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Trade Jeter ... and fast

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Dear Road Dog:

How come I ain't heard from you today, Dog? I know you went to Game 4 of the World Series without me. I know you didn't hook me up. Why? Just because I busted your bubble about that Fraud you're always talking about? You know who I mean. That Derek Jeter.

Derek Jeter
Derek Jeter proved to be a real rabble rouser in the Bronx on Wednesday night.
What's wrong with your boy? Can't he get anything right?

Why is it that everything Ol' Dude touches turns to tin? Or Life?

I mean, there he is, ninth inning, Yankees down, two games to one in the World Series, 3-1 in the fourth game, facing a sidewheeling Arizona reliever named Kim, throwing rising napalm with a tail. He had just struck out the Yankee side. Looked good doing it, too. So what's Jeet up to, no out, down two runs, nobody on, with 10 million hearts tugging at his sleeve, people mourning the dead and unburied, asking Jeet to help them forget?

He's laying down a bunt? That's Yankee ball? That's smart? That's The Play? Who taught him? McGraw? Rube Foster?

And then, just a few minutes later ... Jeet walks to the place, the clock tolling midnight on Halloween -- the very day that the terrorists had told us to stay out of the malls. Tenth inning, game tied 3-3.

Now, hold on just a minute. How'd the game get tied? Well, everybody knows Paulie and Tino are damn near done, damn near toast -- everybody except Joe Torre, and Jeet. They'll say Jeet looked at Paulie, then at Tino, after Matt Williams made a play on his bunt in the ninth inning, as if to say, "Well, they got me, but they ain't gonna get you. I failed this time, but life and baseball are games of failure, though that don't mean youse guys gotta. We can't let New York down. Oh sure, we've won four of the last five World Series played, which is more than the Babe won over any five-year stretch, but that don't count. That was back when there was a World Trade Center. This is a new day."

That was just like Your Boy Jeet, to pass the buck like that, Dog.

So anyway, the clock is striking midnight on Halloween, and here comes Jeet, two outs in the 10th of a tie game, with his team in dire need -- his team now, Dog, not the Babe's, not Casey's squad, not Steinbrenner's Squeezebox, not anybody else's. Who do you think Posada and Soriano (the best players on the Yanks after Jeet, and Bernie -- Bernie would like for you to forget Bernie, but you can't forget Bernie) look to for approval? And this guy gives it to 'em!

Unreal. Definitely not New York.

Derek Jeter
Remember, Jeter was hitting something like .067 in the World Series before his homer in Game 4.
Sick, I'm telling ya. Jeter is sick.

Two outs, bottom of the 10th, 3-3, Yankees down two games to one. Rivera, sitting there in the dugout, after three hard innings within the last 24 hours chewing on his rotator cuff, with Torre having no choice but to run him out there again for the 11th if Jeet makes out, or even if gets his little bingle. Then the edge goes to the Arizona D-backs. You know, the world champeen Arizona D-backs. Crap don't even sound right. No harm, Schill's a thrill. Randy is dandy. What kinda dude wouldn't want the Arizona D-backs, whatever they are, to win the World Series? What sort of dude wearing a Yankee single digit would not roll over for them?

Would Ruth roll over? Would Gehrig roll over? Would DiMaggio roll over? Yogi? Would the Mick roll over? The Mick, he might tie one on, but would he roll over? Would Reggie roll over? So what does Jeter do? What kind of at-bat was that? Fighting off them ungodly submariner rise balls and outshoots and exploding gas from that dude Kim, who ain't no loser ...

And then, what? What?

Yeah, sure, I know. I seen it. Jeet hit a home run to win the game. But it was to the opposite field! The guy didn't even pull the ball!

What's up with that?

I mean, let's pretend the home run didn't happen. Going into that at-bat, what was Jeet hitting for the Series, .O67? Yo, Mussina can hit that. See I'm telling ya, Dog, I heard it from the people out in Oakland. They done found Jeet's hole. It started against the A's, then continued against the Mariners in the ALCS, and then in the World Series. They figured him out. So really, you need to deal him to us now, before the rest of the league catches up.

Derek Jeter
The impolite guy will even barge into the stands without a moment's notice.
See, what you do, you keep running heat hard in on his hands, tying him up. Then breaking balls away. That's how pitchers want to pitch to hitters they don't know what else to do with. That's how they pitched to Aaron, Oliva, Tony C., Edgar.

Found his hole? Yeah, they found his hole, all right. And when they missed, even by the smallest fraction, they found some fire in the hole. When sidewheeler fireballer Kim tried to go away, he went away, all right. Way away.

And then where does Jeet get off, rounding the bases with his fist shot up in the air like that, like he did something special? It's not special. It's not sexy. It's not like we haven't seen it before.

Why doesn't he do something different for a change? Like cause the Yankees to lose a World Series game once in a while? Can't he give us more? The guy's beginning to remind us of some kinda ghoulish hookup of DiMag, Mays, Oz, and Cal Jr. Sick, Dog.

Look what he's done to your crib, to the New York community! Don't he know how to give something back? Everybody noticed how New York lost something after the World Trade Center was brought down. Even he admitted it, on TV. Something was lost -- that arrogance, the impatience of New Yorkers which forces to to get up to speed or to get out of the way. Time was, they'd bring the game to you; this we loved to hate about them, but we secretly admired their test of fire. If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere ... but all that went away for a while. New Yorkers had gotten -- you ain't gonna like this, Dog, but it's true -- nice.

