No amount of wishing is going to turn Didi Gregorius into a young six win version of Derek Jeter. Some crazy people have overrated a couple stray comments comparing Gregorius to Jeter, but the truth is that Gregorius has a pretty clear path to replacing the legend.
Don Mattingly had some advice for the prospective Jeter replacement before we knew quite who that would be.
"To me, it always goes back to the simplest form of everything — whoever (the Yankees) end up with needs to be the best player they can possibly be," Mattingly said. "Do that. If you do that, then you’ll end up being happy with it."
What kind of player should Sir Didi be?
I have a few suggestions. Here are ten simple steps to replacing Derek Jeter:
10) Don't struggle too much, and especially don't struggle too early. If you have one month when you're going to slug .500, I'd recommend May. Start around average in April, and then break out in May. Settle back in around expectations for the rest of the season. You can have a little slump in late July or early August so long as you heat back up again for the stretch run.
9) Pump your fist once a game, but don't pump too early. Ideally, save the fist for the last out, but if you have a go-ahead double after the seventh inning or any RBI hit against the Red Sox, then sure go ahead and break out the fist pump.
8) Never, ever hit for the cycle. You can hit grand slams against the Cubs and rack up four hit games, but to be truly beloved you must never hit for the cycle.
7) Remember that you only have to be great at one or two things. The guy you're replacing was great at hitting baseballs and less than great at fielding slow grounders to his right. So pick your talent- maybe you'll choose to be the guy who never gets picked off second or who always walks when facing Pedro Martinez. That way you can be lousy at things like hitting the curveball or beating the shift.
6) Talk to the fans before going to bat. The bigger the AB, then the more you should chat. If you really want to take this one to eleven, you'll take a tip from the previous Captain and eat the fan's popcorn, too.
5) Sacrifice bunt, especially if you're hitting well. This is going to seem counterintuitive, but the better you hit normally then the more praise you'll get for sac bunting.
4) Say absolutely nothing. Reporters are going to ask questions, and they think you're going to give them some insight into the nuances of the game or into the inner workings of the clubhouse. Don't give them what they want. Go Nuke Laloosh on them and see how long they'll stand there with there microphones while you spout long chains of nothing nonsense.
3) Date Miss Universe. But never talk about it (see #4).
2) Hit home runs. Fans like souvenirs, so give them souvenirs. Trusting them to reach over the wall and grab it seems to be falling a little short, but just try to get the ball in arm's reach.
1) Dive into the stands as often as possible. Context doesn't really matter here; it could be a day game in July or a night in October. It could be a slow roll over the wall and drop butt first onto the cement or charge face first into the seats.