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A nation mourns Derek Jeter’s tragic, heroic calf strain

Jun 14, 2011, 8:25 AM EDT

Mourning angel

There are, like, two dozen injury stories a week. Seriously, go back through the HBT archives and you’ll see that a huge percentage of our minor posts are this guy straining that muscle and this or that body part being sore.  It’s easily the most rote kind of post we or anyone else who writes about baseball does because it’s just matter-of-fact news, rarely with any serious potential to impact the general narrative.

But when it’s Derek Jeter, boy howdy, are things different. At least to Ian O’Connor of ESPN New York, who writes about Jeter’s Grade 1 calf strain like it was the bullet that took out the Archduke Ferdinand.

After an opening paragraph that cited an unwritten pact of honor Jeter has with Yankees fans and a second paragraph with the now de riguer Joe DiMaggio comparison, O’Connor cites all of Jeter’s past glories, in which he selflessly put himself before his team, with the ultimate price being paid by his body finally — tragically — breaking down.  Get your hankies out folks:

… if Jeter were available to comment after his MRI he surely would’ve said he would return to the lineup the only way he knows how—ASAP. No captain who busted up his cover-boy face on a teeth-first dive into the stands against Boston in 2004 and then played against the Mets the following night would ever allow a silly little calf strain to keep him down for long … It was something that reminded all witnesses of Jeter’s extensive wear and tear, and of a noble willingness to play hurt that reminded Monahan of certified ruffians the likes of Thurman Munson.

Grade 1 calf strain, dude. Really.

I know O’Connor just wrote a book about Jeter and likely still has stars in his eyes and everything, but save the purple prose for Jeter taking a gunshot wound or dying young of typhus or something.

  1. yankeesfanlen - Jun 14, 2011 at 8:29 AM

    If you buy O’Connor’s book maybe poor Derek will feel a little better, somehow. (Best Jerry Lewis voice) “Do it for the kids, they need your help!”

  2. proudlycanadian - Jun 14, 2011 at 8:32 AM

    You jest Craig! Don’t you realize that this is a greater tragedy than Hamlet?

    • Old Gator - Jun 14, 2011 at 11:02 AM

      Another no-story Jeter story. Beep-Beep is becoming the Kim Kardashian of designatedhitterball.

  3. cur68 - Jun 14, 2011 at 8:53 AM

    I was watching Jeter bat when it happened. It was a nothing play. He blooped one, he dropped the bat, he took off and was immediately lame. Hrpling all the way he manfully tried to make his base and was thrown out. And the Yankee defense got immediately better over at short subsequently thereupon.

    Earlier, in the first, as he tagged up watching that lazy fly ball to deep center, he seemed pretty spry. Granted he only ran about 6 steps then scampered back as he attempted to be a gent and not put the Indians in a hole down 1 early but there was no sign of any issue with his legs beyond not actually using them to score an easy run at a jogging pace.

    Pity Jeet’s war wounds kept AJ Burnett from at least a No Decision.

    • mercyflush - Jun 14, 2011 at 9:21 AM

      “And the Yankee defense got immediately better over at short subsequently thereupon.”

      LOL nicely done.

      • cur68 - Jun 14, 2011 at 9:40 AM

        Thank you. I’ll be here all day; its raining again (on my day off, too! There aughtabealaw!) and can’t mow the lawn, trim the hedges, or keep an eye on the newly wed young couple who moved in across the street. Soooo bored…and now no Jeets reaching 3000 hits to look forward to, sniff…

  4. hep3 - Jun 14, 2011 at 9:04 AM

    I just get misty thinking about Cap’n Jetes not getting his big hit in the big apple.

    Brother, the things that get pumped up in the news these days.

  5. kopy - Jun 14, 2011 at 9:08 AM

    Great. It was my birthday yesterday, so now all my co-workers think I’m vomiting because I’m hung over and not because I read that excerpt about the late Derek Jeter.

  6. nps6724 - Jun 14, 2011 at 9:14 AM

    The title of the article: “Derek Jeter pays price for extra effort”

    Since when did running to first become “extra effort”?

