The New York Times, like all papers, is suffering from serious business woes these days. Apparently one of their responses to that problem is to ape the sports coverage of the brain dead tabloids. Just look at Harvey Araton’s piece from Saturday. First he joins in with the notion that the Yankees may be better off without their inner-circle Hall of Fame third baseman, as if it were moxy and pep as opposed to supremely talented ballplayers which won four World Series titles in five years:
For the Yankees, a vacation from A-Rod may be just what the proverbial doctor ordered. If only temporarily, the face of the team will again belong to Derek Jeter, not Rodriguez, whom we have come to recognize in a variety of poses as the deer caught in the limelight.
Maybe the Yankees will hold their own with improved pitching, for which there was no shortage of off-season expenditure, and the brand of baseball that won them four World Series during a five-year stretch almost a decade ago . . . That Seattle and Texas improved immediately after he left is hardly empirical evidence. But after all that has happened since the turn of the year, something tells me the Yankees won’t crumble while A-Rod is recovering for six to nine weeks. Given a break from all things A-Rod and good pitching, they may even thrive.
The Yankees begin their schedule this season with six games against Baltimore and Kansas City, two teams they should have no trouble with even without Rodriguez. You think things are bad now? Wait until they start 5-1 and see how much hate is shoveled on Rodriguez. Not that he won’t somehow be blamed if they start 1-5.
But the real purpose of this column is so that, as writers for the Post, Newsday, and Daily News so often do, Araton can get down on his knees and worship at the altar of Jeter:
Many people would argue the public genius of Jeter is really just a strict policy of avoiding incendiary issues. Some members of the news media have extrapolated on that to call him boring. But boring is in the eye or ear of the beholder. To me, Jeter is not boring. When it comes to quotations, he just isn’t obsequious, or self-destructively dense.
His aura says: if keeping the back-page headline writers on 24-hour alert is the shallow measure of one’s commercial appeal, we can elect someone else most popular in class.
Ignoring, of course, that the majority of the A-Rod “scandals” have been blown out of proportion by the media itself, and that, if it were so inclined, the media could similarly sensationalize Jeter’s personal foibles too. They won’t, however, because the narrative of “Jeter: Hero, Rodriguez: Fool” was set in stone years ago, and no one really feels like challenging it.
The New York Times recently let Bill Kristol go because he was prone to the lazy regurgitation of easy opinion. Apparently that’s just fine on the sports pages.
(thanks to Ethan Stock for the heads up)