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MLB articles

Jeter: Back in the Swing of Things

On July 9th 2011, Derek Jeter became the 28th player in MLB history to join the 3,000 hit club, and he did so with a home run in a game where he went 5 for 5.  Since that point, Jeter is batting .344 with a .395 On Base Percentage and has a .496 Slugging Percentage.  Needless to say, he has picked up his game.  Many believe the reason he returned to form was because the pressure was lifted when he hit number 3000 out of the park.  That surely played a part, but that’s not the only reason the Yankees Captain has been hitting the ball as well as he ever has.

What the casual fans don’t know is that during his time on the Disabled List in June, he took a trip down south to the Yankees’ training complex in Tampa, Florida.  During his time there, he met with Gary Denbo to try and find out why he was struggling so much at the plate and what to do about it.  Denbo was Derek’s first professional hitting coach, and has worked with him for almost twenty years.  Knowing that, it is no surprise that he knows more about Jeter’s swing than anyone else.  The advice was simple, but the effects were drastic.  After analyzing film and working with him firsthand, Denbo found that Jeter wasn’t staying back in his stance long enough, and it hurt his timing.

“Most guys struggle, regardless of who it is, because you’re not staying back.” Jeter said. “It sounds easy: ‘Why don’t you just stay back?’ It’s not that easy. You try, but you don’t.”

Jeter called it a blessing in disguise, and that is putting it lightly.  This small mechanical tweak appears to have resurrected his career and by doing so, silenced any critics that claimed he is over the hill.  I personally never thought that his career was in jeopardy at this point.  He may have lost a step on defense, but not to the degree that he is considered a fielding liability.   That is the only knock on him that I would consider reasonable.  And even though sabermetrics show that his range has fallen in recent years, I would still take him over most other shortstops in the league, looking at defense alone.

People look to the past for players to compare Derek to, but they seem to overlook that he is not your average baseball player.  There’s only a handful shortstops that compare to Jeter’s offensive numbers at any point in his career, and even fewer that had such success over a 17 year period like he has.  Jeter will maintain a high level of play and continue to contribute to New York for another 3 to 4 years, barring injury.

I often find myself wondering how Derek’s career will come to an end.  His life story to this point is something of a fairy tale, and I can’t pretend that I know where its headed from here.  But that has been the fun in watching Jeter play: he is unpredictable, yet never seems to disappoint.  Anybody who has watched him play can tell you that there is something special about him, he has a set of intangibles unlike any other.   I look forward to watching him play out these final few chapters of his career, and seeing exactly how many tricks he has left up his sleeve.  I expect the end to this story to be just as special as it has been to this point.  It will be perfectly fitting and still amaze us all the same.  As Mr. Sterling would say it, it will be simply Jeterian.


Jorge Posada – It’s Been An Honor

Jorge Posada – “It’s been an Honor”

As long as I have been watching baseball – granted, it’s only been something like 13 or 14 years – Jorge Posada has been driving in key runs and catching well enough to help propel his team to 5 World Championships.  Year after year, I can recall John Sterling raving about just how important “Georgie” was to the Yankees, and how much of an impact he really had on the team over the span of his 17-year career.  If there is one thing that I will remember Posada for, it would be how he approached the game. Continue reading