Even idled, Jeter deserves All-Star Game nod
Future Hall of Famer's highly distinguished career makes him worthy of fans' vote
So Derek Jeter is on the disabled list.
So he had a setback and he's not expected to play before the All-Star break.
Jeter is an All-Star.
He has earned it with his play on the field throughout his career and with his actions off the field.
It's up to the fans to make sure it happens, though some may think otherwise.
And, if anybody is interested, should it happen, the players aren't going to be upset.
Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, who wears No. 2 out of respect for Jeter, isn't campaigning for Jeter, but when asked how he would react if the fans voted for Jeter, he didn't hesitate.
"He is the face of baseball," said Tulowitzki. "He has meant a lot to the game, and at the end of the day, [the All-Star Game] is a fans' game and they should recognize the players they want. If there is one guy who didn't have to play to be elected, it would be him."
Couldn't have said it better.
Oh, there will be moaning and groaning if Jeter gets elected. But there's always moaning and groaning about something that happens with the All-Star voting. Don't worry. Be happy.
That seems to be the way Jeter approaches the game -- happy, not worried. The man has been one of the game's elite players. He has spent more than 17 seasons under the Big Apple spotlight, and there's not even a pimple of controversy surrounding him.
That's not easy, but he has made it look that way.
Think about it. Seventeen full seasons with the Yankees -- plus a September -- and he has hit .313 despite the grind of playing shortstop in 2,526 games, which is more games at shortstop than anybody who has ever played the game except Omar Vizquel and Luis Aparicio.
His 3,304 hits rank 10th on the all-time list. He's won five Gold Gloves. Only four shortstops won more -- Ozzie Smith (13), Vizquel (11), Aparicio (9) and Mark Belanger (8).
He's been an All-Star 13 times, the same as Ken Griffey Jr., Joe DiMaggio and George Brett, and he has hit .440 in the midsummer event, tied with Griffey for the eighth-highest average in All-Star history.
He's known as the Captain around Yankee Stadium, and it's a title he has distinguished with his actions.
And it is the fans' game, as Tulowitzki put it, so the fans should get to show their appreciation for a person of Jeter's stature without any moaning or groaning.
So send him to Citi Field and send him as a player voted into the starting lineup for what would be a ninth time. At this point in his career, who knows how many more opportunities he'll have to be on an All-Star team?
It's not a big deal.
As soon as he is elected, he will withdraw because of the injury, another deserving shortstop will be moved into the lineup in his place, and everybody will be happy.
It's a win-win -- Jeter gets the recognition in his home city and baseball gets to make sure a deserving player gets his due.
As Bobby Valentine said when he was managing the Texas Rangers and a question was asked about special accommodations for Nolan Ryan, "There's no bending the rules. I have the same set of rules for him as I do for every pitcher who has won 300 games and thrown [seven] no-hitters."
Baseball fans should look at a Jeter selection in the same way.