If you think Derek Jeter is a magically clutch player, that he saves his best for the playoffs, that he defines leadership, then his performance last night was either conclusive proof or just another example of what you already know. Five hits. A homer. Three runs. A crucial DP. “Yankere Captain Personifies Greatness” is the lead story on ESPN.com. “Jeter, as Usual, Saves His Best for October,” is the Times’s take, which I’m, sure has prompted more than a few “Don’t forget November!!!”s among Yankee fans who remember 2001.
Does Jeter actually elevate his game in the playoffs? Could it be that last night was just a truly great night for a truly great player? (Would it be heresy to point out that one of those hits would surely have been an out if Detroit shortstop Carlos Guillen was in position? Is that even relevant?)
Small sample size? Perhaps. But for one day, anyway, presumptions hold.