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News Roundup

The Yanks won last night in a game that was not Randy Johnson's finest. They are now 30 games over .500 for the first time since 2004 and Joe Torre picked up an individual accolade:

With his 1,068th win with the Yankees, New York manager Joe Torre moved past Miller Huggins for third place on team's all-time list, trailing only Joe McCarthy (1,460) and Casey Stengel (1,149).

The other big news today was something that ReLaunch blogged in the comments. David Ortiz' arrogant and frankly misguided remarks about being deserving the MVP more than Jeter (that was at least the subtext). Jeter, responded the way you would expect him to, with class:

Jeter steered the topic away from the MVP argument. "I am not thinking about the MVP," said Jeter, who extended his career-high best hitting streak to 21 games and is hitting .346, second to Joe Mauer's .350 in the AL batting race..."We are trying to win the [AL East]. No one cares about individual awards."

Now a short comment. I've lost a lot of respect for Ortiz. I thought he was different than Manny, in terms of caring about team first. I guess I gave him too much credit.

He also gives voice to what can be so wrong with the culture of baseball. Usually the guys who mash 40-50 home runs like Ortiz win this award, allowing us to conveniently forget that defense and pitching is what wins championships (If we valued defense as much as we claim to, would there be any question as to whether Don Mattingly, with his 9 gold gloves and overall record as one of the best defensive first basemen ever, belongs in The Hall of Fame?--and as for pitching, don't get me started on how Mo should have won 5 MVPs by now).

Derek Jeter is a gold-glove shortstop, while Ortiz is sitting on his ass between innings. But let's also not forget: Jeter leads the league with runners in scoring position, batting .396 in these situations. He has a higher on base %, much higher average, 10 more doubles and 29 stolen bases vs. 1 for Ortiz. Maybe that has something to do with his, unlike Ortiz, keeping himself in better shape than Courtney Love (hint David: lay off the Krispy Kremes).

Winning is about manufacturing runs and saving them, not just hitting the ball over the fence. And it's also about leadership, a trait Ortiz could learn a thing or two about by observing Jeter, instead of belittling him.