    • dirtyharry1971 - Jun 14, 2011 at 10:06 AM

      the real title should be “Craig had nothing even remotely interesting to say today so he wrote this junk”

      • bobwsc - Jun 14, 2011 at 1:58 PM

        should go for your comment too

    • paperlions - Jun 14, 2011 at 11:38 AM

      Not sure why, but that reminds me of this old story:,6805/

  7. yankeesfanlen - Jun 14, 2011 at 9:23 AM

    A bedside vigil is now being arranged by Mike Lupica.

    • proudlycanadian - Jun 14, 2011 at 9:28 AM

      Good thing that it isn’t his groin. I wouldn’t want Lupica to have to arrange a vigil over Jeter’s groin.

      • cur68 - Jun 14, 2011 at 9:35 AM

        My god, yes. It was bad enough when Petit was clutching his last season. Oh the humanity.

  8. Panda Claus - Jun 14, 2011 at 9:30 AM

    Regretably Jeter has but one sporting life to give. Were it not for that he’d have [cleanly] won those Tour de France races instead of Lance. It was only because of a scheduling conflict that he couldn’t bail out DWade and LeBron just this week. Heck, the secret training he was going through preparing for this year’s Triple Crown is probably how he tweaked “The Calf” in the first place.

    Someone should go check, but I’m pretty sure I saw Derek’s signature on the Declaration of Independence last time I was at the Archives. Which would explain a lot. Dude’s getting up there.

    • sam244 - Jun 14, 2011 at 10:32 AM

      I do not understand the vehemence exhibited towards Derek Jeter. Jeter is a class player and future Hall Of Famer. He is on the cusp of achieving something only a handful of players have done in the history of the game. I have never recalled such harsh criticism of prior players getting to 3,000 hits. Yaz, Ripken, Carew, and Gwynn, who were well past their primes when they obtained 3,000 hits, were never subjected to such ill-motivated criticism that Jeter routinely is. Jeter may not be the stellar player of a few years ago, but I do think he deserves a little more respect.

      • nps6724 - Jun 14, 2011 at 10:37 AM

        It doesn’t really have anything to do with Jeter. It’s more about the insane idol-worshiping of Jeter from the media.

      • cur68 - Jun 14, 2011 at 10:41 AM

        sam; FYI around here you can get the same sentiment across with a succinct “Leave Derek Alone”. You can dress it up with the right number of exclamation points to make your depth of feeling known if you like.

        When the daily anti ARod post goes up you pay attention to Len; he’ll show you how its done.

      • ndirishfan1 - Jun 14, 2011 at 10:48 AM

        It’s hard for me to believe that a guy on the verge of 3,000 hits doesn’t deserve major props from the media. While some may believe the praise is overboard, but the guy has played the game the right way and handled himself the right way his entire career in the largest media market in the world. I imagine that’s a heck of a lot harder than a lot of fans care to believe.

      • nps6724 - Jun 14, 2011 at 10:52 AM

        That’s fine, but said player also gets major props for the size of his most recent bowel movement. How anyone can honestly think the praising of everything Jeter doesn’t go overboard is beyond me.

      • jwbiii - Jun 14, 2011 at 11:29 AM

        Not at all, Sam244. Craig Biggio, the last player to reach 3,000 hits, was generally regarded as a millstone around the neck of the Astros, a team that was only a season removed from winning a pennant.

      • paperlions - Jun 14, 2011 at 11:43 AM

        Craig Biggio’s OPS from his final season: 0.666. Jeter in 2011: 0.649

      • bobwsc - Jun 14, 2011 at 12:51 PM

        I strained my calf roller skating on a field trip in the 8th grade…but I kept on roller skating. I wonder if Ian O’Connor would hold that feat in the same regard.

      • xmatt0926x - Jun 14, 2011 at 1:29 PM

        What nps6724 just said. It’s not anything against an aging, future hall of famer. It’s the absurdity with which the media deals with his slightest ailments. I was watching espn last night and I knew he was injured but wasn’t aware it was just a calf strain at that point. To listen to the baseball tonight crew and their lowered voices and somber faces you would have thought he was killed in a car crash. And then to have it be the lead story for the next 5 hours on any program dealing with sports was just rediculous. And then to act like the yankees would somehow now self-destruct because this guy who is running on fumes and just hanging on would miss 2 weeks was just as bad. As if Girardi wasn’t secretly thanking the lord that he could now throw a lineup out there without being forced to throw the cooked Jeter in there.

