– Joe Namath
On Monday in Tampa, footballing legend Joe Namath imputed nothing less than a supernatural lack of frailty to Derek Jeter. We numbers-minded people at NotGraphs were startled, to say the least, by Namath’s assertion. After all, a cursory search reveals that Jeter has been scored with no fewer than 243 errors over the course of his major league career, not to mention the Southern Atlantic League-record 56 errors he committed at age 19. In hopes of resolving this paradox, we contacted Mr. Namath by phone1 with the intention of showing him some video evidence of Jeter’s miscues. Unfortunately, we were only able to locate three such videos on YouTube, and Namath was quick to refute each one. Excerpts from our conversation follow:
Namath: “Yeah, I was there. What you don’t see is that Ross smeared some kind of foreign substance on the ball before he hit it. I mean whatever the stuff was he really lathered it up good. The thing would have been damn near impossible to catch. Typical Sox garbage.” [Namath did not elaborate on how Cody Ross managed to doctor the ball from the batter’s box.]
Namath: “Saw that one too. Looks like a routine can of corn. What you don’t see is how it clocked a pigeon in midair. Changed course about 180 degrees. It was a damn miracle that Derek was able to get there at all. I mean a miracle. Of course he makes everything look so smooth.”
Namath: “What is this crap? Are those the Nationals? I’m no expert but I sure as hell know that the Yankees play in the American League. If that’s Jeter I’ll eat my goddamn hat. Not to mention that video’s been doctored. Look how it jumps all over the place. You can’t believe everything you see on the Internet, son.”
We left our conversation with Mr. Namath feeling chastened, with a new appreciation of “Mr. November” and a new question buzzing in our ears: might some persons really be made of more-than-human stuff? If the term “angel” has any meaning at all, in these godless days, might it not apply to this larger-than-life celebrity, this man of poise, wit, and grace under pressure, this possessor of the clutch bat, the satin glove, and the undying fame?
Then we found this, and were reminded that Derek Jeter, like everyone else, is perfectly capable of committing an error.
1 This took place in our head.