Of tributes and tribulations.
Here’s an idea: The next time the Yankees retire Derek Jeter’s number, the portrait of him on his plaque should look a little bit like him.
If one didn’t know the image of Jeter appeared above his name, one could spend a week guessing who it is and not ring the bell. I thought it looked like the kids’ cartoon character Bob the Builder, one reader was convinced it was Ricky Schroder, others asked if the as-seen-on-TV laughter from Jeter and his wife the moment the plaque was revealed — an odd reaction at such a moment — was in response to the unfamiliar face.
After all, if you didn’t know you were standing in front of the Lincoln Memorial, you’d know the fellow seated in that stone chair is Abraham Lincoln.
But enshrinement standards in baseball — see: Selig, Bud; Cooperstown — are down. One day, if MLB hasn’t destroyed MLB and grandfathers can afford to take their grandkids to Yankee Stadium even just to view Monument Park, they will explain Jeter was a superb player who, by the way, looked nothing at all like that.
As for sports statues, those standards are way, way down.
The Marlins, this season, plan to unveil a bronze statue of recently deceased star pitcher Jose Fernandez.
One wonders if that would be the case had Fernandez survived last September’s pre-dawn boating “accident” that killed him and two relatively anonymous others.
Alive, Fernandez almost certainly would have been charged with some form of homicide or manslaughter given his autopsy found he was drunk and on cocaine while at the wheel when his boat, according to investigators, at its top-speed — 65 mph — and in defiance of channel markers, crashed into a rocky, near-slip reef, flipping the craft, hull-up.
Two passengers, Fernandez’s friends Emilio Macias, 27, and Eduardo Rivero, 25, both, like Fernandez, successful and loved, also were killed. But they didn’t pitch for the Marlins.
One also wonders whether the Macias and Rivero families will be special invitees to the ceremony when the sheet is pulled from the Fernandez statue. Outside bedrooms, sheets serve other purposes, such as covering bodies at sudden death scenes.
Fernandez also had a pregnant girlfriend; their child will grow up fatherless.
But Fernandez for three seasons was a popular pitcher thus he’s worthy of a statue in perpetual salute to his baseball heroics, a statue the families of his victims can view at their leisure and pleasure.
Such modern, selectively ignorant statues have some precedent. There’s a statue of Ray Lewis outside the Ravens’ stadium that doubles as a monument to selective memorialization.
Lewis, after all, bargained an obstruction of justice plea in a trial for double-homicide. He then reached a financial settlement with the victims’ families. What innocent man would even consider such a thing?
As a frequently fined, remorseless and downright proud NFL headhunter, Lewis, as so often seen on TV, stood over his head-rattled victims and did chest-thumping dances.
Lewis said he wasn’t concerned and was dismissive of the concussion wave the NFL finally acknowledged, as if it couldn’t figure out how being repeatedly smashed in the head just might cause brain damage.
Heck, the NFL, which often fined Lewis for his excessive, illegal violence, was still so smitten by him he was chosen to endorse league merchandise in TV commercials.
Lewis, fined $250,000 by the NFL after those killings in 2000, and Roger Goodell were seen in a bear-hug embrace before Lewis’s last game, the 2013 Super Bowl.
And, of course, ESPN, with no idea the University of Miami man was unable to speak discernible English, hired him.
One wonders whether the families of victims Jacinth Baker and Richard Lollar, as well as Lewis’s head-injured football victims were invited to attend the ceremony unveiling his statue. Or can they, too, just stop by the statue when in Baltimore?
A statue of Jose Fernandez? Over three dead bodies.
Amazin’s running battle
The Mets’ pitching?
Left unspoken on SNY is that the Mets, game after game, are perhaps the worst base-running team thus far this century. They’re either a can’t-bother base short of where they belong, or run with nonsensical recklessness.
That Jose Reyes, 15-year vet yet totally unaware of defensive or game circumstances, Wednesday, with a runner headed for third and the Mets’ hottest hitter, Michael Conforto, next, would end the second by being thrown out at second by 6 feet — in a game the Mets would lose in extra innings, no less — is par for their unfathomable course.
As the affordability of college educations has become a national crisis, schools continue to demonstrate there are still piles of dough available for sports. BTN’s Minnesota-Indiana baseball telecast, Tuesday, showed IU in “throwback” uniforms.
Mike Francesa is getting warmer. He predicted the Knicks would make a top-three lottery pull, Tuesday. They pulled No. 8. It’s all relative; for him eighth among 10 ain’t bad.
For a moment, Monday, it appeared ESPN’s version of Astros-Marlins might focus on the game. But then came a long insert of new ESPN baseball analyst David Ross performing on Disney sibling ABC’s “Dancing With The Stars.” Auf wiedersehen.
Reader David Distefano figures that if the PGA’s Lucas Glover plays golf without a glove, Mitt Romney played baseball without a Mitt.
Relief needed in rout?
What comes after crazy? Sunday’s Rays 11, Red Sox 2, ran 4 hours, 32 seconds! There were 12 pitchers; each used six!
Over the last four innings, five Rays’ “By the Book” relievers allowed just two hits and no walks, yet four were quickly pulled. Next, we’ll hear how the Rays’ bullpen is exhausted!
However, reader Gary Wilbur notes that the game would’ve run 4:31.40 had there been a time-saving automatic intentional pass.
Tuesday, with the Yanks up, 6-0, in the eighth at K.C., a replay review of a clear catch, followed by a guesstimate of where the runners might’ve been had it first been ruled a catch, stopped the game for 5 minutes, 40 seconds!
The Game has determined to do whatever it takes to make it insufferable.
John Forslund, Hurricanes’ TV voice subbing for Mike Emrick in Game 2 of Senators-Penguins, had a good NHL-centric crack: “The great Doc Emrick, [still] out with that upper-body concern.”
Leave it to Emrick to explain, via email, as only he could:
“It’s sinusitis pharyngitis, my voice so soft that dogs can’t hear me. Hoping to be back for Game 4.” Game 4 is Friday in Ottawa.