Thursday, September 25, 2014

Keith Olbermann's anti-Jeter rant, and why you should feel sorry for Keith

Keith Olbermann once again has dipped into the barrel marked "desperation" in his search to be considered "relevant."

His latest rant is a dismantling of Derek Jeter, ranting for close to 7 minutes and mocking Jeter for the sin of ... get ready for this ... not being as good as Babe Ruth.

Yep, Keith rants -- with a passion rarely seen since Miss Precious Perfect was not allowed into his Manhattan apartment building -- that Jeter is "not the best baseball player ever" and thus undeserving of a farewell tour and the adulation heaped upon him.

To prove this point, Olbermann rolls out the statistics including fWAR, OPS+ and, yes, he even references Red Ruffing's FiP (fielding-independent pitching) numbers in his Jeter takedown. (That last point is not a joke. He honest-to-God mentioned Red Ruffing's FiP).

To Keith, I'd like to make a few points.

1. Your basic premise is that Jeter is not the best player, SS or Yankee ever. Congratulations, you win on that.

But really, Keith, what actual fan over the age of 12 thinks any of those things?

Oh, wait, you found one. You showed a clip of Jorge Posada answering the question about where Jeter ranks among all-time Yankees. "Well, for me, he's No. 1," and then mocked the answer and treated it as if every Yankee fan feels Jeter is the greatest of all time -- and conveniently ignored the fact that Posada was his teammate and was asked the question on Derek Jeter Day, for God's sake. Oh, and you conveniently left out the rest of Posada's answer, which is "Because I got to play with him, and I got to see how much the game of baseball meant to him." That kind of adds a bit of context, don't you think? Oh, wait, what's that? Context? Yes, that's a real word, Keith. You should look it up sometime.

And yes, most fans think that the Houston Astros giving gifts to Jeter is silly, too, but that's an MLB marketing thing, so we pretty much just ignore it (kind of like we ignore you most of the time). 

2.  The stats you drag out. Dear God, stop with all the cherry-picked numbers already. When you got to the statement that Mike Mussina ranks higher on the list of all-time Yankees than Jeter, you lost everyone with a functioning brain.

Oh, and that condescending tangent about Red Ruffing, rolling out the FiP and other stats to show how he ranks above Jeter on the all time Yankee list? You ended it with a flourish, didn't you, pointing out that from 1932 to 1942, Ruff "started 10 games in the World Series and the Yankees won 7 of them!" Wow, very impressive. Although you neglected to mention that during that span, the Yankees' record in World Series games NOT started by Red Ruffing was 21-2. There's that pesky "context" thing again.

Stats say what you want them to. Yes, Keith, I know you're a member of SABR. Congratulations. Still, leave the statistical analysis to someone who knows what those numbers actually mean, like Rob Neyer or Jayson Stark.

 3. This is the most important thing, and why I'm not angry about your tirade, but actually feel sorry for you.

You just don't get it about Jeter, do you? You used to be a season ticket holder for the Yanks (maybe you still are), but let me give you some advice -- while you are sitting in those $2,500-a-pop seats with maid service, get your nose out of the damn scorebook and actually pay attention to what's going on around you. Those standing ovations Jeter gets aren't because he's pulled even with Tony Gwynn on the all-time doubles list, or that every single raises his OPS+ rank in Baseball Reference. It's because they genuinely like the guy.

Somewhere along the line, Keith, I think you started liking numbers more than the game. Got a thrill by thinking you know more than the fans around you because you know all about those advanced metrics. Guess what, Keith? Advanced stats are great as long as you don't let them suck the joy out of the actual game, which is what I think has happened to you.

Look, Keith, you know who else got a lot of standing ovations when he was finishing up his Yankee career? Bobby Murcer. I know you don't understand that, Keith, because Murcer's fWAR, OPS+, DRS and EQA were pretty bad his last few seasons. Guess what? They appreciated him anyway. He connected with fans. You can't explain it, it just happened.

Here's the deal. Jeter was the face of the Yankees' last dynasty. He made memorable plays and got hits that we will always remember.

And more than that, there was always the sense that he did it the right way. Said the right things. Played the game the way it should be played. Showed emotion on the field without showing up the other team. Gave his all. Truly cared about baseball, the fans and Yankee tradition. Never -- that's right, never -- got tossed from a game. Still uses terms like "sir" and "Mr." to refer to people. People who have played with him and against him have good things to say about him across the board. 

Jeter has been a very rare thing these days. Someone that you never had to be embarrassed to say you were a fan of.

And if you don't get that, Keith, well ... too bad for you.


KD said...

this is a petty, mean-spirited man who truly believes his shit don't stink. I've always considered him a front-runner when musing about the identity of Anonymouse. If not one in the same, they are kindred spirits.

ceeja said...

The Jeter farewell tour does irritate me. But it's clear that the Yankees marketing people love this and Jeter is being a good employee by going along with it. I think if he had to do it again, he would have kept his retirement announcement to himself.

It's quite predictable, though, that someone in the press would fell duty-bound to make a story by taking shots at Jeter. You can't do it fairly, so people like Olberman just end up looking ridiculous.

Is there any question that Jeter is the best shortstop in the history of the franchise and is a lock for the Hall of Fame? No. So why not celebrate him?

Mustang said...

Great work, Bern. Olbermann really made himself seem small with this. (But his Goodell rants are primo.)

Parson Tom said...

Gotta agree with Mustang on this. Olbermann was silly and stupid on how many hoops he jumped through to keep Jeter out of the Yankees' all-time top 10, and maybe he does struggle to remain relevant. But he's a bit of an acquired taste, and when he gets it right, he does a good job tearing idiots to shreds. I think he struggled with the Jeter thing -- as duque pointed out it's been more than a little tedious -- and got mad at Jeter instead of the barkers who obviously planned all this out before the season started -- except that part where he ends his career in freaking Fenway.

KD said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
KD said...

Jeter tonight demonstrated a greatness that extends beyond mere numbers, showing an angry little olbermann to be quite the grotesque fool. Thank you, Captain, for your unending services to sanity and decency.

Blind Robin said...

KD your comment about a link between Olbermann and Anonymous had also occurred to me. That narcissistic tryst would not surprise.

BernBabyBern said...

You know, I used to like Olbermann when he teamed up with Dan Patrick on SportsCenter. But I've grown to dislike him more and more over the years. He just comes across as a genuinely unlikable guy.

Here's the riddle of the day:

What do you call a dick who you agree with on a lot of issues?

A dick.