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I received the following text message today: “All time hits…most rings…still an MVP candidate…still think Arod is better?” I know I’ll get drawn and quartered if I dare disparage El Capitan right now by having the audacity to put Arod in the same breath as him. I love Jeter, I think he is quite literally indispensable to this team. But I grow weary of the “best”/”greatest” comparisons that blanket not just every team, player, AND position, but every team, player, and position of all of history!

When people argue about whether juicers should be in the Hall of Fame, they compare records from 2 vastly different eras. Steroids might have impacted one, but how can you say the other era was devoid of any mitigating factors? Similarly, how can we use the stat of most hits as a barometer for the lofty title of “best ever”? Can you even compare the 2?

And “best Yankee ever”? I mean, do you think Jeter is better than Whitey Ford? You’d never make that comparison because they’re different positions, so how is it any different to compare different eras? Same goes for the MVP title. Dustin Pedroia was the most valuable player to the Red Sox? Seriously. If the award was titled “Overall Excellence” or “Best All-Around Camper” then I could buy that.

So when my buddy throws this question out, if I still think Arod is better than Jeter, how do I answer that? Especially in light of “Chasing Gehrig.” But for the record, I will say that I think Gehrig is a lot better than Jeter based on his numbers. Jeter is great. But as Babe Ruth says in the Sandlot, “Heroes get remembered, but legends never die.” And the Iron Horse is without a doubt, an unequivocal legend.

Here’s the preview of tonight:

Everyone I know is going to this game. My coworker just left all decked out in Yankee gear, not before depositing a beast of work to do and send out before end of day. I hate him. I guess I could have gone to this game, but it’s almost like New Year’s Eve to me. I’m too nervous about its billing. But then again, I get nervous about everything.

Jeter really couldn’t ask for a better chance to make history tonight, as the Yanks are 72% favored to win this one over the O’s who I think clinched a non-playoff berth about a month and a half ago. The ONLY thing he has working against him is Joe Girardi’s Kay-like jinx: “I have a pretty good feeling that it’s going to happen pretty quickly.” Which is pretty much on par with saying, ‘What’s the worst that could happen?”

Chris Tillman (1-3, 4.66) is officially the first rookie the Yanks will face that I’m not scared of. Generally I grimace at the sound of a green hurler, but for some reason, I think it’s going to be a free for all. HOWEVER, it IS raining, and tonight may be the night I bite the bullet and actually look up the Yanks’ record in the rain. I know it’s not good.

Andy Pettitte (13-6, 4.10) goes for win number 14, and tries to do so against a team he has a 1.17 ERA against this year in 2 starts. Posada’s back (woohoo!) and also has had a field day with the hapless O’s: 4 HRs, and 6 RBIs in 6 starts against them. Yankees look to increase their streak to 5, and I remember having lunch with Dom Scala a few months ago where he said that the team who streaks the most wins the WS. I hope that’s the case.

Conversely, the O’s go for the 7th loss in 9 games. Despite knocking 12 hits (3 from Markakis. Shocking.), they lost. Because they also stranded 12 baserunners. As a Yankee fan, I really shouldn’t throw stones at teams who strand baserunners.

Here’s some number fun:

  • The Yanks’ magic number is 14.
  • Pettitte goes for win #14.
  • The Yanks go into this game having won 12 of 14.
  • Game number 142
  • #1 spot is tied between #4 and #2.

It’s pretty obvious what’s gonna go down tonight. And I’m not talking about the rain.

Good luck, Jeter! Go Yankees!


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