Derek Jeter was great, and MLB Network will spend 64 hours of programming to show you why

Sure, some sports are back. But "sports" as we know them are largely still on pause due to the coronavirus pandemic. Today is Day 79 without sports. ⚾️

We're closing in on three months in various states of sheltering at home, and boy, does MLB Network want to twist that knife a bit for an increasingly restless yet still largely captive audience.

See, baseball's state-run network is bombarding you with 64 hours of programming on Derek Jeter, who did nothing but show up and play baseball for a couple of decades and win a few championships. Yet, in various dark corners of this amorphous place we call The Internet, you'd think he was Luis Sojo with a better jawline. 

Well, we're here to deliver the backlash to the backlash to the backlash. 

Derek Jeter was an awesome baseball player. 

There. 

No doublethink is necessary here. 

Yeah, we hear you: He was defensively challenged as a shortstop for much of his career. He spoke in painful platitudes while maintaining a public veneer of the modern, personality-averse megastar. The gift baskets were weird. 

But good god, let's not overthink this. 

Friday marks the 25th anniversary of his major league debut, hence the reason for the network bombarding us with The Flip, Mr. November, Jeffrey Maier and other assorted high-water marks in Jeter's career.

It was a pretty good career! 

Derek Jeter celebrates his home run in the 10th inning of Game 4 of the 2001 World Series at Yankee Stadium. (Photo: USA TODAY)

Let's get beyond the 3,465 hits that some might reduce to "compiling" and the meh defense and the many championship rings and explore other reasons why Jeter was great:

Jeter got on base: Since everybody hates batting average, let's linger over the fact the man reached base at a .377 clip over 20 seasons. He finished sixth or better in OBP five times, including a .438 mark in 1999, which by WAR was his best season. Alas, he finished sixth in MVP voting that year. Let's just say it was, ahem, a different era. 

Jeter posted: In 17 of his 19 full major league seasons, Jeter played in at least 131 games, only a freak collision at third base in 2003 and a gruesome broken ankle in the 2012 playoffs that robbed him of 2013 sidelining him for extensive stretches. He played at least 148 games in 15 seasons. Not quite Ripken-esque, but nearly as reliable.

Jeter really was Mr. Oct-vember: Let's pause for a moment and recognize a really, really great season of baseball: 158 games played, .308 average, .374 on-base, .838 OPS, 20 homers, 111 runs scored. OK, that's not one season — it's merely Jeter's playoff statistics over 16 postseasons. Yeah, the clutch thing wasn't merely #narrative. 

Jeter killed everybody: And within those statistics are an almost entire league of shattered dreams. A list of the teams Jeter's Yankees eliminated at least once from the postseason: Rangers, Orioles, Indians, Red Sox, Mariners, Athletics, Twins, Angels, Phillies, Mets, Braves and Padres. That's more than half the AL and 12 of all 30 major league teams. Only the Tigers (2006, '11 and '12) had his number.

So get outside this weekend, if you can. If not, don't hate. Watch and appreciate. 

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Sports on TV

MLB (classic): Jeter-palooza hits a late crescendo, with Game 1 of the 1996 ALCS at 7 pm. ET and Game 5 of the 1996 ALCS at 10 p.m. on MLB Network. 

NFL (classic): At 7 p.m. ET, FS1 has "The Catch II," in which Terrell Owens plays the hero in the San Francisco 49ers' wild-card playoff win over the Green Bay Packers on Jan. 3, 1999. 

NBA (classic): John Stockton deserved more run in "The Last Dance." See one of his biggest moments — Game 6, 1997 Western Conference finals — at 6 p.m. ET on NBA TV.

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