Derek Jeter Isn't Evil for Skipping All-Star Game

Report cites "exhaustion" as reason why Jeter isn't in Phoenix.

By Josh Alper
|  Tuesday, Jul 12, 2011  |  Updated 9:25 AM EDT
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Derek Jeter Finally Sells NYC Penthouse

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You want a quick lesson in how quickly narratives can change in baseball?

On Saturday, Derek Jeter was the biggest hero in all the land for picking up his 3,000th hit with a home run off David Price en route to going 5-for-5 and driving in the winning run of a game that will played more often on YES than every other program combined.

It's now Tuesday and Jeter has morphed into a horrible, mustache-twirling villain out to ruin America by skipping the All-Star Game.

Jeter's choice landed him on the back page of the News and the accompanying article has comments from a bunch of different people moaning about how awful Jeter is for not going to Phoenix even though he isn't going to play in Tuesday night's game.

Bill Giles, honorary president of the National League, summed up the feelings of those who felt Jeter was being selfish for not coming to tip his cap in front of a bunch of people looking to cheer for him.

"I think it's too bad that Jeter in particular is not here, because of what he accomplished over the weekend. I think it is a bit of a problem and baseball should study it."

Based on previous studies put into motion during Bud Selig's tenure, this one should wrap up in 2018 with a recomendation that baseball look into the situation before taking any action. Or everyone could just get over it and worry about things that are a little easier to fix.

Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports are reporting that "physical and emotional exhaustion" are behind Jeter's decision to skip this year's festivities, a report that will almost certainly lead to mocking retorts that Jeter should get over himself. It's hard to share that point of view without knowing Jeter's state of mind and it is equally hard to begrudge a man begging out of an exhibition game in a career that has never seen him shirk his service as an ambassador for the sport and his team.

If Jeter says he needs rest more than he needs to be in Phoenix, are there really people who feel qualified to argue that he's full of it? Perhaps, but it is a good bet that Bill Giles isn't one of them.

Jeter wasn't going to play in the game so, again, he'd just be coming to draw a standing ovation from fans. That's a nice moment, but is it really worth killing a guy for being okay with not experiencing that moment?

And, just for giggles, let's say Alex Rodriguez, also not in Phoenix, showed up just to get cheered during introductions. Would he be hailed as a great hero of baseball?

It's funny that the criticism of Jeter follows so closely after this weekend's deification, but it is even funnier that it follows plenty of people being outraged that Jeter was voted to play in the game in the first place. A Venn diagram of the two groups would surely find some people in both spots, presumably as they want their cake while eating it.

The funniest of all is that there are actually people concerning themselves with Jeter's absence when there's a real problem with who isn't at this year's All-Star Game. CC Sabathia, James Shields, Cole Hamels, Matt Cain, Felix Hernandez and Justin Verlander are among the best pitchers in baseball and all of them will be absent because of baseball's asinine rule barring pitchers who start on Sunday from pitching in the game.

Hamels, who will throw a bullpen session on Tuesday, slammed the rule and, at the very least, it should be up to invidual players if they want to pitch in the game or not. The absence of all those players cheapens the game and represents something that needs to be examined much, much more than a veteran player opting for a little R&R for the first time in his long career.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.

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