Best Of

Best baseball-fan argument


Watching Jose Reyes turn a bloop single into a death-defying, speed-limit-violating, inside-the-park home run on a lazy July Sunday afternoon at Shea, the enthralled crowd drowning out the jet engines roaring overhead, it’s easy to conclude that the balance of power has permanently shifted. A new shortstop sheriff in town, etc. Jose is younger, faster, smilier. His team has fared considerably better of late, and with considerably less ennui. His radiant mug now frequently graces the covers of esteemed periodicals. And perhaps most importantly, fantasy-baseball enthusiasts are hopelessly in love. And yet, and yet . . . Derek Jeter. An untouchable media darling in a town where the media is more violent than the cops. A rakish ad pitchman, unimpeachable team leader, and jovial defiler of various nubile young starlets. (Worthwhile download: “Supdoder,” from West Coast rappers and apparent admirers Souls of Mischief, in which Jeter is reconceived as a mildly racy verb.) Oh, and stolen bases excepted, he’s stomped all over Reyes in any other offensive stat you’d care to name lately, and with the sort of gaudy defensive showmanship that can still compel a crowd to drown out a jet engine now and then. Regardless, they’re both among the greats, certainly now and quite possibly of all time. (Jeter’s already there, really—let’s see Reyes keep this up for a solid decade.) But as casual fans, the ultraviolent media, and Alex Rodriguez well know, these sorts of debates are only settled in the postseason; recent debacles aside, even Reyes adorers have to admit that’s where Jeter’s been far smilier.