Keith Olbermann, aging smear merchant, attacks class act Yankee because he’s the anti-Jeter

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.

Andrew McCutchen: Pittsburgh star teaches the nation about success, loyalty and family

Andrew McCutchen E60

When I was a kid I always wondered who liked the Pittsburgh Pirates, besides my dad. True, I grew up in Chicago, but even there you could find people who would say, “You know, I always kind of liked…” followed by a random team. Not so with the Pirates. They seemed to exist to frustrate whatever poor soul put his faith in them. Today, with Andrew McCutchen on the team, it’s a different story. He’s not only a National League All-Star, but he seems to be a really good person who can teach us something about hard work, loyalty and family values.

For those not familiar with McCutchen, he grew up in a Florida trailer park. His parents had him at 17 years old. His dad worked in a phosphate mine and his mom worked at a grocery store. And when those two loving parents did the best they could to raise their son with good values, the seeds for success they planted in his head began to blossom:

“We used to get up 4:00 a.m., 5:00 a.m., hit balls, and he just decided he wanted to do that. He wanted to be great,” (Lorenzo McCutchen).

Lorenzo McCutchen

And great he became. In fact, he’s so good at the sport that the Pirates signed him to a six-year, $51.5 million contract extension last season. But the thing is, the playoff-bound Pirates really couldn’t afford what the market could deliver “Cutch,” and yet he stayed in Pittsburgh. He turned down millions to stay with the team that offered him his first big break.

“This is the team that drafted me. I owe them signing this contract. Why would I waste it on going: ‘Maybe I can get $31 million if I had a good year.’ Then I would be contradicting myself and going: ‘Are you doing it for the money or are you doing it because you love the game?’ I want to do it because I love the game,” (Andrew McCutchen, E:60 interview).

“He feels like he was predestined to be there […] He wants to make a difference in Pittsburgh. I think that it’s important that you play where your heart is, and I think his heart is in Pittsburgh,” (Lorenzo McCutchen)

When I was a kid, I’d watch sports stars leave cities over contract disputes and wonder why anyone would uproot their family over a few million dollars when they’re already financially set for life. I never begrudged them for doing so, but I always told myself that if I was put in a similar situation I’d rather stay in the city I love than to exit on bad terms because of money. Andrew McCutchen is living proof that loyalty while living a good life will be rewarded — Pittsburgh fans love the guy.

Want a sure-fire recipe for success? Look at the McCutchens:

  • Be a good father.
  • Teach your kids that they can decide to be successful — and then instill in them the importance of hard work.
  • Follow your heart.
  • Know that money is nice, but that it doesn’t bring those who possess it true happiness.
  • Be loyal to those who love you and treat you right.
  • Give back to your community.

Did I forget to mention that Andrew McCutchen mentors inner-city youth baseball players and at-risk children? Well, he does. At this point in time, it’s really hard to find many faults with a guy who bats .318, gets his team in the playoffs, and works to leave a positive lasting mark on the city that brought him to the big leagues. Even his response to a question about the World Series is golden: “I never really followed the World Series very much. […] I’d much rather play in it … and make my own memories.”

When you dig deep down and focus on who you are and who you want to be, the distractions of the external world melt away. When you believe in yourself and then put in the hard work, the world becomes less stressful. When you surround yourself with positive people, “impossible” tasks suddenly become possible. These are not just lessons for Pittsburgh Pirates fans — they are lessons for us all — and for imparting those lessons I would like to thank Mr. McCutchen.

Hat Tip: Denver Pat

No excuses: Why the Yankees are the best team in baseball

Joe Girardi

I grew up watching Don Mattingly play first base for the Yankees when he and Dave Winfield were pretty much the only guys worth watching. Day in and day out “Donny Baseball” came to play. There was a laundry list of things he could have complained about, but he never did. And when fate dealt him a bad back that cut short what would have been a Hall of Fame career, he didn’t cry about it. In those years where he went out onto the field and everything hurt, he was a grinder. Don Mattingly was the only Yankee I never saw booed at Yankee Stadium because he was class personified.

It’s good to see that the 2013 Yankee crew continues to use the “no excuses” template. It’s serving them well.

