By Lenn Robbins
He or she is out there, perhaps hiding in plain sight in Times Square, fending off a photogenic Mickey Mouse, or in witness protection in Arizona, wearing a floral shirt and golf hat.
Family won’t take him or her in. Friends are strongly advising he or she go to the authorities. Co-workers won’t make eye contact.
“My desk is right next to his and I never knew!” one claims.
He or she has been designated Voter No. 397.
Three hundred and 96 Hall of Fame voters wrote the name Derek Sanderson Jeter on their ballot. One did not – No. 397. Not since Ricky Ricardo has someone had this much ‘splaining to do.
“I look at all the votes that I got,” Jeter told reporters Tuesday night in a conference call. “It takes a lot of votes to get into the Hall of Fame. Trying to get that many people to agree on something is pretty difficult to do. So that’s not something that’s on my mind. I’m just extremely excited and honored to be elected.”
Now more than ever we’re aware of just how difficult it is to get people to agree on something, anything. Or lawmakers can’t even agree on how to run an impeachment trial, no less weather to impeach someone.
Yet I’m willing to bet even the senators from Massachusetts, who would rather eat pine tar than Manhattan clam chowder, would vote for the Yankee named Jeter. His credentials are overwhelming, indisputable:
Five World Series titles including one MVP. Fourteen All-Star appearances and the Rookie of the Year Award in 1996. A postseason slash line of .308/.374/.465. That ridiculous flip to Jorge Posada that nailed Jeremy Giambi at the plate in Game 3 of the 2001 ALDS. Mr. November. Captain.
Each voter can list 10 players (who have been previously screened!) on his or her ballot. Even if a voter didn’t think Jeter was the No.1 candidate, there were nine other slots on the ballot. Heck, even Tom Steyer got on the last Democratic debate.
We can be a forgiving society. Sooner or later we can forgive the contrarian fool that didn’t put Jeter on his or her Hall of Fame ballot. But we need an explanation. We need to get inside the mind of this baseball sociopath and try to understand why he or she opted not to Re2pect the man that played shortstop and conducted himself as regally as Jeter.
This is America of course and the right to vote is sacred. No citizen need to explain his or her vote for mayor or governor or president. But these sacred society voters, such as those that determine who gets into the Hall of Fame, have a duty to the fans.
It’s not easy. I didn’t have Joe Burrow on my Heisman Trophy ballot and one Internet troll wrote that anyone who didn’t have the LSU QB in his top three should be fired. My rationale, which I understand is up for ridicule, was this:
The Heisman Trophy is supposed to go to the best player in college football. In reality, we know it goes to the best offensive player. All you offensive linemen and cornerbacks might as well head to the weight room for some extra reps.
The difference among Burrow, Ohio State QB Justin Fields and Oklahoma nee’ Alabama QB Jalen Hurts was microscopic. All three were fantastic. So was Chase Young and Ja’Marr Chase and the four running backs that ran for more than 2,000 yards.
A Heisman ballot has three slots. Three, not 10. That’s a tough vote.
Jeter for the Hall of Fame? That needed a nanosecond of thought. So, whoever you are who didn’t vote for Jeter, come forward and explain yourself. Fear not. Security will be provided by the Astros or Red Sox.