The rest of Derek Jeter's career begins next week. Coming off the worst of his 15 seasons and an ugly contract negotiation with the Yankees, Jeter will step into the batting cage with New York hitting coach Kevin Long to begin his spring training three weeks before the team's first full workout.
What do you do about a 36-year-old beloved franchise icon with fading defensive skills but enormous brand value? Why, of course, you give him a 15 percent raise to make sure the team benefits from his legacy. That's exactly what the Baltimore Orioles did for Cal Ripken Jr. on Opening Day 1997, a sort of global view of the player that stands in stark contrast to how the Yankees are valuing Derek Jeter at the same age.
Well ... there were a few people who were not too crazy about my 10 greatest hitters list last week. You come to expect a little bit of anger whenever you put together a list. However, in this case the anger came from rather unexpected sources. It came from:
The Cavaliers are on such a roll that, if they all got lumps of coal in their stockings on Christmas morning, we'd learn on Dec. 26 that Al Gore and Lamborghini had jointly developed the Bituminous, the world's first carbon-powered exoticar for young NBA millionaires.
When the Milwaukee Braves won the World Series in 1957, and when the Brewers got back there in 1982, baseball fans literally danced down Wisconsin Avenue to Lake Michigan in celebration. Even after the heartbreak of a Game 7 loss in St. Louis 26 years ago, they filled County Stadium on a chilly October day for a thank-you rally and cheered, proud and defiant, as star and future Hall of Famer Robin Yount roared around the warning track on a motorcycle.
There's a little parlor game sweeping baseball, particularly now that Milwaukee, now playing the varsity portion of its schedule, has dropped three of its past four games after a 24-10 start. The game is to guess, Are the Brewers for real? Most teams that play .700 baseball for the first 34 games, as Milwaukee did, would be exempt from such talk, but we're talking about a franchise that clinched its last winning season with Robin Yount and Paul Molitor in the lineup, which hasn't played a playoff game in a quarter of a century, which hasn't put together back-to-back winning months in six years, features barley in its logo and a pack of running sausages that may be the most nationally recognizable players on the team.