Derek Jeter, Ray Lewis, bar brawls and Band-Aids: How the aging process affects us all

I strained my shoulder the other night breaking up a bar fight.  Normally, we have security when drunken customers switch over to the dark side but none of them happened to be around at the time.  Besides, I’ve seen Roadhouse like forty times, so I’m good.

At 44 years of age, I should probably give up trying to step in the middle of things.  Chalk it up to natural instinct.  Despite the bum shoulder, however, I won’t be missing any playing time.

The same cannot be said for Derek Jeter and Ray Lewis, who both recently sustained season-ending injuries, Lewis with a torn triceps and Jeter with a broken ankle.  Both men are their teams’ emotional leaders, both are first ballot Hall-of-Famers and both can now be found in the training room nursing their injuries, their teams’ chances of success without them dwindled considerably, if not out the window altogether.

Not only have the Ravens and Yankees been dealt huge blows with these two out, but so have sports fans everywhere as both Lewis and Jeter are among the most enjoyable players in their respective sports to watch and that’s coming from a life-long Yankee-hater.

As expected, ESPN has already begun eulogizing their careers, asking pointless questions such as “Which player is more of a loss to his team,” as if that’s something one can measure but to quote Derek Zoolander, I’m not a good eugoogolizer.  If it’s one thing I know from watching these two over the years, it’s that they’ll both be back.

At 38, Jeter led the league in hits this year (216).  He ranks 11th all-time in that category and if he repeats that same success next year, he’ll land himself in the top five behind only Pete Rose, Ty Cobb, Hank Aaron and Stan Musial.  Not bad company if you can get it. Read more…

The New York Yankees are knocking on the door again.

C.C. SabathiaWe are nearing pennant time again in 2012 and the New York Yankees are right there at the top of the American League East once again.

When the season started there were those that said that the Yankees were too old to make another serious run at the World Series. Here we are in October and the Yankees are right there, poised to start the playoffs.

The Yankees have played through adversity all season long with key players getting hurt or injured at one point in the season or another.  C.C. Sabathia, Andy Pettitte, Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez, Mariano Rivera and others have been out this year at different times during the season.

With Derek Jeter the captain of the team, they play as he plays hard and to win every game. Jeter is the consummate competitor.  He will try and beat you, even if you are just playing checkers. He comes to work every day ready to work. Even at age 38, Jeter is probably the hardest working guy on the team. He never takes a play off.  He is always driving forward to win every game.

The Yankees as a team play like their leader. They play hard and they play to win.  Yankees tradition dictates that they win. The Steinbrenner’s will accept nothing less than winning.  The Yankees winning the World Series is like breathing, it is imperative to their survival.

Age has not played a factor in the run for the pennant.  The Yankees do what they need to do to win. They try and put together the best players in the game every year. You can say what you will, but the fact is the Yankees organization is filled with winners. The general thoughts are that they try and buy championships every year, but that is not the case, there is a lot more to winning a championship then just putting out a bunch of money and throwing players together.

Not just anyone is asked to dawn the Yankees pinstripes.  Wearing that uniform and playing for the most storied team in MLB, for many is a dream come true.

Old or not, the 2012 New York Yankees are knocking on that door to the playoffs once again. Let’s stay tuned to see just how far the Yankees go into playoffs. Personally, I am seeing another World Series Trophy.

Mike Samuels is a Featured Journalist for The Sports Blitz.  He can be reached at or on Twitter @Steeler_Mike and at

2012 MLB All-Star rosters by jersey sales

With the National League defeating the American League in last night’s MLB All-Star game, it had thinking, “What would have last night’s rosters have been based off of jersey sales alone?, a leading online retailer of officially licensed sports merchandise, is happy to provide 2012 MLB All-Star Jersey Rosters:

Top Selling AL/NL Players in the 2012 All-Star Game by Pitcher, Reserve or Starter:

Top Selling MLB Players:

1.       Jeter (outselling Freese by 20%)

2.       Freese (outselling Jones by 25%)

3.       Chipper Jones (outselling Hamilton by 18%)

Read more here…

New York Yankees push for another pennant

Robinson CanoThis is All-Star week. We have the Home Run Derby and the All-Star game.  Now is the time when teams begin to make their push for the playoffs. The New York Yankees are no different.  At this point the Yanks have the best record in MLB. Usually at this point in the year they begin to play a different kind of game throughout the rest of the season.  The second half of the year Yankees are a different animal then during the beginning of the year Yankees.

