Imagine my poor blood pressure this morning when I woke up to a headline like THIS today.
Something like what Derek Jeter is alluding to would be disastrous if it actually came to fruition. I’m no Yankee fan by any measure, but I truly respect Jeter and have looked up to him since I was a little kid. And I just can’t imagine him wearing anything besides the pinstripes.
None of that Joe Montana-to-the-Chiefs, desperate-to-keep-playing, end of the career crap from Jeter, please.
Sure, the unthinkable has been done before – Ken Griffey, Jr. moved to Cincinnati from Seattle even though he looked like a super hero in the silver and teal. Heck, we had one happen this past off-season when Albert Pujols jumped ship to Anaheim, despite looking so damn good in Cardinal red.
But the super fan in me would like to keep that kind of olé B.S. to a minimum. I don’t know what it is…the players themselves, the jersey/color combo of the teams they represent, or just the nostalgia of a childhood long-gone (okay, I’m not that old), but I identify Jeter and the rest of this list as players who I could never, ever see in a different jersey:
*Disclaimer: Mariano Rivera and Chipper Jones not included because they are guaranteed to stay a Yankee and Brave, respectively, for the remainder of their Hall of Fame careers*
1. Derek Jeter, New York Yankees
Let’s start with the Captain himself. Jeter has played all 18 seasons as the shortstop of the Yankees, number two plastered on his back. Needless to say, Mr. November will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer and the next great Yankee to have his number retired. There is no more iconic jersey in sports than those of the Yanks, and even imagining Jeter in an Angels, Cubs, Red Sox (god forbid) or any other jersey is painful.
I know he’s only been around a few years, but damn if Posey hasn’t made himself a celebrity in San Francisco at Usain Bolt-esque speed. There is no way the team will let this guy walk away as long as he’s physically able to play the game. It’s really hard to predict this early, but we could be seeing the next great “one-team” lifer in Posey, who should be representing that awful orange and black for another decade and a half.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – if Mariners GM Jack Zdurineck trades Felix, he should not only be fired, but tarred, feathered and forced to watch Jack and Jill on loop. Hernandez is the King of Seattle and it should stay that way forever. I dig the silver and teal uni’s up there in the Pacific Northwest, and Hernandez wears it best. Plus, he wants to stay a Seattle Mariner. I’m sure Brian Cashman has visions, but I just can’t see this guy in Yankee garb.
When I say Rockies, you say Helton! “ROCKIES!” “HELTON!” Thank you. But seriously, Helton is about as synonymous with Colorado baseball as macaroni is with cheese. He’s played all 16 years of his career manning first base at Coors Field, and will most definitely have his number retired there whenever he hangs up the spikes. Todd Helton in anything but purple would be straight criminal.
I know a few Cardinals fans who would actually sob uncontrollably if Yadi ever slips on another team’s jersey. And they should, because it would arguably be more devastating than the loss of Pujols to that devoted fan base. Whereas Pujols was the power and glam of the team, Molina is the heart, soul, lungs and kidney of the franchise. I know NL catchers have a short shelf life, but just trying to picture him as a Dodger or Phillie makes me want to elbow drop a baby penguin.
Last, but certainly not least, we have arguably the best all-around player in the National League. I don’t know what it is with him and that black and gold, but McCutchen just looks so right in a Pirates uniform. Maybe it’s the dreads, or the blindingly white smile, or the elegant physique over which the Pirates’ jersey falls. No matter, McCutchen can never go play for the Indians or Orioles or anyone else. He needs to be in Pittsburgh for life.
Honorable Mentions: Matt Kemp (Dodgers), Mike Trout (Angels), David Price (Rays)
Comment below if you think someone else should be considered for this list! And don’t forget to VOTE in the poll:
– Jeremy Dorn (@Jamblinman)
The guys celebrate “High Socks Monday” this week as the Braves continue to roll behind Chipper Jones’ twitter account. They also get into baseball news from around the league and hit on the mid-season awards. You’ll also be happy to know that we care about your fantasy teams as we provide yet another week of solid fantasy pickups in the ‘Three Up, Three Down’ segment.
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Anyway, in our monumental 10th podcast, we talked briefly about Mariano Rivera and his knee injury. That led us to wonder who we would put on our Mt. Rushmore of the New York Yankees. Picking between Mo, Derek Jeter, Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio, Reggie Jackson (somebody stop me, I could go for days!) was nearly impossible. But we made it happen.
That got me wondering, who is on my division’s Mt. Rushmore right NOW. Not ever, because that would be just as difficult to choose. But right now, can I pick the four most epic, legendary players in my division and make up an NL West Mt. Rushmore? Here goes nothing:
After much deliberation, I’ve come up with four guys who have met certain criteria. You must have proven yourself to be a legitimate Cy Young or MVP candidate. You must give me good reason to believe that it’s not a fluke. And you can’t be 30 games into your career.
So, with all apologies to Buster Posey, Carlos Gonzalez, and other fantastic young players, the following are the Mt. Rushmore of the National League West right now.
1. Matt Kemp, Los Angeles Dodgers
Was there really any doubt? Not only is Kemp the best player in the division, but he’s the best in baseball. Kemp is still relatively young, but this is the fifth straight season he’s put up big numbers, and there is no doubt in my mind that he will add some MVP awards to his mantle soon.
2. Tim Lincecum, San Francisco Giants
I know this year has been a little rough for Timmy, but the absolute dominance he displayed at the beginning of his career can not be overlooked. He won two straight Cy Young awards and may have been snubbed for a third. Lincecum is still young and has time to fix whatever is wrong in 2012 and truly be a legendary pitcher.
3. Todd Helton, Colorado Rockies
Helton is a .322 career hitter, is in his 16th season in a Colorado uniform, plays great defense, and has one of the best plate approaches you’ll ever see. The old man (38 years old) can still rake, and will go down in Rockies lore as the most beloved, most productive hitter in the team’s history when he retires. Though he’s been the ultimate snub (no MVP awards, only five all-star appearances), Helton has a borderline case for Hall of Fame consideration.
4. Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers
This is my riskiest pick, as Kershaw is still a young gun. He did win the pitching Triple Crown last season and the Cy Young, but has he proved enough? The only other legitimate option for the fourth face of the NL West was Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, who despite immense talent, has only reached the 100-RBI plateau once so far. Kershaw has been compared by many to Dodger great Sandy Koufax. Only time will tell.
Let me know who YOUR picks are in the comments section!
– Jeremy (@Jamblinman)