Traxler despises Jeter, lists playoff players to watch

Marcus Traxler

Marcus TraxlerBaseball Wizard

It’s hard to believe that Derek Jeter is 36 years old and that his time is near the end. He is the player synonymous with the New York Yankees’ string of championships in the nineties. He’s one of the top shortstops in baseball history.

However, I’m not a fan of Jeter’s “winning attitude” that comes off as smug arrogance. In fact, I hate the Yankees. So why bring up Jeter at all? Regardless of what you happen to think of him, Jeter reached his superstar status in the playoffs.

Historically, Jeter’s numbers have been as good in postseason as they have been in the regular season. Players who can deliver in those “moments” are the ones who can become superstars.

A player who could have been that player was Ken Griffey Jr. Junior had a terrific career and gained that marketable status like Jeter. Outside of scoring the game-winning run in the 1995 ALDS, he never had a career-changing moment in the playoffs.

Baseball hasn’t had that superstar feel since the home run race of 1998 between St. Louis’ Mark McGwire and the Cubs’ Sammy Sosa that revitalized the sport. Now, when somebody looks back on that season, they feel cheated because of steroid use that marred both their careers. People wanted to believe in Barry Bonds and his home run chase, but they soon found out he was no better than either McGwire and Sosa.

Baseball will need a replacement for the future when Jeter and Alex Rodriguez are gone. Ryan Howard, Albert Pujols, Joe Mauer, and Evan Longoria are probably the closest you can find in the game today, that don’t already play for the Yankees. Both Pujols and Howard have a championship and are 30 years old. I would say that most loosely-following sports fans would be able to tell you about them, so we’ll take them out of the conversation. A strong performance from Mauer or Longoria would probably make them a superstar, with the condition that their teams are World Series champions.

Mauer hasn’t had his best numbers this year, but he probably playing the best team of his career. He also was the overall leading vote-getter in the all-star game this year, showing that he is marketed nationally. The Upper Midwest will still adore him even if he can’t win a championship but he has to know that this his chance to get it done.

For Longoria, he has not had the best season this year but he’s already got a trip to the World Series under his belt. He has all the tools and a championship would make it worth while

There are a few under-the-radar players in this postseason who could make a name by the end of the playoffs.

Robinson Cano has also had a terrific season for the Yankees and the second baseman is already in a few Nike ads. He might be in line to replace Jeter as a face of the franchise in New York. He has the championship already but not the name recognition. However, if Cano is playing in Pittsburgh or Toronto, we wouldn’t even be considering him.

Joey Votto has had an unbelievable season and he has helped lead the Reds into the playoffs. No team in this year’s playoffs embodies a rebirth more than the Cincinnati and the “Big Red Machine” had faded into obscurity after their last World Series in 1990.

Votto has remained a cool customer, despite his local celebrity in Southern Ohio and chase for a National League MVP award. A strong playoffs and Votto’s name will stick with you; a World Series championship and Votto is a budding superstar.

On the pitching side, Tim Lincecum is a budding star by the bay in San Francisco. If he can carry the Giants to a world championship and be extremely dominant, he would be a highly marketable name.

The Rangers will count on Josh Hamilton to carry them in the playoffs. For Hamilton, it caps a long road back from drug addiction and alcoholism and into baseball. He’s already a terrific player but the same reasons he’s a great story could be used for why he’s not a good role model.

The shake-up of teams in the postseason may not be what the people at FOX want because their ratings would surely take a tumble with a Twins-Reds or Rangers-Giants World Series and there’s proof. However, it’s hard to argue that the fresh faces in the playoffs is bad for baseball.

The onslaught of dynamic young players has already helped to put the steroid era into the past, which is something that baseball drastically needed. This postseason could be huge for someone to vault themselves into superstardom.

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