As the jackals of the New York media and fanbase tear into Alex Rodriguez, expect something awful to rise from the ashes of the earth they burn around him. After all the clever nicknames and wildly imaginative chants, after the increasingly hacky tabloid headlines and endless venom of talk radio and internet message boards, expect a sad weight to be inflicted upon the shoulders of the other 29 fanbases.
Fellow baseball fans, prepare yourselves for the Revenge of the Derek Jeter Apologist.
As long as there’s been an Alex Rodriguez, or an Omar Vizquel or Albert Pujols or Johan Santana, every single Yankees fan in existence has pointed to Jeter as the pinnacle of professional ballplaying.
Mention that Alex Rodriguez will probably hit 800 home runs, and you’ll hear about Jeter’s jump throws.
Johan Santana is the most dominant left-handed pitcher in a generation? Yeah, well, Jeter dove into the stands after catching that one ball in fair territory.
Omar Vizquel is arguably the best defensive shortstop of all time? Nuh-uh, Dare-ick F***in’ Jeetah plays for the Yankees, this is Noo Yawk, hey Bobby! Who’s this f***in’ guy over here?
And so on and so forth. And, you know, normally it’s hard to get worked up over their choices local folk heroes. Look at Comiskey: the declining Paul Konerko is untouchable and the embittered Frank Thomas’ anti-fan tirades were rewarded with a 30 foot tall poster of his likeness on the western exterior of the stadium.
To hear a Yankee fan defend Jeter before they landed Rodriguez was mostly understandable, but when the reigning Gold Glove shortstop comes aboard and moves to third, when Jeter gets worse while Rodriguez gets better, while a strangely angry fanbase derides Rodriguez for not single-handedly winning a World Series, as though Jeter put it all upon himself and didn’t get any help from the greatest five-year run of mercenary baseball ever conceived, you have to wonder just why they’re so hard on the guy.
But now, oh now, you can almost hear it echoing down 161st Street. “A-Rod? You mean A-Roid? A-Fraud? A-Cheat? Gimme Dare-ick Jeetah, a good person, clean as the Father, the Son and the kitchen at Saul’s on 81st, best slice in the city.”
If they didn’t hate the best player in the game enough, well, now let their self-loathing carry on into perpetuity and let Alex Rodriguez slink further into the sewer that is New York City. And ask if they’ll trade him for Paul Konerko.