Despite becoming an American hero for the 516th time this weekend, Derek Jeter will not appear in tonight’s All-Star Game.He isn’t hurt and he didn’t pitch six innings on Sunday and he wasn’t suddenly drafted into the Marines. He just doesn’t want to go.
That bothers some people, of course, because Derek Jeter was chosen by America’s baseball fans to be the starting shortstop.
He’d rather take his girlfriend to Miami than take a flight to Phoenix.
Jeter is one of 16 players who was picked to play in the All-Star Game, but won’t be there. The fans want him there. Major League Baseball wants him there. But MLB can’t (and won’t) punish him or any other player for defying the fans’ wishes.
So it’s up to the fans to do it. Stop voting for him.
Jeter’s career isn’t over, but fans can help make sure that his All-Star career is. Being selected to the All-Star game is supposed to be an honour. It’s supposed to be a reward. It’s supposed to be a mutual tribute, between the fans and the players, to the sport that they all love so much.
Yet, somewhere along the way, it become a chore. So if Jeter or any other player doesn’t want to go, then don’t force them to. Vote for someone else who wants to be there and give the tired guys the week off. Forever.
Derek Jeter did not deserve to be an All-Star in 2011, but the fans chose to honour him anyway. Whether it was for his 3,000th hit or his five World Series rings or a lifetime of dedicated service, doesn’t really matter. Cal Ripken didn’t deserve the nod for many of his 19 appearances, but he voted almost every year and went (and played) anyway.
If Jeter doesn’t want to play, then fine. MLB has done him plenty of favours in his career, but we suppose he doesn’t have to return them all. If that upsets fans, they should vote for someone who does.
But what Jeter’s decision really underscores is that most (but not all) players stopped caring about the All-Star Game a long time ago.
Free agency, inter-league play, and cable TV, have all devalued the special nature of the Mid-Summer Classic. Today’s superstars are much more concerned about their day jobs, their contracts, and their sleep. It’s just become another painful reminder that fans care way more about athletes than the athletes care about them.
There are 84 All-Stars this season, a record. There will probably be even more next year. If you really want to send to message to all the players who turn down the “honour” that you’ve given them, then make sure Derek Jeter isn’t one of them.
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