Chad Finn wonders if Derek Jeter is failing in his role as team leader:
And yet . . . well, it's just the more we see, the more we wonder if his legendary leadership is entirely by example, with a healthy dose of media-scripted myth mixed in. At some point, doesn't all the talk about the "businesslike" clubhouse and the 25 players, 25 private planes mentality leave a pock mark on his not-quite-unblemished reputation? Rather than unifying this team, in tough times he always seems to go out of his way to make the point that this is a "different group" than the four-time champs, almost as if he's disingenuously distancing himself from the problems. This past week, Jorge Posada, the proud owner of a fistful of World Series rings himself, tried taking a more verbal approach, calling out the team for going through the motions after another blase loss. It was a noble attempt to give the club a spark, but it didn't have the cachet or effect it would have it Jeter had done it. Yet Jeter still shows little outward leadership beyond strategically standing at the top step of the dugout and offering his trademark fist-pump when things are looking up. The Yankees, as Posada seemed to realize, need something more than that right now.
I think Chad Finn wrote and still writes (?) a very good Red Sox blog, which makes this entry unfortunate because despite the niceties at the beginning about how great a player Derek Jeter is, this column is little more than a thinly veilled character assassination piece. It is not convincing and it barely hides the biases of its author. I will not be diplomatic. Mr. Finn, apologize at once! Derek Jeter is a great man! He is a great leader of men. How dare you call into question this?
Seriously, I don't care.
But. Come on. Seriously? Who knows if he leads in a bad or good way? Did anyone wonder aloud if Jason Varitek was doing his job of leading when the Sox limped to third place last season? Where were the articles about Varitek failing to call out his fellow underperforming teammates?
Baseball fans love to be sports psychologists. It's fun to speculate about the personalities of different players and how it affects them on the field. But would Derek Jeter turning into Bobby Knight really help this team?
I say this is a poorly executed attack at the Myth of Derek Jeter. Long live the Myth!