I don't make a habit of playing "gotcha" with baseball announcers, but in the bottom of the fourth inning of the FOX broadcast of Saturday's game between the Yankees and Tigers, Tim McCarver said something so mesmerizingly inaccurate, and so easily checked, that I simply can't help but comment. Here's what McCarver said:
There are five players to get to the 3,000 hit category with the same team . . . Yaz, Ripken, Brett, Yount, and Kaline, with the same team, to get 3,000 hits. So Derek, when he does it, will be the sixth.
I'll skip the obvious omissions for a moment to point out what I can only assume was the flawed logic behind this factoid. The logic seems to be that if a player spent any portion of his career with a second team, he didn't qualify for this stat. For example, Ty Cobb got 3,900 hits with the Tigers, but because he spent the final two years of his career with the Philadelphia Athletics (picking up another 289 safeties), he didn't make McCarver's list.
I call it McCarver's list, but I don't know whether or not he came up with this absurdity or whether or not it was given to him by a staff member. Whoever it was left off a few players you might have heard of who both collected 3,000 hits and spent their entire careers with a single team:
Beyond that, the following players collected their first 3,000 hits with a single team:
Ty Cobb: 3,900 with the Tigers
Hank Aaron: 3,600 with the Braves
Willie Mays: 3,187 with the Giants
Pete Rose: 3,164 in his first stint with the Reds
McCarver's list if five players was off by four names and the faulty logic (which, really, if the list missed Musial, Clemente, Gwynn, and Biggio, it's foolish on my part to ascribe any logic to it) left off four other names. So, Derek Jeter isn't about to become the sixth player, in McCarver's words, "to get to the 3,000 hit category with the same team." He's about to become the 14th. You can't get much more wrong than that.
Even more alarming, McCarver was a contemporary of Clemente, Rose, Aaron, and Mays, and a teammate of Musial's for parts of four seasons.
Speaking of Jeter and ridiculous things said on the FOX broadcast, when asked by Ken Rosenthal if he was hoping to have a bouceback year this year, Jeter replied, "The team's trying to have a bounceback year. We didn't win [last year]."
That's right, all the Yankees did in 2010 was win 95 games, the third-best total that season, and go to the sixth game of the League Championship Series. Jeter has been saying these things for his entire career (well, except for the five out of sixteen years when the Yankees actually met Jeter's absurd standards), and I know what he means, and I know many Yankee fans share that attitude, but it still gets under my skin, and if that's the case, I can only imagine how obnoxious such comments seem to fans of the 26 teams whose seasons came to an end before the Yankees' last year, a number of whom celebrated playoff appearances, including Red fans, who got to watch their team in the postseason for the first time in 15 years.