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Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Derek Jeter: a liar or a thief?People here have suspected that I take a perverse, masochistic pleasure in baiting Yankee and Red Sox fanboys over at NBC.
Well, you're absolutely, 100% right about that.
Someone give me a heads up when the intervention is going to be held. It's a busy week for me.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 8:56am
Jack Marshall said...
Mode, I’m curious: why is it you think “thief” isn’t an appropriate term? The object taken has value, probably a lot of value. He did not have permission to take it, unless you assume (and by your Mauer example, maybe you do) that contract employees of baseball teams have presumed consent from their teams to lift any part of the team’s physical plant for yuks, to put up on Ebay, to give to a mistress, or to hang in his Cave of Treasures. “Thief” is the correct word for an employee of a bank who takes an office chair home, and even office supplies appropriated without permission make one a thief at some point between a paper clip and a Rolodex. Exactly what part of the “thief” concept would Jeter be missing, unless you subscribe to the “if you’re a big enough shot that you know nobody will have the guts to object when you rob them, then it ain’t thievery” theory?
Posted 09/30 at 06:01 PM
Jack Marshall said...
Mode…a quick follow-up: while you are at it, I’d also love to know which of the responses you consider “well-articulated arguments.” I just plowed through that mess. “He’s a great guy, and can take it if he wants,” “Maybe the Yankees said he could,” “It’s nothing compared to what other people steal,” “It doesn’t matter” “The principles of conversion don’t apply to great shortstops,” “He deserves it”—-the BEST of these are called rationalizations, not arguments, and they are all invalid, every single one. (A lot of them, interestingly, are identical to the “arguments” being made online elsewhere about how it’s unfair to arrest poor old Roman Polanski for drugging a 13-year old and then raping her. He’s such a great director, after all. And after all this time, what difference does it make, really? And if the Yankees—-oops, I mean the girl—says it’s OK now, it isn’t still rape, right?)
Posted 09/30 at 06:19 PM
Jack, in your world there are blacks and whites. In my world there are grays.
You are entitled to your say a thief is a thief no matter what. This is what I see.
White = People who steal lives
In your world all but the pure black would get the monicker “thief,” and literally you would be right. In my world, I just wouldn’t use the word thief because I think its connotation is too strong for the actual deed that transpired.
That’s my opinion. Please feel free to continue to patronize me on the definition of thief.
The real question is, where does it fall on your list of baseball transgressions? I think it won’t be in the final tally. I’ll be watching.
Posted 09/30 at 06:37 PM
Golly Jack, patronize much? Did any of my comments make you believe that you can lump me in with the moron commentors.
There were a few good comments. I have to go coach my kids soccer practice right now. So your response will have to wait until tonight or tomorrow.
Can’t wait, can you!!!???!!!
Here’s some fodder for your next comment. I live in Santa Cruz County, CA and I voted for Bush. OOOOOHHHHH, On a silver platter for you.
Posted 09/30 at 06:41 PM
Jack Marshall said...
Mode: So your answers are 1)“I don’t believe stealing makes you a thief” and 2) “How dare you?”
I have no idea why you think where you live and who you voted for years ago has any relevance here at all.
Posted 09/30 at 06:58 PM
Mode, your argument may make more sense if you acknowledged that what Jeter did was theft, yet harmless. I think that’s the argument you’re making. But Jeter is still a thief under that definition, which you seem reluctant to admit.
Don’t worry—when it comes out that Jeter was Bernie Madoff’s partner in crime and helping Iran hide its nuclear weapons program, all of this will be forgotten.
Posted 09/30 at 11:45 PM
I think this may get lost in the night and under the new news of tomorrow, and maybe that’s for the best.
Mr. Marshall, here are 2 comments from the NBC side that made sense and could have used a response: Fred @ 1:51 and Jim @ 2:44. Oh, and mine from this site (maybe). None of them were the ones you mentioned. And really, they’re not about the thief part, as I didn’t even go into that until my third comment.
I will also apologize about the tone of my last comment as I got a little frustrated. For whatever reason, I often read your comments as if from someone who is angry, which is wrong of course. You actually may always be smiling while you type. But I felt I was being attacked, not your fault.
