Alex Belth of Bronx Banter, an actual authority on the subject, takes (friendly) issue with this statement from yesterday’s Milton Bradley post:

Some media folks love to posit Jeter and A-Rod as opposite poles, but really they are the same shiny clean-faced product designed for mass consumption. Jeter is just better at being Mickey Mantle.)

Alex says that is should read Jeter is better at being Joe DiMaggio. I considered that when I wrote the post, but decided to go with the Mick. Here’s Alex’s reasoning. I’m starting to think he’s right:

Because Jeter IS Dimaggio, cool, calculated, meticulously guarding his image. Mantle was the natural, all raw talent, and is known now as much for being a drunk womanizer–a mess like A Rod–as he was for being an icon like Marilyn Monroe and Jack Kennedy.

So is that the right analogy? Jeter is to DiMaggio as A-Rod is to Mantle? Could we do better? Is this a futile waste of time, in the same way that comparing players on the field to their predecessors is a waste of time? Or is it actually more apt than the statistical business?

4 Responses to “Analogies”

  • Did Mantle ever care about his image? A-Rod’s defining characteristic to me, besides his immense talent, is his self-consciousness. In other words, the opposite of “raw” talent. Highly refined talent, maybe.

    That said, Jeter-Dimaggio does feel more appropriate. But A-Rod and Jeter are similar in the deliberate curation of their public personae.

  • Surely just as awesomely relevant as statistical comparisons.

    But then you need to decide where you’re going with it, does this context require teammates to be compared to teammates rather than successors? Etc.

  • think jeter-dimaggio/a-rod-mantle is a pretty good comparison, but mostly i just have to say how much i love the persona comparisons! star images (self-constructed and media cosntructed) are absolutely as important as stats and so comparisons, futile or not are indicative as means, even if not as ends.

  • Who am I kidding, for this blog they are way more relevant than statistical comparisons. Ted, you make a good point about A-Rod and Jeter both caring about their images Ember, I’m not sure if there are any flat rules, are there? We don’t believe in rules at P&P.

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