People are squawking about Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter winning his 5th Gold Glove this week. A lot of folks, like Rob Neyer of ESPN would have you think that Jeter was the worst shortstop to ever put on a glove.
OK, Jeter's range isn't what it once was. But the guy made 6 errors all-season long. His fielding percentage led the American League at .989, four points higher than the runner up, Cesar Izturis of the Orioles who had a .985 fielding percentage.
Is Jeter the best fielding shortstop in the league? No. But he's not the piece of crap that some people make him out to be.
Here's one for ya...with the game on the line, bases loaded, two-outs, you are up by a run, do you want a ball hit to Jeter or to someone else? Jeter will make the play, that I can tell you.
Meanwhile, in the National League, Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki won his first Gold Glove as did Rocks outfielder Carlos Gonzalez. Both well deserving.
The funny thing about the Gold Glove awards are it doesn't use fielding percentage, range, errors or any other statistical data to determine the winner. Managers and coaches vote on the award and they can't vote for players on their own team. Many players who have won the award have won it because of their offense. Offense generates headlines and the managers and coaches just vote for whoever comes to mind.
Also, when a player wins a Gold Glove, they tend to keep winning them.
Perfect example in 1999. Rafael Palmiero, who won the Gold Glove at first base for the Rangers in 1997 and 1998 when he played the position in more than 150 games, also won it in 1999 when he DH'ed 135 times and played first base in a grand total of 28 games.
So it basically is a popularity contest and we shouldn't get too worked up over the Gold Glove awards. Some guys deserve them and some guys don't.