The Yankees seem to be clicking on all cylinders right now, even though they have some major injuries.  C.C. Sabbathia has a hamstring issue, Mariano Rivera has a torn ACL and needed surgery, and Andy Pettitte has a broken foot.  Their bullpen and other starters have taken up the slack and kept the Yankees in contention.  The hitters are hitting and hitting well. The Yankees have hit the most Home Runs in MLB.  Thirty-eight year old Derek Jeter, the team Captain always leads by example. He makes the plays that no one else does. He is hitting at a very high level, his batting average is .313. He has a legitimate shot at an AL MVP.  Jeter has also made another All-Star team, he will be the lead off hitter and start at Shortstop.  Robinson Cano will bat second and play second base.  Curtis Granderson will start in the outfield and be ninth in the lineup. C.C. Sabbathia also made the All-Star team, but will not play due to being on the disables list.

The New York Yankees as an organization, from management down to the players, the fans, and everyone else that is affiliated with the organization expect every year to make the playoffs and win a World-Series. They demand it, and anything less is not acceptable.  With this mind set and loyalty of their fans is one of the main reasons that the New York Yankees have won more World-Series than any other franchise.

When the All-Star break is over, the Yankees go into what I call pennant mode. They work with their line-ups to get that perfect mesh and cohesive unit that will push them closer to the play-offs. They take less days off. I know that all teams work harder in the second half of the season, but I believe with the Yankees is goes to another level. A level that teams that do not make the play-offs can understand, especially teams that have never made it into the play-off or won a pennant. The teams that do not have can do and will do attitude. They do not play as the Yankees play, for pride.  During the second half of the season, the Yanks get harder to beat because they feel that they have more on the line and a lot of history to live up to year after year.

The Yankees are probably one of the toughest teams to deal with going down the stretch after the all-star break.  I see them in the play-off picture again this year because as their injured players start to come back into the fold, the stronger they get. They are very good at maintaining themselves during rough periods during the season, I do not see this year as any different.

Derek Jeter the pride of the Yankees

Derek JeterDerek Jeter was drafted by the New York Yankees in 1992 out of high school. Where in his senior year he batted .508 for the season, he also had college recruiters and pro scouts watching him as a youngster. The University of Michigan offered him a scholarship to play baseball. Spending his summers in New Jersey with his grandparents is where he got a chance to go to Yankees games and see his idol Outfielder Dave Winfield. He knew way back then that he wanted to be a player for the most storied franchise in the history of sports. Derek learned to play shortstop from his father who played the position at Fisk University.

Wearing the Yankees pinstripes is something that if you are a baseball player is the epitome of being a professional baseball player. When you think of some of the greatest to ever play the game, many NY Yankees come to mind Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Whitey Ford, Reggie Jackson, Dave Winfield, and now the great Derek Jeter. He is the only Yankee to ever reach the 3000 hit plateau. What does that say for him as a baseball player for the NY Yankees? All the great Yankees of days gone by, he is the “ONLY” player to wear the pinstripes to reach that plateau. He is the pride of the NY Yankees. For 17 years he has worn the pinstripes and will retire in the pinstripes when he finally ends his Hall of Fame career.