Maybe RP is right, I should agree that the incident can be called a theft, but harmless.
I am a poor debater and I probably tried to defend my words without success.
What I’ll do instead is just say that I admire Derek Jeter for what he’s done and what he seems, to me, to stand for (albiet, through pin-stripe emblazened glasses). I also think labeling him a thief or a liar under these circumstances feels, to me, like an attempt at muddying his reputation without due cause.
I will end with another poor argument, that I tried to use before. After the last game in the Metrodome, will someone be labeling all the Twins that leave with a memento, thieves?
Posted 10/01 at 01:04 AM
I love it when Craig stirs the pot. It makes for good reading on a slow morning.
I was at the game on Tuesday in seats provided by a client—right behind home, one row up from the “legends” seats. I’m no Yankee fan (go Braves!) but thought parts of the ceremony were fun. It was great seeing old Yanks like David Cone, Tino Martinez, Bernie Williams, Tim Raines, Stick Michael, Dave Winfield (the only one not in a Yankee jacket), and Reggie Jackson come out to present little tidbits—the seats Jeter dove into in that Red Sox game, the bullpen bench, etc.—to Mariano and the Dreamy One. It was even better listening to the ovation Yogi Berra got when he came out. (Which leads to the question: who has bigger ears, Yogi or Posada?)
By the way, lumping Melky Cabrera hitting for the cycle into the celebration was odd and rather forced. One guy sets the franchise record in hits, another becomes the second to have 500 saves, and the third ... legged out a triple when Jermaine Dye misread a fly ball and jogged to the warning track.
The sign theft? Great subject for a blog post if only to bring out the best in the supporters from the Bronx.
Posted 10/01 at 07:17 AM
Bob Rittner said...
I am surprised that I agree with someone who voted for Bush, but in this case I do.
Words like thief and liar have connotations beyond their definitions. A person who once steals a paper clip from his office has certainly committed a theft, but that does not mean he is a thief. You certainly would not label him with the same word as you would a habitual criminal.
And if a person says “I had a good time at your party last night” when he really did not, he has certainly lied, but I don’t think it proper to label him a liar.
If the headline read “Did Jeter Steal or Lie?”, it would have been fair. But as it is, it is hyperbolic to the point of being a misrepresentation. (And by the way, when I read the article, I laughed because it seemed to me amusing rather than serious.)
Of course many of the responses are weirdly extreme, but there is an underlying issue that is a bit more serious, and that is the labeling of people or smearing of reputations by referring to a few instances as if they are definitions of the person’s character. For example, in the Tampa Bay area, Upton is often called lazy because of a few incidents last year. He did not hustle in those cases, but that does not mean he is lazy. (In fact, he is probably among the hardest working players on the team.) And similarly, Jeter is not a thief or liar because of a case when he apparently stole or lied.
Posted 10/01 at 08:58 AM
I almost feel obligated to stir the pot and asking Bob what was wrong with voting for Bush, when the alternative was Kerry and John “It’s Not Mine” Edwards… I think South Park correctly analogized the choices in that elections to one between a douche and a turd.
Posted 10/01 at 09:23 AM
Jack Marshall said...
Mode: I too will apologize for using your comments as a springboard to make a point, and for sounding snotty in the process. I admire Jeter in every respect, including his character. Yeah, he has a smug presence that drives me nuts, but only because I root against his team. I don’t think his theft (and it was one, though I’m certain he didn’t see it that way) is “harmless”—if you or I did exactly the same thing, with exactly as much right to do it (none) as he had, we would be prosecuted. What he took had value (some Yankee collector would have paid many thousands for it on Ebay, I bet.) Jeter was acting on a perception of privilege—obviously the team would never go after him—-and such an attitude is almost inevitable for any human being in Jeter’s position. But it is dangerous, to Jeter, because he can begin to think the rules don’t apply to him. And most of the comments to Craig’s post would push him there: their main argument was that the theft didn’t matter because it was Jeter, and Jeter is great. Let’s ask Bill Clinton where this gets you.
Posted 10/01 at 10:55 AM