Richard Justice writes for MLB.com:

It has become almost impossible to root against the Yankees. Yes, the New York Yankees.

Lovable underdogs?

Maybe that’s a stretch. Certainly, the Red Sox and Orioles don’t feel that way. On the other hand, even they have to admire how the Yankees have handled their amazing run of injuries.

No team in baseball has been hit harder. Even worse is that there’s no certainty when the Yankees will be whole again.

Curtis Granderson should return next month, but Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira are out indefinitely.

So many players have gone down that losing Ivan Nova and Francisco Cervelli during a victory over the Blue Jays on Friday night doesn’t even seem like a big deal.

Hey, what’s two more? As if the challenge could be any greater. As if anyone is going to extend the Yankees any sympathy anyway.

Through it all — and this is where the admiration part comes into play — the Yankees have never uttered a complaint about their lot in life.

Certainly not Brian Cashman or Joe Girardi — in fact, they’ve been absolutely consistent that expectations remain the same as always.

That is, if the Yankees don’t end up holding the World Series trophy, this season will be a failure.

They’re not just saying it, either. They absolutely believe it. There’s a collective confidence — or ego or whatever you call it — among a group of players who’ve won as much as the Yankees have.

They believe they’re going to win no matter what. Players come and players go, but the group’s core confidence is unshakeable. New Yankees buy in.

Success breeds success. Nothing scares people more than a man who truly believes in himself. The man who does not entertain the thought of failure and who is not bothered by setbacks scares his peers because that’s not how it’s supposed to work. The man who expects success thinks and behaves in ways that are worlds apart from the man who dwells on failure.

When I was a kid I’d sometimes complain that what my dad said or did wasn’t fair and he’d respond, “life isn’t fair.” He’d infuriate me, and then he’d say: “No, you allow yourself to become angry,” (which only upset me more). It wasn’t until I left our home at 18 that I realized he was right, and I was a punk-kid. Dad was a pretty smart guy after all. He was a stealth Joe Torre.

In short, the Yankees have a long history of winning because they believe at their core that they are winners, and that belief builds that kind of momentum it takes to take a specific thought and make it manifest itself in the physical world.

Growing up in Chicago, it was interesting to be a Yankees fan. In the 90’s I was accused of being a band wagon fan, and the whole “the Yankees buy their success” argument was always just moments away. There are countless responses to that, but one that always shut them up was that the Cubs didn’t shell out any cash or do what they needed to do to win because they could put an entire field of losers on the field and Wrigley Field would sell out.

The Cubs have historically expected to lose. People call them “Loveable Losers.” Who wants to be a “loveable loser”? It’s an insult. When the baseball world pats you on the head and tells you to run along home come playoff season because you’re a “lovable loser,” then perhaps it’s time to rethink the clubhouse culture.

So now you’re asking how this all ties into politics. Time for another story.

Yesterday, my wife was studying for some upcoming tests as she closes in on becoming a doctor. She read me the following “diagnosis” and asked: “Who does this remind you of, Doug?”

USMLE STEP 2:

Diagnosis: Grandiosity. Fantasies of success. Manipulation of others. Expectation of admiration. Arrogance. Sense of entitlement. Believes self to be special. Lacks empathy. Envious of others.

Treatment: Psychotherapy, focusing on acceptance of shortcomings.

The “disorder” I have (but really don’t): Narcissistic. My wife then joked that I better not mess with her or she’ll have me committed…

The Yankees come off as “arrogant” because they have “fantasies of success.” I — the conservative — come off as “arrogant” because I have “fantasies of success.” Are there really narcissists out there? Of course. But often times perpetual losers label successful people as “arrogant” or “lacking empathy” because it’s an easy way of ending any honest evaluation of their own shortcomings.

Years ago I stopped following the Yankees because I was so disgusted with how George Steinbrenner treated Joe Torre at the end of his run. However, I always respected his commitment to excellence. With his passing, my interest in the team has slowly returned, but Joe Girardi’s ability to create a positive clubhouse atmosphere  has accelerated the process.

Go Yankees.

Note: This might be one of the few articles DenverPat disagrees with me!

Update: Here’s a little something for all you Cubs fans (strong language).