't be questioned. His job should never be questioned. Like I said, he is in no way responsible for us not playing well. He puts the best players out on the field for every game, and then it's up to us."

Derek may not go to bat for A-Rod, but he definitely has Joe's back.

General manager Brian Cashman also defended Torre, saying: "As far as I'm concerned, I take full responsibility for this start, just because that's my job. If you're looking for blame, blame me."

Don't worry, Brian, I do.

As maddening as Joe's in-game managing can be, I do not want him fired. Nor should he be fired.

But Cashman is the guy who gave Joe a team with NO bench. I said this nearly three weeks ago and some people laughed. Now everybody is pointing it out.

Cashman is the guy who signed busts Carl ("Operation") Pavano, Kyle ("Can't pitch back-to-back") Farnsworth, Kei Igawa (trust me) and Doug "Every squirrel finds an acorn" Mientkiewicz.

That said, this will not be 1965 revisited. That was before free agency and before the advent of the wild card, the two sweetest words in the vocabulary of any Red Sox fan (see every year THEY make the playoffs.

Remember this: The Red Sox looked like worldbeaters last June when they owned the best record in baseball and swept the Mets. How did that work out?

There is plenty of time for the Yankees to regroup and Joe should be the man to lead them. The Yankees need to get healthy and Cashman needs to give Joe a few more players.

And if that doesn't do it, there's always our secret weapon.

Hilary Swank.

©2007 All Rights Reserved.

Jeter Fired Up Over Torre

Jeter Fired Up Over Torre
Captain Speaks Out In Manager's Defense
April 30, 2007

By DOM AMORE, Courant Staff Writer NEW YORK --

Derek Jeter rarely shows emotion, rarely lets on when he is angry. But Sunday, he raised his voice for Joe Torre.

"It's not fair," the Yankees captain said in reference to questions about Torre's job security. "He doesn't play, that's the bottom line. He puts the best team out there on the field and gives us an opportunity to win. We haven't gotten the job done. His job is something that shouldn't ever be talked about."

Jeter was asked if this was intended as a message to owner George Steinbrenner.

"I was just responding to the person who asked the question," he said. But if asked by anyone in the Yankees' hierarchy, "I would say the same thing," Jeter said.

Except for a handful of games for Buck Showalter in 1995, Jeter has played his entire career under Torre, whose 11-plus years are the longest anyone has lasted as manager of the Yankees since Casey Stengel's tenure of 1949-60.

Talk of Torre's job being in jeopardy began in earnest Friday night after the Yankees' 11-4 loss to the Red Sox, their seventh loss in a row and fourth in a row to the Red Sox. Torre aired out the team after the game, and the Yankees responded with a 3-1 victory Saturday, easing the tension. There was confidence Sunday that the Yankees, with their No.1 pitcher, Chien-Ming Wang, going against the Red Sox's No. 5, Julian Tavarez, could win, take two of three in the series and get to a manageable 41/2 games behind.

But the Yankees lost 7-4 to fall to 9-14 and 61/2 games back.

"I take full responsibility for this start," general manager Brian Cashman said. "I put this team together. If you're going to blame anyone, I say blame me."

Torre moved about his office and the clubhouse, preparing for the upcoming trip to Texas, without showing any sign of concern about being fired. "I can't control that," he said. "I just do what I can do."

Players talked as if there were a real fear of something happening.

"We all came here because Joe Torre was the manager," Jason Giambi said. "This has nothing to do with him. He can't do anything about injuries. It's not something we talk about because nobody thinks it's anything valid."

Said Alex Rodriguez: "It's frustrating that it's an issue."

Torre, 66, has managed the Yankees since 1996, guiding them into the playoffs each year, including 2005, when they started 11-19 and finished 95-67. His teams won the World Series four of his first five years, but they have lost in the playoffs each of the last six years. He was nearly fired last October. At that time, Steinbrenner put out a statement saying he expected a team that has "fighting spirit and worked together." That was perceived as a warning that Torre would be in trouble if the Yankees got off to a bad start.

Organization insiders were of divided opinions Sunday. Some suggest Steinbrenner, 76, is alert, angry and considering a move; others believe Steinbrenner's age and health are such that he is no longer making such decisions. The ownership is in turmoil, with general partner Steve Swindal getting divorced from Steinbrenner's daughter, Jennifer, so it's unclear who would go to bat for Torre and have the power to save him if the Boss insisted he go.

Steinbrenner's spokesman, Howard Rubenstein, said after the game that the Boss had no comment. Rubenstein said he had just spoken to Steinbrenner.

Contact Dom Amore at

 is Copyright © 2007 by The Hartford Courant