The Jeter thing has been blown out of proportion, at least by the NY media. The Sox were working on relays, and given that context, he seemed to be saying that the play was not fundamentally sound. Which it wasn't. He wasn't even insulting Jeter, unless you consider his opinion that the throw would have beat Giambi without the relay as a dig. He then called the play "amazing" after he (perhaps) realized that what he had said would be construed as an insult.
The NY media has decided to run with it because Jeter is the chosen one, with that play being the perfect example of gritty, intangible goodness that virtually no other SS makes because they are covering 2nd base. That and they love Bobby.
The Francona stuff is annoying and petty on both sides, but also being over done.
I respectfully disagree with the bold. There are an overwhelming number of baseball fans who feel Jeter was out of position on that play, and either lucky or amazingly intuitive. I think it was neither, and that Jeter was exactly where he was supposed to be, but Tino Martinez was not.
The game situation is runner on 1st, 2 outs in a 1 - 0 game in the 7th. Terrance Long hits a ball into the right field corner and with Giambi on first (why Howe didn't pinch run for him I'll never know) there is the possibility of a play at the plate. Soriano correctly goes out to take the deep cut off throw and Martinez should have positioned himself between home and first for a potential cut-off on a throw to the plate. Instead, he stayed near first very close to Soriano and out of position to make any kind of play. Jeter's responsibility on this play is to position himself between the mound and 2nd base, slightly to the 1st base side, so he can either take a throw at second in the event of a cutoff by Martinez and a Long overrun of the bag, be the cut-off man for a throw to 3rd (again if the ball is cut), or back-up the throw from right field in case of an overthrow
, which is exactly what he did. This is how I was taught to play a ball like that, and how I taught my players.
I have no doubt the Yankees practiced this play in spring training, and worry (not a lot) about exactly what fundamentals Valentine is teaching in spring training. Hopefully, Bogar is running them.
Below is the video of the play in question. One last comment - Derek Jeter is much maligned for being a terrible defensive SS, and his range, especially up the middle, does and always has sucked. But he has the best grasp of fundamentals of any SS I have ever seen.