  9. aronmantoo - Jun 14, 2011 at 10:56 AM

    I thought old age might creep up on the Yanks, it actually seems like it’s heading towards a gallop

  10. unsatisfiedmind - Jun 14, 2011 at 11:03 AM

    This is a touching tribute to the Captain, but you’re underselling his importance just a bit. It’s not simply a nation that mourns Craig, it’s the entire Yankees Universe™

  11. Justin - Jun 14, 2011 at 11:13 AM

    I’ll never forget where I was the night of Jeter’s calf strain

  12. Elwood Larf - Jun 14, 2011 at 11:54 AM

    Anyone who has ever hurt their calf, ankle or foot playing sports knows that while it isn’t the worst thing that can happen, it is a giant pain in the ass, and while you don’t have to go around in a wheelchair or anything, if you keep running on it all the time it only gets worse and then spreads. Ankle/foot/calf injuries can spread all over the place because to compensate for them, people tend to put weight on another part of the leg, which sends pain and soreness all over the place because the muscle and bone structure of your leg is made to absorb impact and hold weight a certain way. So he’s not being a baby about this, and even if he wanted to play on it, 1)it would be a bad idea and 2) the team would never let him, especially at his age.

    • nps6724 - Jun 14, 2011 at 12:13 PM

      I was playing in a tournament a month ago and I got cramps in both my calves simultaneously. I could barely walk the rest of the day so I imagine a calf strain is even worse.

      But again, it’s not about Jeter. It’s about the media bringing up Joe DiMaggio and Jeter’s “unwritten pact with the public” and every single injury of Jeter’s career…because of a CALF STRAIN.

  13. tuftsb - Jun 14, 2011 at 12:10 PM

    It is a battle between the heart and mind, memories and reality that reporters leverage for tearjerking stories when they are lazy.

    Jeter’s career is worth celebrating – but as for the present, as a leadoff hitter and shortstop he now leaves much to be desired – whether you use your eyes or OBP and UZR.

  14. macjacmccoy - Jun 14, 2011 at 2:41 PM

    Ha I called this injury 2 weeks ago. Everyone was starting to talk about Jeter possibly hitting his 3000 hit at home and I said I bet if it comes to point where he knows its not going to happen before the Yankees go on the road that he will come up with some kind of reason on injury not to play again until the Yankees come back for a home stand.

    And what do you know as soon as it became obvious that he wasnt going to ge to 3000 before he went on the road that he would probably get his 3000th hit in some other stadium he pulled a calf. How convenient. He didnt break anything or tear anything he pulled a calf. The one injury that doctors really cant put a time table on or even see on an mri. You can be out from anywhere from a day to months bc of a calf strain.

    Im sorry I dont buy it. It just works out a little to perfectly in Jeters favor to be a coiendence. Especially bc I knew it was gonna happened before it did. The only way Ill believe that it isnt bs is if he gets his 3,000 hit in any place except Yankee stadium.

    • nps6724 - Jun 14, 2011 at 2:53 PM

      Because if there’s one thing we know about Jeter, it’s he fakes injuries.

      • cur68 - Jun 14, 2011 at 3:05 PM

        nps; lets be a bit open to the idea, whaddya say? There is a certain logic to it and if I recall correctly Pena and Girardi were having a bit of a chuckle about something as Jeets was hrpling off with the trainer in the dugout. It might be true and no offense to Jeets. This might serve several purposes; he’s aging and tired and needs the rest, so pride saved if he gets ‘injured’; the Manager loves it as an idea because, let’s face it, a better short stop now takes over so the defense improves no end behind Burnett; the Sox are killing everyone and the Yankees really need better offense than Jeets has been laying on; and of course he gets to come back home and get # 3000.

        If he really is faking it then it might be one of the best decisions he’s made on the field all season. Of course he also gets to cuddle up with Minka a lot more, too. Bet that was the clincher on this deal.

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