Someone somewhere is currently working on a column that will credit the New York Yankees' surprising start to the season to the leadership of Derek Jeter. The veteran shortstop has not played all season due to an injured ankle and has no timetable for a return, yet it is certain the longtime captain will earn accolades for his role in helping the aging, injury-riddle Yankees to one of the best records in the American League.
"I personally know of six columnists working on that story already," said a Yankees media relations staffer. "Three local guys and three national guys. They all asked me individually how Derek is single-handedly willing this team to victory and I told them that he isn't at all. That he isn't even around. That seemed to disappoint them. But I know the columns are still in the works. They'll just pull some stuff out of their asses like always. I bet it's something like 'the standard of excellence he demanded inspires the team even in his absence.'"
At the start of the season, when the Yankees were expected to be awful — and then got off to a slow start — columnists were racing to publish pieces that made the case that the Yankees simply could not win without Jeter in the lineup. As though his absence alone would bring down the historic franchise. But then they started winning, forcing a different angle.
"It doesn't matter if we went 0-162, 162-0 or 81-81, Derek was going to come out of this smelling like roses," said the media relations staffer. "That's just how it's been for 18 years and nothing will ever change that. I mean, the guy has been surrounded by top talent for the last 12 years, yet he got just one World Series title in that time. Still his 'leadership' and 'winner' credentials remain flawless in the eyes of the media. No doubt he's an all-time great, but this team hasn't missed a beat with Eduardo Nunez and Jayson Nix in his place. So, yeah. Derek's reputation is set for life and nothing will ever change that. Especially not when there are dozens of writers who always count on mailing in 'Derek Jeter is awesome' columns three or four times a season."
Several other writers are reportedly working on stories that pin the struggles of Yankee middle reliever Shawn Kelley on Alex Rodriguez being a total asshole.