When I wrote this, it was 5-2 Yankees with one out in the top of the 9th:
In Bizarre Baseball Culture, I take a look at some of the more unusual places where baseball has reared it’s head in pop culture and fiction.
Wolverine of the X-Men has a habit of appearing in comics he technically isn’t supposed to be in, simply because he’s popular. Well, Cal Ripken is the Wolverine of Baseball Comic Books. He’s joined forces with Batman, led the Shortstop Squad, and been the subject of a bio-comic. Also, like Wolverine, Cal Ripken seemed to be able to recover from any injury, no matter how severe. But, it’s the first similarity that I’m focusing on, because, in the comic I will be looking at today, Cal Ripken appears in a story about the 2001 New York Yankees being Superheroes.
Let that sink in. The New York Yankees, in a comic that they themselves ordered and gave away, still had Cal Ripken in their comic and had him on the cover too.
Entitled “Championship Challenge” and given out September 28, 2001, it stars, as you can see, four of the greatest stars the Yankees had that season. Mariano Rivera! Tino Martinez! Jorge Posada! And, of course, the Once and Future Captain, Derek Jeter himself. But, of course, we also see Cal RIpken on the cover, letting everybody know that the Iron Man will be there! With such Ultimate Sports Force stalwarts as Rick Licht writing and Brian Kong doing the art, this was partially made as part of the Ripken farewell celebration, and it becomes even more obvious when you realize that originally Ripken’s final series would have been at Yankee Stadium if not for the schedule reshuffling that MLB did after the 9/11 attacks.
Anyway, go below the jump to read about the story:
Derek Jeter is retiring, in case you haven’t heard 2222222222 times already. So, to honor the Yankee Captain and perhaps get some extra hits, here is my best Derek Jeter content:
- Shortstop Squad, in which Derek Jeter joins forces with Cal Ripken, Barry Larkin, and Alex Rodriguez to fight a giant monster.
- A look at an early Jeter scouting report
- The time Mark Wahlberg shot Derek Jeter (don’t worry, it was for a movie)
- And, over at Hall of Very Good, my wake for the Captain of the Yankees.
But, that isn’t it! Because later this week, I bring you a Bizarre Baseball Culture that features Jeter! Get psyched!
1. That was an enjoyable All-Star Game. Not all of them are. Some of them are slogs that you just want to end so that people can stop complaining about it and where it’s obvious at least some of the players who have left the game have also left the stadium to get a flight back to their hometown or their usual team. But this year, it seemed like everybody was actually enjoying themselves.
2. Okay, there were a few blots. The whole controversy over Adam Wainwright grooving a ball for Derek Jeter, for example, which could all be avoided if the whole home-field advantage thing was dropped (it’s believed Chan-Ho Park did something similar for Ripken in 2001, but there wasn’t home-field at stake then, so nobody cared). And, of course, there was the fact that they went the entire broadcast and not once mentioned Tony Gwynn, apparently having kept all the tributes to him in the pre-game on Fox Sports 1, which nobody was watching. I feel like MLB should have some sort of “In Memoriam” montage in the 4th or 5th inning of every All-Star Game, personally. But that doesn’t happen, so it falls to the announcers to pay tribute, and it’s sad that the passing of a man who was a fixture of the All-Star Game for years didn’t get even a mention.
3. As for the game’s theme? Well, it seems like La Opinion in Los Angeles summed it up:
Derek Jeter is leaving. It’s going to be Mike Trout’s league. He deserved the MVP last night, much like he deserved the last two AL MVPs that he didn’t get and will probably deserve the AL MVP he’ll get this year barring injury or some other unforeseen circumstance. He’s going to be the Face of Baseball, the most common ballplayer in commercials (such as the ones for Subway and Major League Baseball itself that he is in now), the ballplayer even people who never watch baseball will be able to name. It was going to happen anyway (especially if Bryce Harper doesn’t pick up the slack) but last night confirmed it.
4. It was nice that Glen Perkins and Kurt Suzuki, the two Minnesota Twins in the game, got to have a spotlight in the 9th as Perkins came in to close in front of his home (and hometown) fans. Sort of surprised that they didn’t bring in Suzuki as a pinch-hitter in the 8th to give the home fans an at-bat by a Twin, though.
5. All five runs by the AL came off Cardinals pitching, so if the Cardinals make it to the World Series and lose in 7, they have nobody to blame but themselves.
By way of Reddit and Twitter, here’s how the Colorado Rockies scouted Derek Jeter of Kalamazoo, Michigan back in 1992:
Let’s see here… this Rockies scout figured he had below-average hitting potential, but good speed, fielding, arm strength and especially “make-up” (INTANGIBLES!) . He noted that Jeter physically resembled Gary Green, then in the Reds organization, and declared that, despite his flaws, he was athletic enough to adapt and improve. He finished by noting that Jeter was a future All-Star and would almost certainly sign out of High School (although he had signed with the University of Michigan as a “security blanket).
Of course, Jeter was gone long before the Rockies’ first pick that year (they had the 27th pick, a result of being a expansion team that was not to start playing until 1993). Still, an interesting look at the early days of one of the game’s great players.
(EDITED IN ON DEC. 31: As of this writing, the most recent projection for the United States can be found here.)
AGAIN, THIS IS AN OLD PROJECTION, GO TO THE ABOVE LINK FOR THE MOST RECENT!
With Derek Jeter’s injury last night, I already have to make a modification to yesterday’s projected roster. This roster is exactly the same as yesterdays, with the only difference being Jimmy Rollins replacing Derek Jeter (and changes to the lineup as a result).
A refresher on my selection rules/assumptions:
- Any player coming off a major injury or who has a history of injuries is unlikely to participate. This is especially true for the pitchers.
- Players that will be on new teams are less likely to participate, but shouldn’t be completely ignored, with the exception of pitchers.
- Teams are made up of 28 players, of which 13 of them must be pitchers and two of them catchers.
- The pitch count rules make relievers extremely important.
So after much research and thought, go after the jump for my latest projections for Team USA.
From the 2010 comedy The Other Guys: