In the sixteenth century the explorer Ponce de Leon sailed to the new world in search of the Fountain of Youth. He landed in what is now called Florida.
I am not a Yankees fan, I am not a Derek Jeter fan, but as a baseball fan I could separate Derek Jeter the man and Yankee ballplayer from the ability of the player. I didn’t have to admire the ability but I could and did acknowledge it.
Could we as fans be so naive to look at Jeter’s offensive play today and say “no, he never would use PEDs”? If you don’t think so, where you in early Sept. 1998 when Mark McGuire hit the then record breaking 62nd home run. Sammy Sosa, who was engaged in a home run battle with McGuire, was there in Right Field. Sosa congratulated him, as did the family of Roger Maris. McGuire’s son was there as well. Those of us watching were thrilled by the spectacle of a baseball hero who took less money to stay with the Cardinals set a new record. Yea, we were that naive.
A year ago on June 13th Derek Jeter who was hitting .260 with a .324 OBP went on the DL, while rehabbing in Tampa he worked on his swing and returned on July 4th. Five days later, Jeter got his 3000th career hit. From his Independence Day return until the end of the regular season Derek Jeter hit .331 with an OBP of .384
If you meld his 2010 season and the first part of 2011, the combined BA and OBP are .267, .335. Jeter was 36 and it happens.
Now take the end of 2011, add in the torrid start to this year and you get .349, .394. Jeter is approaching 38 and it doesn’t happen.
In 1998 a baseball hero cheated, this past off season we learned that Ryan Braun tested positive, but beat the 50 game suspension on a technicality. Between McGuire and Braun we have had some of the biggest names in the game come up dirty. Can anyone be trusted to play on a level field and if not, Jeter would be no exception? And if not what does it mean to the game?
Unless Jeter found that Fountain inTampa.