Don't nobody wanna be nice. Ask a woman if she wants a man, or if she wants a nice man. The fire in the eye and the belly of New York was banked. Some said it was gone. Ex'ed forever. Shot out. All that was left was maybe Spree against Jordan, cripple-shooting, because that was not Michael Jordan -- everybody, particularly New Yorkers, could see Jordan's just a jump-shooter now. All that was left was the Yankees. So what did Jeet do? Make New Yorkers feel like spreading the news again? Those little-town blues didn't melt away. They got taken away. Way away. Over the right field wall.

Mariah Carey
Mariah Carey never seemed to recover after getting dumped by Jeter.
Jeet did that to you, Dog. To you and for you.

Plus, there's broken female hearts littered all over greater New York behind Derek Jeter. Can't he date everybody? Can't he marry everybody? That would be the only way to make them all happy. Couldn't he marry at least one of them, the rest by proxy?

Look what Jeet did to that Mariah Carey girl. Girl ain't been the same since Jeet said he wasn't going to marry her, not nearbouts, and therefore let her go, because he didn't want to waste her time. Girl had a nervous breakdown behind Jeet! Or something. We're putting it on Jeet, anyway. We wouldn't stand for that, if it was somebody else who did it.

And what about his parents? Don't they know white people and black people aren't supposed to get along off a ballfield? What are they doing here? What do they mean by liking each other? What do they mean by raising a man/shortstop?

Naw, Dog, your boy, Jeet -- something ain't right. Something ain't human about that dude. For real. Something sick going on there.

Tell you what, Dog. I'll cut you some slack. I'll give you a deal. Break you off a little somethin'. I'll take Jeter off your hands for you. I'll do that for you. Me, and every other would-be GM in ball. I'll give you Barry Bonds and Rich Aurilia and throw in Jeff Kent for Jeter -- and maybe you throw in Soriano and Posada.

Why you laughing? Why you laughing, Dog? Bonds is 38? So? Jeet 27, ain't he? Or he will be one day soon. Seems like he been 25 forever. Be years before he hits his prime. Years, I say. So I gotta wait on the dude.

Tell you what. Give you A-Rod and Ivan straight up for him. No dice? Give you Sheff and LoDuca -- and trade for Nomar and give you him too, all three -- then give Jeet No. 42, and then move the Dodgers back to Brooklyn and build him his own tailored park. It would be tailored like, like ... like Yankee Stadium, I guess. Only without the fašade. The House That Jeet Renovated.

You feeling me, Dog? Ah. Knew that one would make you think.

Derek Jeter
Jeter, left, nearly blocked this photographer's view of his great play in Game 3 of the ALDS.
What do you mean, the Yankees can't afford to give him up? When you get all die-hard up in here? Since Jeet came through? Jeet descends directly from Babe Flipping Ruth? Well, it is true, if he ever left the Yankees there'd be rebellion, gunfire in the streets, screams from the men, determined shouts of "c'mon!" from the women, pandemonium and chaos. But there's already all that, anyway.

In point of fact, Derek Jeter caused such pandemonium and chaos in Yankee Stadium, and in all of New York, and all of the U.S.A., on Halloween night, 2001, Oct. 31, 2001 ... unleashed a hot juice-wave jolt of energy that negated the negative energy swirling around ominously since Sept. 11, 2001.

Took Jeet almost two whole months to turn that feeling around.

Guy's overrated, I'm telling ya. All hype.

People stood and cheered and pounded each other and refused to leave the scene of the crime! So on top of everything, Jeter's a rabble-rouser! People stood there, cheering! Didn't think of leaving in a quick, orderly fashion. Didn't think once about security. Had security. Had Jeter. New Yorkers and New York fans are walking around a foot off the ground today. And I'm telling ya, Dog, that ain't the real world! The real world is Osama, McVeigh, anthrax! Wake up, Dog, I'm tryina save you some grief here, dude! How you living?!

Jeter ain't God.

But tell me you didn't call him God or Jesus or Allah or some name more powerful than his when Jeter put a charge in that ball, Dog. You know you did. So we don't want to get over into that idolatry area, do we? So I'm gonna do you a favor. I'm gonna take him off your hands, before the bloom's off the rose. Gotta think ahead in baseball. Name your price. It's time to Break Up the Yankees.

All you gotta do to accomplish that is kidnap Jeter. Basically.

What do you want in return for Jeter, Dog?

Peace on earth?

Whaddaya mean, that ain't enough?

New York. Just like I pictured it. Skyscrapers, ball legends bigger than life, and everthang. Guess New York's back now. Guess nice is out the window. Guess we're back to great again.

Guess it really is Jeet's World.

Yeah, he's a bum, all right. One badass classic Yankee bum, a beautiful, wonderful, timeless bum, and since you won't let go of him, Dog, ain't nothing to do but take your hat off to him, and ride.

Ain't nothing else to do but revel in Jeet's time.

Ralph Wiley spent nine years at Sports Illustrated and wrote 28 cover stories on celebrity athletes. He is the author of several books, including "Best Seat in the House," with Spike Lee, "Born to Play: The Eric Davis Story," and "Serenity, A Boxing Memoir."

trade da bum 

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