Keith Olbermann JeterOn Thursday night future Hall of Fame Yankee Derek Jeter played his last game in Yankee Stadium, and he delivered the winning run in the bottom of the ninth. He went out a hero, and then handled himself with class — something he has always done — which is why aging smear merchant Keith Olbermann recently directed a seven-minute ESPN-flavored version of his “Worst Person in the World” routine at the shortstop.

Here is an excerpt:

“For all we know, Jeter will sprout wings and be taken up to Mount Olympus to play shortstop  in the Big League in the sky. […]  How many times did Derek Jeter lead the American league in any offensive production category? The answer is three. Twice in hits, once in runs scored. No batting championships. No stolen base titles. No leading the league in doubles. Well, how many times did Jeter lead the Yankees in any offensive production categories? We’ll give you the big eight: doubles, homers, RBIs, stolen bases, batting average, on base, slugging, OPS — 17 times.

Over 19 season, 152 guys led the Yankees … it was Jeter only 17 times. […] How many MVP awards did he win? None.

Congratulations to Keith Olbermann — he was able to go through a guy’s 19-year career on one of the most successful franchises in baseball history and find a slew of statistics to slime him with as he exits the league. In telling fashion, Mr. Olbermann went out of his way to ignore Jeter’s character, his leadership on and off the field, and his statistics as seen through the prism of an era forever tarnished with steroid use.

Sports Illustrated clears a few things up for Mr. Olbermann:

From 1996 to 2009, Jeter hit .318 with a .388 on-base percentage and .459 slugging percentage and averaged 152 games a year at shortstop, one of the most physically demanding positions on the field. Other players could play at that level for a month or two, or even a year or two. Very few could do it for that long.

And if you view Jeter in the context of his era, you can appreciate that he was a special player. For a long stretch of his career, baseball did not test for performance-enhancing drugs. It’s pretty obvious that some of the players who out-performed Jeter were juicing. We don’t know for sure that Jeter refrained from using steroids, but there has never been a hint that he used them. It’s fair to imagine that, if baseball had tested for PEDs for Jeter’s entire career, his numbers would look even better than they do, relative to his peers. …

Ripken is the best comparison for Jeter — not just because they played the same position (though Ripken moved to third base late in his career), but also because they are admired for reasons that go beyond their stats. Ripken’s numbers (.276/.340/.447) were not the best of his generation. You could reasonably argue they are not as impressive as Jeter’s (.310/.377/.440). But Ripken was a Baltimore icon, had his amazing Iron Man streak and won a championship with the Orioles. If he were asked to throw out a first pitch in Baltimore in the upcoming playoffs, you would expect a thunderous standing ovation. Baltimoreans are willing to overlook his flaws and his down years, because he is theirs.

Jeter was a consistently terrific player, he was extremely durable, he almost always represented his franchise well and he played for five championship teams. He also apparently didn’t use PEDs at a time when so many players did. That helps explain why he is beloved, and why so many people have found ways to make money off his retirement tour. But don’t let the business distract you from the game. Derek Jeter was a great player.

That is what one calls fair journalism — something Mr. Olbermann has never taken much stock in.

The truth of the matter is that once again a man who spent years perfecting the craft of personal destruction is only running from himself. Keith Olbermann attacks Derek Jeter’s sterling professional career with one team by using Photoshopped angel wings and insults for a very specific reason: everywhere he goes there are burned bridges smoldering in the distance years after his departure. There will be no extended celebrations of Keith Olbermann’s career because, quite frankly, so many people do not like him. He is weirdly-obsessed with statistics because his character and integrity are lacking. Derek Jeter’s leadership skills are ignored because Keith Olbermann is not a leader. Only a man with deep-seated psychological issues would allocate that much air time to bashing Derek Jeter as he closes a marvelous chapter of his life.

Keith Olbermann is the anti-Jeter, and deep down he knows it.

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About the Author Douglas Ernst

I'm a former Army guy who believes success comes through hard work, honesty, optimism, and perseverance. I believe seeing yourself as a victim creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. I believe in God. I'm a USC Trojan with an MA in Political Science from American University.

10 comments

  1. Basically booted from MSNBC for being a jerk, booted from Current because he was a jerk, then wallowed in obscurity for Lord knows how long, and ends up on some late hour at ESPN2 because they needed something with which to fill air time.

    1. I debated whether or not I should just link to story after story after story of his weird behavior off camera, but then I figured, “Eh, most people know about that already.” Wasn’t he basically begging ESPN to hire him in some capacity? I thought I read that somewhere. He wants to talk about Jeter’s WAR? Let’s talk about Keith Olbermann’s network personality WAR.

    2. “Wasn’t he basically begging ESPN to hire him in some capacity? I thought I read that somewhere.”

      I think so. He actually used to host SportsCenter with Dan Patrick back in the 1990s. No one wanted him after being canned by both MSNBC and Current; I can’t blame anyone for not wanting him. The dude is a jerk and a conspiracy loon to boot.

    3. He probably doesn’t make anywhere near what he used to, given that no one particularly wanted him back. That’s saying something since, obviously, he does have broadcasting talent. Regardless, it’s still irrelevant to a conversation about his character.

  2. The Yankees are such a part of Americana, of course people would celebrate a 17 year Yankee captain. Plus, I’m sure there are many like me that come from a multigenerational Yankee fan family. My great/grand/parents saw Ruth, Gehreig, Mantle etc; I didn’t. Jeter was Captain of the last Yankee dynasty, and our link to the great Yankees of the past. I thought that was in poor taste by Olbermann.

    1. That’s the thing — it’s one thing to believe Jeter is overrated. That’s fine. There are plenty of debates to be had. Cool. But to put together a giant seven-minute screed against the man is outright bizarre. It was like Keith Olbermann was getting some sick pleasure out of verbally crapping on the man’s career. Like I said: he has deep-seated psychological problems.

    2. I thought his reasoning was silly anyways. No doubt, Ruth and those guys were great players; but it was in an era where guys pitched until their arms fell off, only white American guys played, and the Yankees were the unchallenged big fish in a small pond. Now there are specialist pitchers, everyone of color and the best from around the world play, and while the Yankees are still powerful- there are other wealthy teams and great scouting departments. It is so difficult to have a dynasty now with free agency and whatnot; and Jeter and the Yankees pulled it off.

      Heck, we’ve gone back and forth about Mattingly, and while I tongue in cheek tease Donny fans, I certainly respect the fact he made the major leagues and had a good career. I respect that last guy on the bench no one heard of; it’s hard work and a load of talent to get that far in baseball.
      Anyways, even if I didn’t like a player, and I was in Olberman’s position; I’d keep it to myself on the guy’s retirement, let the fans say goodbye…..Olberman can verbally crap all he wants, Jeter will be a first ballot hall of famer.

    1. I’ve seen plenty of sports journalists with inflated egos, but Keith Olbermann is a special breed of narcissist. One of his few talents is finding creative ways to be say mean things about people.

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