Jeter has always been known as a player that does what it takes to win. I have seen him make plays by diving into the stands or taking on an opposing player at second base. He has never been afraid of having a collision with another player. Jeter is fearless on the baseball field. There is not a play that he will not try to make. He is the field general of his team. The team rallies around the things that Jeter does on the field. This year at age 37, he is playing the game like a kid again. He is hitting well, and has been seeing the ball well. He has never been considered a power hitter, but he is putting the ball in play all over the field. He is playing like the Derek Jeter of old. Many thought his career to be over last year, but like he has always done, he shows his critics what he is made of. There is no quit in him as a man or as a player. He continues to play the game because he still has many things to contribute to his younger teammates and the game of baseball.

Does he have anything left to prove to baseball? I say that he does not, but I do say that as long as he can play at the level he is playing now, he should continue to play. His list of accomplishments is a long one most notable is the five World Series titles. He is a 12 time All-Star, 5 time Gold-Glove winner, 4 time Silver Slugger award, AL Rookie of the Year 1996, All-Star game MVP 2000, World Series MVP 2000, he owns the Yankees career hits record 3,137 and counting and the Yankees career stolen base record, and too many other awards to his credit to list. He is batting .392 so far this season and if he stays healthy opposing teams will have a lot to worry about with his offensive production.

When Derek Jeter’s career is all said and done he could very well be the greatest player to ever wear the pinstripes. Those are big shoes to fill thinking back to all the greats who have worn a Yankees uniform. He is a humble player that has gone out and done his job in an outstanding fashion for only one team. The “Team” that is the New York Yankees. Derek Jeter, Cooperstown awaits you.

Mike Samuels is a writer for The Sports Blitz Network and can be contacted at

Are the New York Yankees too old to win the World Series?

Derek Jeter

Are the New York Yankees too old to win another World Series with the roster that they have today? How many more games can Mariano Rivera save this year? Can Derek Jeter be consistent enough to make a difference in the day-to-day standings? Will A-Rod stay healthy all season? These questions are yet to be answered. Only time will tell. The Yankees have fourteen players on their roster that are 30 years of age or older. Many of the players that are over 30 are very integral parts of the line-up.

I think that the veteran leadership is really good for their younger players to help them become professionals. The older players’ bodies are not what they used be. Derek Jeter for instance does not cover the same amount of area that he once did. He is not as fast. He still produces day in and day out, but still not the same player. The thing that stands out about him is that losing is not an option and he does whatever needs to be done to help the Yankees win a World Series. He is the captain of the team and leads by example.

I believe that having an older team is a good thing for the Yankees. I would not say that for every organization, but for this team, it works. The Yankee leadership is a major factor to their success along with fielding the players that give them the best chance to win. Fielding an older club means that you are working more on probabilities, and opponent tendencies. One of the best examples of this is Mariano Rivera who does not have the overpowering pitches of his younger days. He throws his cut fastball and moves it around the plate to get called strikes or batters to swing at bad pitches. As the most prolific closer in the history of baseball at age 42, Rivera shows that age is just a number. The Yankees have three players on their roster that have five World Series rings: Andy Pettitte, Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera. That is a lot of hardware.

With the veteran leadership and having a very good team dynamic the Yankees have a very good chance of getting back to the World Series again to possibly win an unprecedented 28th World Championship. Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera could possibly end their careers on top and all with one team. They have good pitching with CC Sabbathia, Phil Hughes, and Ivan Nova in the starting lineup. Alex Rodriguez, Nunez, Jeter, Teixeira, and Cano platooning the infield, their defense is solid. Andruw Jones, Granderson, Swisher, and Ibanez working the outfield make a lot of great defensive plays. They have some pitchers on the DL who will be back in the line-up soon. Andy Pettitte should be just about ready to come up from the minors to jump into the starting pitching rotation. Their big hitters are starting slow, but coming along nicely. Joe Girardi is putting all his pieces together to make a run at another pennant. These guys are older, but they sure can play ball. Playing on the team that fans love to hate must be fun, especially when you win.

In my humble opinion, the Yankees are not too old to win another World Series. Let’s all watch and see how things turn out at the end of the season.

Mike Samuels is an MLB writer for The Sports Blitz.  He can be contacted at