It isn’t often that the Daily News gets something like this right, but the cover story “Bronx Jeers! Jealous Nit-Wits Rip Yankees Stars in Player Poll” has it down.
In the current issue of Sports Illustrated, three Yankees are the answer to the question “Who is the most overrated player in baseball?” The anonymous poll took in 185 major league players. A-Rod got 18 percent, Joba Chamberlain 12 percent, and Derek Jeter 7 percent. Joba’s response, I think, was the best: “I’m disappointed that I’m not number one.”
Chamberlain added, “My bills are still paid and I still have a job.” And “I could care less as long as I’m still getting outs and doing the things I should do.” Actually, Joba has been doing okay lately. In 26 innings pitched, he has given up 19 hits, struck out 22, and walked just six. Who, exactly, is overrating him?
For that matter, who’s been doing the overrating of A-Rod and Jeter that these players are supposedly responding to? Or do they simply mean that all three are “overhyped” simply by virtue of playing in New York? Alex Rodriguez has won two MVP awards since coming to the Yankees — how is he “overrated”? By what standard? Jeter hit .270 last year and is hitting only .264 as we go to press. What that means is that he’s getting old (37 in June) and he can’t do the job he once did. Stated simply, from last season so far through this one, he hasn’t been very good. But how does that mean that he’s “overrated”?
What it means, I’m afraid, is exactly what the Daily News cover says it does: Some of the people voting in this poll are jealous nit-wits. It means that even though Jeter has compiled a .313 career BA, has scored at least 100 runs in 13 of 15 full seasons, is approaching 3,000 hits, and has five World Series rings, he is, in the estimation of some of his peers, getting too many lucrative endorsements.
Oh, and how many players felt that way? Thirteen, not one of whom has had the guts to go public, think Jeter is overrated. Doesn’t SI think that maybe this is a little thin?
And if they wanted a realistic poll, why not exclude Yankees from the poll and see what the numbers were like then? I like Jeter’s response to this: “I’ve got no comment on anonymous polls.” I also like A-Rod’s response on being asked if he was one of the players who participated in the poll: “I have too much respect for anyone who wears a major league uniform.” I recently took my own anonymous poll among baseball writers, and 100 percent thought that SI‘s is the most overrated poll in sports polling.