Dan Shaughnessy is a troll. It's well-known and been discussed on this blog at length. He's the worst, just like I call about 10 other sportswriters "the worst." Shaughnessy is his own kind of trolling worst though. He's antagonistic towards others, writes columns with a snarky tone just in case he's wrong and doesn't want to be called on it, and has really curly hair that isn't funny except for the fact he's a troll so it's funny because he has a whi-fro. So Dan Shaughnessy wanted to ask Derek Jeter if he was going to play the three games of the season in Boston if the Yankees were out of the playoff hunt. See, Ted Williams didn't play his last three games before retiring, so that's the angle Dan took. So The Jeter came back at Dan with a little snark of his own and it was fairly glorious. The Jeter is my hero of the day now.
Every Red Sox fan knows Ted Williams hit a home run in his final at-bat in the big leagues.
(Bengoodfella makes a joke about the pink hat Red Sox fans not knowing who Ted Williams is)
What you probably don’t know is that the Red Sox had three more games on
the schedule, in New York, after Williams’s farewell blast.
I did know that, but only because I am a loser and had very few friends as a child. I always pointed this out when the talk about Ted Williams insisting on playing the last game of the season when he was hitting .400 in 1941 began. Williams did hit a home run in his last at-bat in the majors, but he also didn't play in the last three games of the season. It doesn't change what Williams did, only alters the story around it a little bit.
Williams didn’t go with his teammates to Yankee Stadium. The Sox were
already 29 games out of first place and nobody seemed to mind him
finishing on a high note.
And 1960 Bill Simmons had stopped paying attention to the Red Sox because he was a baseball widow at that point, while 1960 Dan Shaughnessy wrote a column about how Ted Williams isn't the leader we thought he was because he retired before winning the Red Sox a World Series. He would write that Williams has a swing like Harry Hooper, but Williams prefers to be standoffish and short to the media rather than answer questions about his shortcomings. Then later Shaughnessy says the same thing about Carl Yastrzemski, who had a swing like Ted Williams, but couldn't win the Red Sox a title. The cycle continued until modern day when Shaughnessy once wrote Adrian Gonzalez had a swing like Ted Williams and later ripped Gonzalez for all of his shortcomings.
All of which brings us to Derek Sanderson Jeter, the 40-year-old captain
of the New York Yankees, who plans to hang up his spikes at the end of
I never knew Derek Jeter's middle name. I always assumed he didn't have a middle name or his middle name was "Captain" or "Clutch."
The Yankees play their final home game against the Orioles Thursday,
Sept. 25. And then they finish their season in Boston with three games
against the Red Sox. Any chance Jeter would pull a Ted if the Yankees
are out of playoff contention?
I don't know Dan, why don't you ask Derek Jeter? But don't ask him, antagonize the shit out of him. That'll get him to give you a straight answer.
I’ve been thinking about this for weeks
Apparently Dan thinks about pointless things when he can't rip the Red Sox/Patriots/Celtics/Bruins for being terrible disappointments. Dan already called the Red Sox the Kansas City Royals of the East, then ended up with egg on his face as the Red Sox signed Rusney Castillo to a $72.5 million deal. So he's going to stay away from criticizing the Red Sox too much at this point. He looked like an asshole the last time he went all-in on the Red Sox for trading Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Carl Crawford and then the Red Sox won the World Series the next year.
So what about it, Derek: “If the Yankees are eliminated from postseason
play by Sept. 25, is it possible you won’t play the games in Boston?’’
Yes, the man who has never answered a question he didn't want to and never answered a question that in any way involved speculation during his career is now going to start doing exactly this. Sure.
Ever-polite, Jeter put up his hand and stopped me in mid-question.
“I don’t deal in hypotheticals,’’ he said.
Then Jeter smiled and said, "I only deal in attractive brunettes. Bring one of those to The Jeter, then we can talk."
Fair enough. Let’s try it another way.
“If you’re healthy, will you play the games in Boston?’’
