Posts Tagged ‘cincinnati reds’

The Captain and the Art of Mythmaking

The Captain

 

“The greatest enemy of the truth is very often not the lie—deliberate, contrived, and dishonest—but the myth—persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic. Belief in myths allows the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.” —JFK

 

As Derek Jeter is poised to make history this weekend, his career is in a very unusual place. On the one hand, he is standing on the cusp of history, poised to become the first Yankee to reach 3,000 hits. On the other hand, he is following up 2010, the worst season of his career, with an even worse year. The Yankees played their best stretch of baseball with him on the DL, leading some to wonder if the team is better off without him. And he remains under contract through at least 2013.

So why release a biography of Jeter now, at such an uncertain crossroads in his career? Writing a biography of Jeter that culminates in the 2009 season—squeezing his dreadful ’10 and his contentious contract negotiations this off-season into the epilogue—is like writing a biography of Julius Caesar that ends on March 14th.

Ian O’Connor’s new book, The Captain: The Journey of Derek Jeter, is bound to be incomplete. So why did he write it? It seems clear that the primary motive O’Connor had for writing this book was not to bring new light to Jeter’s career, but to enhance the myths already surrounding it. The Captain is, above all else, an exercise in mythmaking. Continue reading

MLB Preview Bonanza: NL Central

Ugh…whenever I find myself waiting in a line or at an airport and I need something to do to keep my mind occupied for a little while, I try to name all the sports teams. This isn’t all that difficult for me at this point; I usually get them all. But my strategy is always to go division by division. And the NL Central always screws me up. Six teams? Every other division in major professional sports now contains five teams or fewer…except the NL Central. And so I always end up taking longer than usual to run through them: Let’s see…Cardinals, Cubs, umm, ugh, Pirates, who else? Having six teams in the NL Central throws off the whole attempt at scheduling in the NL. I know the Mets play their division foes 18 times, but how many times do Central teams play other Central teams? It’s not still 18, right? Is it only 12? Twelve seems too few, doesn’t it? Well, you know how many it is? There’s no standard. The Cubs, for instance, play the Cardinals, Brewers, and Pirates 15 times, the Reds 16 times, and the Astros 18 times. This is the worst division in sports.

It wasn’t the worst division in the National League until recently, though. The Central had more representatives in the NLCS (eight) than the East or West in the Aughts. But only one of those teams–and ironically, the worst of them, the 2006 Cardinals–went on to win the World Series, and the Central hasn’t gotten a team out of the Division Series in the last three years. St. Louis is the favorite to repeat in 2010, but I’ve got other ideas. Continue reading