The Hippo


Apr 26, 2019








Dave Long

The Numbers

3 – consecutive shutouts for the on-a-roll 4-2 Bedford Bulldogs after Josh Reeks and Nick Barnard whitewashed Spaulding in a 6-0 win when Richard D’Amico led the offensive assault with a pair of goals.
4 – runners picked off in just 45 games this season by rookie Christian Vazquez, which according to Gordon Edes on is the most by any Red Sox catcher since 1985 when Rich Gedman cut down the same number over a full season.
5 – goals scored in the second as Memorial rolled to a 5-1 win over Dover when Quinn Morin and Jacobo Rejino each had a pair of goals. 
8 – saves for Lindsay St. Pierre as she picked up a third shutout in five games for the undefeated Central girls soccer team in Tuesday’s 3-0 win over Nashua North. 
27 – unanswered points scored by the Trinity football team to roar back to 27-13 behind three Nick Perdue TDs after spotting Pelham all their points in the game’s first six minutes.  
35 – low score carded by Bedford’s Tim Weeks in leading the Bulldogs to a win with a low score 185 in a three-way meet over Keene (187) and Dover (204) at Cochecho CC in Dover.   

Jeter show closes

By Dave Long

 In the theater, if a show closes in Boston it means it wasn’t good enough to make a go of it in New York City. But it’s just the opposite for the great Derek Jeter. His show closes this weekend in Boston after running beautifully on Broadway for the last 20 years. While that’s a bummer in Yankeeland for sure, as one who’s admired him all those years, I think it seems fitting his great career concludes behind enemy lines at Fenway Park.

It’s funny how winding the journey can be over 20 years. When we got our first real glimpse of Jeter he was a rookie shortstop in 1996 as the Yanks won their first World Series since (gulp) 1978. The great debate was just starting as to which of the young American League shortstops was the best. In New York it was Jeter, in Seattle Alex Rodriguez and in Boston it was Nomaaaar, no question! And for a while they followed the script wonderfully as A-Rod became the best all-hitter in the game, Nomar won two batting titles and Jeter led the Yanks to four World Series wins in five years.  
But, as we know, the anticipated Hall of Fame journey for two of them got derailed. While he remained incredibly popular in Boston, Nomar’s skills that diminished rapidly after his shocking 2004 trade amid a sour relationship with the brass, thanks to a series of injuries some attribute to ravages of the unproven notion of PED use. After being caught red-handed twice, there is no “suspicion” about PED use for A-Rod. And when coupled with repeatedly lying about said use, despite having 654 career home runs he has no chance of ever getting elected. Jeter, however, stayed on the straight and narrow while living up to the career most expected way back when. While the Series wins didn’t keep rolling in, he does have five overall, and he’ll finish just behind Tris Speaker at sixth on the all-time hits list, just north of 3,450. 
Bob Ryan did a ranking this summer in the Boston Globe that placed Jeter fourth behind Ruth, Gehrig and DiMaggio among Yankees greats. As someone who grew up in Yankees lore, I’m not quite as generous. I have him also behind Mickey Mantle and Yogi Berra (detailed in the Glossary). But sixth on that list ain’t bad, especially when it slides him one spot inside his great teammate Mariano Rivera. 
I suspect I like Jeter for a reason most around here don’t. He was the leader as sanity returned to baseball’s greatest organization after it was ravaged by the craziness of George Steinbrenner. Fay Vincent deserves credit too, I suppose, for suspending him for life after the Howard Spira/Dave Winfield nonsense. That stopped the exodus of talented youngsters that happened all through the ’80s in stupid trades brought on by George’s amazing impatience. If he’d been there in the early ’90s, I wonder how many of the great core of four World Championship teams — Bernie Williams, Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera and Jeter — would have been shipped out too. Whew!
I also like him because he was CLUTCH. Most point to the famous backhand flip vs. Oakland in the 2001 playoffs as his signature play, but for me three others stand out. The first is a little-remembered relay after cutting off a Williams throw from deep left center that nailed Nomar at the plate with the tying run, I think, in a game in 1999 — it was a perfect fundamental play. The second was his opposite-field double just over Trot Nixon’s grasp that started the carnage in the epic Game 7 in 2003. The last was getting battered after catching Nixon’s flare down the left field line that hurled him into the stands at full gallop to preserve a scoreless tie in the 12th inning of another epic on July 1, 2004. All while Nomar hid in the dugout after a really bad game the night before. To my memory they were never compared as equals again. It was like after Ali beat Frazier in the brutal Thrilla-in-Manila, where, as gallant as Smokin Joe was, he was never again Ali’s equal in the public’s eye after losing their signature bout.  
That’s enough for me to give him the send-off he deserves. But if you’re a hold out and don’t want to because of your anti-New York partisanship, I’ll help you out. I’m in the same boat with Carlton Fisk, who I sports-hate from my days as a Thurman Munson Yankees fan. But over time I realized the white hot intensity of that time in the great rivalry wouldn’t have reached that pitch without him and thus it would never have been as good without Fisk or Munson on the other side. So my feelings aside, I respect just how good he was and know there was NO one in that lineup I feared more in the clutch. 
The great thing about rivals is they bring out the best in each other — which Reggie Jackson perfectly described entering the Sox locker room after the ’78 playoff game. Looking at Fisk and Jerry Remy standing in the doorway, Reggie said to them, “I hate to play you guys, but I LOVE to play you guys.” It was the same in the Pedro/Ortiz-Jeter/Rivera rendition of the rivalry, which I think is the greatest era in baseball’s greatest rivalry. And while it produced the lowest moment ever with the 2003 disaster, it also brought the highest peak: coming back to sweep the Yanks out of the 2004 ALCS after going down 0-3. And there was a lot more drama, good and bad. None of it would have been as good without Jeter.  
So Mr. Jeter: Thanks for the memories and here’s a tip of the cap for a job well done.  
As seen in the September 25, 2014 issue of the Hippo.

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