Commentary

Jeter made right decision for Yanks

Traveling to Arizona would've been great for baseball, but resting up is more important

Updated: July 13, 2011, 8:32 AM ET
By Andrew Marchand | ESPNNewYork.com

PHOENIX -- We could be having more of a celebration of Derek Jeter. He could be waving to the crowd. He could have made this All-Star Game feel a little less like a clear night -- it lacks stars.

Yes, it is true Jeter could have saved the All-Star Game.

But would this be best for the New York Yankees? Would having the 37-year-old Jeter drain his batteries over these 72 hours in the desert be best for Thursday in Toronto?

And, finally, would people please pay attention to the context of when and how the decision was made?

But first, let me present these stats, courtesy of our ace ESPN researcher, Katie Sharp.

In the 14 games when Jeter has a day off before he plays, his batting average is .351, his on-base is .397, his slugging is .439. In the 54 games when he plays back-to-back, he is hitting .250, his on-base is .314 and his slugging is .332.

So maybe it was no coincidence that DJ3K day, that miraculous, amazing, storybook of a day came after a rainout.

Perhaps Jeter looked like the old Jeter on Saturday because he wasn't tired. It seems like rest helps the old man.

If Jeter, an All-Star selection 12 times, had come here it would have been better for baseball, but not for him or the Yankees.

The context of when Jeter and the Yankee made the decison needs to be understood when evaluating whether Jeter is right or wrong.

Jeter came off the disabled list at the beginning of last week. After three games in which he looked better, but not great, he was two hits shy of 3,000. His calf wasn't bothering him, but the enormity of finishing the task weighed on Jeter.

Let's say he didn't get the two hits this past weekend and showed up in Arizona one shy. The focus of this All-Star Game would be all about how he is not the same player anymore -- he is at .270 with a .330 on-base percentage -- and how he had failed to come through at Yankee Stadium. The enormity of the task would have been even greater.

Now, he has 3,000 in style and still isn't here. If he had come just to take bows, he could be accused of sopping up all the praise. He would be the center of attention and the three days here would sap his energy.

But as a source told ESPN New York, this was a "no-win situation" for him.

In a perfect world, he could have showed up, waved his hand, like a conquering legend. It sounds easy and relaxing, but there are more demands that come with being here if you are Jeter.

It would have been better for baseball and the marquee of this event. But it would not have been for the Jeter or the Yankees.

Becoming the first Yankee with 3,000 hits is another reason why Jeter is so beloved, but it is not the main reason. He is revered because he is a winner.

By not coming here and being the center of attention, Jeter is putting winning above everything else.

Andrew Marchand is a senior writer for ESPNNewYork. He also regularly contributes to SportsCenter, Baseball Tonight, ESPNews, ESPN New York 98.7 FM and ESPN Radio. He joined ESPN in 2007 after nine years at the New York Post. Follow Andrew on Twitter »

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