That's pretty much the exact same question re-phrased. Seems like it is still a hypothetical.
“Why would I not?’’ he answered.
That seems clear enough. Jeter will play in Boston. He will be the
same guy he has been for 20 seasons. He will honor his team and Major
League Baseball. He will not do anything that would compromise the
integrity of the game.
Not playing in the final games in Boston would not be compromising the integrity of baseball. In fact, I probably wouldn't play in the final three games if I were Jeter, because I would want my last few games to be played in New York and not on the road. It is not failing to honor MLB by skipping the last three games in Boston. I see how Dan is already painting a story in his mind for when Jeter skips those final three games.
“Do you know what Ted did in his last game?’’ I asked.
“He hit a home run, right?’’ answered Jeter.
Every Red Sox fan knows this. So does this mean The Jeter is really a Red Sox fan?
Williams’s homer cut a Sox deficit to 4-3. Williams was sent out to
left field for the ninth inning, then replaced by Carroll Hardy. The Sox
rallied in the bottom of the inning. Willie Tasby wound up batting with
the bases loaded and one out, and the Sox won the game when Baltimore’s
infield butchered a double play grounder.
Most of you know I'm not a huge fan of stories that are slightly factually incorrect in order to create a narrative or make the story more exciting and engaging. I make exceptions. In this case, Ted Williams hit a home run in his last at-bat and I don't understand the need for Dan Shaughnessy to try and make it seem like Williams did something to the integrity of baseball by being lifted in the 9th inning. That's just Dan though. He's not happy until everyone is unhappy.
If Tasby walked in that at-bat, Williams would have been due up with the
bases loaded in a 4-4 game. But he’d already been lifted.
Yes, but Tasby didn't walk and Williams never would have batted. Crisis averted, history hasn't changed. We all move on.
The game had been compromised.
What? The game had been compromised because of a situation that never occurred potentially occurring? This makes no sense. Ted Williams was lifted after getting a chance to take his position in left field one more time. Dan Shaughnessy sucks.
A decade later, in his official autobiography with John Underwood,
Williams claimed the decision to blow off the Yankee series was made
before the final Fenway game:
“The team still had a doubleheader in New York that weekend, but I
went to [manager Mike] Higgins and said, ‘Mike this is the last game I’m
going to play. I don’t want to go to New York.’ “He said, ‘All right,
you don’t have to go.’ Regardless of what I had done, this was it, I’d
Here is the main issue that prevents me from giving a shit or thinking this situation is an issue...Ted Williams would never have batted even if he stayed in the game. If anything, with Ted Williams hitting behind Tasby there is less of a chance Orioles would have walked Tasby to get the bases loaded for Ted Williams. No matter who lifted Williams or why he was lifted, he was never going to bat in the 9th inning. So it doesn't matter.
According to the late Roy Mumpton of the Worcester Telegram, Williams
had told some writers that he wanted to go out with a homer. Mumpton
told Ed Linn, another Williams biographer,
“If he hadn’t hit the home
run, he would have gone on to New York. I’m sure of that.’’
In his 1961 book on Williams (“The Eternal Kid”), Linn wrote, “The
official Red Sox line was that it had been understood all along that Ted
would not be going to New York unless the pennant race was still alive.
The fact of the matter, of course, is that Williams made the decision
himself, and he did not make it until after he had hit the home run.’’
It does not matter. Ted Williams had earned the right to exit the game in the way he wanted to exit the game. Just like Derek Jeter has earned this right. After 20 years of hearing all about he plays the game the right way and respects the game of baseball, I can't handle hearing about how Jeter has compromised the integrity of baseball by skipping the last three games of this season. It's too much for my emotions to handle.
Linn claimed Williams’s equipment bag was packed for the trip to the Big Apple.
And yet, it happened over 50 years ago and it doesn't matter now.
Jeter would never do this. It would fly in the face of everything his career has stood for. Right?
“I can’t even think about that,’’ said the Yankee captain. “I’ve gone
my entire career without answering hypotheticals. I don’t like jinxing
anything. I’m playing today.’’
