Jeter, 33, pointed out you can get the exact same ground ball off the exact same pitcher and there could be an average runner or there could be Ichiro running. "How can you compute that?" he asked.
You can't. That's one reason Yankees senior advisor Gene Michael was infuriated by the University of Pennsylvania report.
"Something like that is a disgrace," the scout said. "It made me ill when I read that article. First of all, what pitching staff was out there? Each team has a different staff. Derek doesn't really have a sinkerball pitching staff whereas other shortstops, you sit behind certain pitchers, you're going to get a lot of ground balls.
"You simply can't do that by those charts, that's a bunch of baloney," Michael added. "It's disgraceful. You have to use a scout's eye to determine range."
What about Jeter's range now in his 13th major league season?
"It's not as good as it was, but it's not bad," Michael said. "You might put some people ahead of him range-wise, but that doesn't mean they are better shortstops. Look how sure-handed he is, look how clutch he is. That makes up for a lot."
The specific criticisms of the study leveled by Jeter and Michaels just indicate that they haven't bothered to see what the methodology was.
But this reminds me of the scene in "When Harry Met Sally," where Billy Crystal tells Bruno Kirby that the warning sign is when you ask if a woman is attractive, and the response is that she has a good personality.
Clutch = Good personality. And when every criticism of Jeter's defense results in a response about how clutch he is, that should tell you something.