OK, fine, I'll be the bad guy again.
Derek Jeter was named Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year yesterday, and good for him. Jeter had a great year, he's captain of the World Series champ, etc. But SI editor Terry McDonell just had to go the extra step.
One of the problems I've had with sports media recently is that it's not good enough anymore to praise somebody, now people feel the need to one-up each other with absurd statements and honors. It's not enough to give Jeter the award because of his squeaky clean off-the-field record, his improved defensive play, his dynamite offensive year and because he's a surefire first ballot Hall-of-Famer. Here's a quote from McDonell.
"This verifies my idea that he is on the level of Ruth and Gehrig."
Um, nope. First of all, Gehrig isn't even on the same level as Ruth. The Yankees were not the Yankees before Ruth, and baseball wasn't baseball the way we know it before he began clouting. Ruth started all the Yankee winning and tradition, he was the first real slugger and he pretty much defined the term 'larger than life.' Here are the American athletes on the same level as Ruth in the last 100 years. Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Muhammad Ali, Jackie Robinson. That's it.
McDonell also called Jeter the greatest shortstop of all-time. This isn't as ridiculous a statement, but one could also argue that he's not even the best shortstop on his team. ARod played eight full years at short, and let's be honest, his career dwarfs Jeter's.
Let me be clear. I have NO PROBLEM with Jeter winning this award. No one else had a great enough year for me to debate it. But why can't giving him the award for all his good attributes and great accomplishments be enough?