That is the third time Jeter has essentially answered the same question based on a hypothetical. Now comes time for The Jeter to burn Dan Shaughnessy.
That sounds as if he’s leaving some wiggle room for not coming to Boston.
“I’m not leaving any wiggle room,’’ he said. “I’ve never spoken on a
hypothetical in my entire career. My job is playing the game today,
Sept. 2. That’s the game I’m playing.’’
If Dan kept asking the same questions over and over again to guys like Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford, then no wonder they were short with him and wouldn't give him the answers he wants.
“Yeah, I understand it,’’ said Jeter. “Mo didn’t pitch in Houston
last year [the Yankees played meaningless games in Houston after Mariano
Rivera said goodbye to the fans at Yankee Stadium].
“It depends on the situation, I guess. I don’t know what Ted’s situation was and I didn’t know him well enough to comment on it.
And after Mariano Rivera didn't pitch in the last games of the season on the road against Houston baseball was never the same. When a Hall of Famer like Rivera doesn't show respect for the game of baseball and comprises the integrity of the sport then it is amazing there was even a 2014 season to be played. It almost ruined the sport.
“Don’t dissect this,’’ he added, smiling. “It’s not complicated. Don’t complicate things for yourself.’’
There you go, Jeter. The Jeter is showing contempt for Shaughnessy and being condescending towards him as well. I always knew The Jeter had good qualities hidden somewhere.
As I excused myself from the captain’s cubicle, Jeter had one question.
So after Dan Shaughnessy was done asking the same question four times to Derek Jeter and hinted (at least in this column) the right thing to do would be to play the last three games in Boston, Jeter wanted to taunt Dan some for not doing his job.
“You never asked Ted about it?’’ he wondered.
Now this is a valid point. Dan Shaughnessy, who inexplicably has won awards for his writing, had a chance to ask Ted Williams exactly what happened. Whether Williams pulled himself from those last three games as a plan prior to his home run or this was planned after he hit the home run against the Orioles? After all, since Dan seems so concerned about it and he would have access to Ted Williams, doesn't this seem like a logical question to ask?
“No,’’ I said.
And why would Dan ask Ted Williams? If Dan isn't trolling his readers, tearing into a Boston-area player for his perceived shortcomings or simply trying to gain attention, what does it benefit him to do actual sports journalism? Dan isn't capable of real journalism that isn't purely a ploy to gain attention for himself.
“Well, you blew it,’’ he acknowledged. “You blew your opportunity.’’
You bleeeeeeeeew it!
This makes me wish Jeter had talked more. Maybe this is Jeter's plan. He will just buck up to all of the asshole sportswriters who have annoyed him through the years. It's funny and it's true. He could have asked Ted Williams these questions and he didn't. Dan had chances and he never took them.
But see what Jeter probably knows is that Dan Shaughnessy didn't want to ask Ted Williams. He didn't care to ask Ted Williams when the decision to not play in the final three games of the 1960 season was made. Dan has no interest in that. He only has interest in how Ted Williams didn't play the last three games of the 1960 season as it relates to how he can write an article about Derek Jeter not playing against the Red Sox during the last week of this season. That's all. Long-term, Dan wants a chance to rip Jeter if he doesn't play in those last three games of the season, and short-term, he wants to antagonize Jeter by asking him questions Dan knows he won't answer.
Sad, but true.
Thanks, Captain Yankee. See you at Fenway Sept. 28.
Could Dan be more of a dick? "See you at Fenway Sept. 28." The Jeter didn't say he would be playing in those games for sure. He said he didn't answer hypotheticals and was planning on playing. I'm just glad Jeter got Dan back by pointing out how all the mystery surrounding when the decision for Williams to not play in the last regular season games of his career could have been partially avoided if Dan had just done real journalism and asked Williams if/when given the chance.
I hope Jeter doesn't play so Dan can rip him for not playing. That's an article I would cover right here on this blog.