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Reality Check – The Jeter Effect

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The New York Yankees have had plenty to be happy about in recent weeks. Since Jeter's absence they have been on an incredible tear while winning game after game.

When many Yankee fans opened the newspaper or popped on their favorite sports new broadcast, they were flooded with a plethora of good news the past few days.

Phil Hughes is expected to be back in the Yankee rotation in the coming weeks after becoming more consistent on the radar gun in his recent rehab starts. A chaotic start to the season left many wondering if Hughes’ Major League career has hit a nearly impossible roadblock to overcome. Nevertheless, Hughes has topped 93mph with his fastball and has done so with more consistency in each of his starts. Promising news.

Bartolo Colon who has been the Yankees 2nd best (but at times THE best) starting pitcher this year also is having progress with his rehab. Colon was reported to be taking sprints and throwing a lot of bullpen sessions without any setbacks or red flags. Colon could be back in the rotation as well before the All-Star break. Exciting news.

Derek Jeter is moving along in his rehab work. His return to the Yankees is imminent.

Then there is the news that Yankee fans want to get excited about, but the realist in all of them won’t allow them to be anything but nervous. Derek Jeter who has been out of the Yankeed lineup during their recent torrid run of victories has started hitting off a tee and taking plays in the infield. Not so exciting.

The Yankees have found energy, cohesiveness and most of all winning streaks during Jeter’s absence. Nick Swisher has leaped out of his season long torrid slump since being moved in the order. Brett Gardner has excelled at the top of the order. Most of all, the Yankee lineup has a comfortable rhythm that is at times has lacked with Jeter.

Jeter’s chase for 3,000 hits is winding down rapidly, which the Yankees want to celebrate. But the question is, where in the order should and will Jeter hit.

We all know Jeter is in a rapid decline both at the plate and in the field. Although he can still be a threat at the plate many would say that he no longer provides a benefit being slotted at the top of the order.

Both Nick Swisher and Brett Gardner have found nw life with their respective moves in the batting order.

Do the Yanks risk sabotaging consistency and chemistry by catering to the Jeter Ego?

Now it’s no guarantee that Jeter would be a detractor to the Yankees if slotted back in the leadoff spot. He may very well light it up. But do you risk screwing up the great progress of Gardner and Swisher by relying on the hope Jeter can turn back the clock?

Over a month ago Jorge Posada begrudgingly had to accept a drop in the lineup and even an absence in the batting order. He battled and has had a great month since his demotion. If Posada can do this why can’t Jeter?

Is Jeter above batting at the bottom of the order. Jeter’s reputation is of class and of a
“team first” guy. But will he hold true to that if and when Girardi asks Jeter to bat….9th?

As a long time Yankee fan I believe you can’t mess with good flow. That’s exactly what the Yankees possess right now. If Jeter is focused on winning a few more rings before he retires and truly being the best benefit to the Yankees as a whole than I would suggest batting him towards the bottom of the order.

But what do you think?

Do the Yankees owe Jeter the respect of batting him at the top of the order despite his sub-par season? Do you do so at the possible expense of Gardner and Swisher’s progress?

Or do the Yankees owe more to their fans to field the best lineup possible, all in the best possible positions?

Rant about it Yankee fans!

Anthony DiMoro is the creator of Sports Rants and the CEO of Elite Rank Media and DiMoro Enterprises LLC. He is a former Contributor for Forbes and the Huffington Post where he covered sports, social media, and SEO. Anthony hosts the Anthony DiMoro Show podcast, and formerly hosted the 'Forbes SportsMoney Podcast'.

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MLB

Flyers Remove Statue of Kate Smith

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The Philadelphia Flyers have joined the New York Yankees in the removal of ties to singer Kate Smith, whose famous rendition of “God Bless America” was played at both Flyers and Yankees games.

Earlier this week, the Yankees decided to suspend the use of Smith’s rendition, which was played during the seventh-inning stretch, while they investigated allegations of racism against the later singer.

According to a report from the New York Daily News, there are conflicting claims about Smith’s 1939 song “That’s Why Darkies Were Born” which
originated in the 1931 Broadway revue “George White’s Scandals” and was considered satire but includes racist language, including the line;
“Someone had to pick the cotton. … That’s why darkies were born.”

The song was recorded by Smith and Paul Robeson, who was black.

The Flyers put out the following statement on Sunday (h/t ESPN):

“The Flyers have enjoyed a long and popular relationship with ‘God Bless America,’ as performed by the late Kate Smith, a woman who was awarded the Presidential Medal of Honor for her patriotic contributions to our nation.

“But in recent days, we learned that several of the songs Kate Smith performed in the 1930s include lyrics and sentiments that are incompatible with the values of our organization, and evoke painful and unacceptable themes.”

Smith, who was popular during the WWII era, recorded the offensive jingle, “Pickaninny Heaven,” which she directed at “colored children” who should fantasize about an amazing place with “great big watermelons,” among various other treats. 

Smith also endorsed the “Mammy Doll” back in 1939 which was based on a racist caricature of a black woman similar to Aunt Jemima.


“The Yankees have been made aware of a recording that had been previously unknown to us and decided to immediately and carefully review this new information,” a club spokesman said. “The Yankees take social, racial and cultural insensitivities very seriously. And while no final conclusions have been made, we are erring on the side of sensitivity.”

The odds aren’t good that Smith’s songs will return to their prominent places during sporting events such as they were with the Yankees and the Flyers.

There is a lot of cleaning up to do when it comes to racism in sports, and weeding out songs attached to artists with questionable, and controversial, backgrounds such as Smith’s, is important in pushing forward towards the future.

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Chicago Cubs

MLB Investigating Racist Social Media Messages Sent to Cubs’ Carl Edwards Jr.

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Major League Baseball is investigating racial messages sent, via social media, to Chicago Cubs relief pitcher Carl Edwards Jr. prior to his demotion to the Triple-A Iowa Cubs back on April 6th.

According to The Athletic’s Patrick Mooney, the messages have caught the attention of both the Cubs and the MLB Players Association, leading to the launch of the investigation.

Mooney had been a solid bullpen option during the last few seasons, but had a nightmare start to the 2019 season posting a terrible 32.40 ERA in just 1.2 innings of work over four appearances.

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MLB

Carlos Zambrano Attempting Comeback, Signs with Indy Team

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Former MLB pitcher Carlos Zambrano is attempting a comeback and has signed with the American Association’s Chicago Dogs, according to the Chicago Sun-Times’ Gordon Wittenmyer.

Zambrano last pitched in the majors back in 2012 with the Miami Marlins, but earlier in his career he finished in the top five of the Cy Young voting in the National League three times as a member of the Chicago Cubs.

Zambrano started his comeback bid last fall when he took the mound for 7 starts in the Mexican League, pitching to the tune of a 5.18 ERA, and performing even worse during a short stint in the Venezuelan Winter League.

Given his recent lack of production, it is a longshot to believe that Zambrano will return to the MLB level, but stranger things have happened.

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