Fictionalizing Jeter

I’m sure many of you have seen the Gatorade commercial featuring numerous dramatic stills. It came to my attention when Ian blogged about it recently. The commercial is below. In the spot it appears that Jeter notches a game winning hit off of Todd Jones with Carlos Guillen turning away in disappointment.

Through the wonder of Baseball Reference PI, we can see that such a hit never happened. Looking at each match-up between the two, there have been 16 in total, 12 while Jones was with the Tigers, and only 2 while Jones and Guillen were with the Tigers. As for the two at-bats in question Jeter had a ground out and a fly out.

So I guess I still have the same question Ian did…why the Tigers and why Jones? Here’s hoping that at least Jones got paid for it. And I guess the implication is that if Jones would have had Gatorade things would have turned out differently.


  1. Rocco

    January 14, 2008 at 8:30 am

    Are you kidding me????
    It is a commercial!
    Get a grip!!!!

    Conspiracy theorists like you should really be Red Sox fans.

  2. Jim

    January 14, 2008 at 8:35 am

    i like maria sharpova

    and yea the commercial is lame

  3. Dave

    January 14, 2008 at 8:38 am

    It’s a valid question, Rocco. Why fabricate the situation when Jeter has surely had real game winning hits against other teams?

  4. Kathy

    January 14, 2008 at 8:38 am

    Thanks for doing the homework, Billfer. I wondered about the same scenario and couldn’t seem to recall that HR. But like I told Ian, a better scenario “with the game on the line” would have been Maggs blasting away and Houston Street turning his back in disappointment. And, yea, ‘ol Jonsey must have been paid.

  5. jason

    January 14, 2008 at 8:48 am

    Rocco, did you not get your morning cup of coffee?

    Chill out. No one is forcing you to come to this site and read anything.

  6. Rings

    January 14, 2008 at 9:37 am

    Rocco…you bring up the Red Sox, which is exactly the point: if they were going to fictionalize a “Jeter Moment,” shouldn’t it be against Boston? Why use Detroit and their actual players? These are the only “losers” shown in the entire clip!

    Given that Tiger players have been continually shortchanged in media “voting” awards like MVP (’87, ’07?) and Hall of Fame inductions (Tram, Morris, Lou, Parrish, Sparky as a Red, etc.), it does lend one to question the “media” perspective towards the Old English D…

  7. Chuck

    January 14, 2008 at 9:48 am

    Not to get all “conspiracy theory” on you or anything, but I’m wondering whether it’s actually a compliment — a recognition that the tigers are now among th elite of the American League, and therefore a threat to the Yankees and Yankees fans. Although I do agree that it’s odd the Tigers were highlighted as the vanquished over the Red Sox.

  8. Rocco

    January 14, 2008 at 10:16 am

    I am a bit surprised Gatorade didn’t use Boston as the opponent to highlight Jeter, as the NYY BOS conflict would seem to be more well known amongst sports fans than any threat to NYY from DET….maybe Chuck is right and DET has finally come to be recognized as among the elite teams against which a fictional game turning HR would be meaningful.

    My protest is simply about reading too deeply into these things. I am sure it was a marketing decision, not an attempt to re-write baseball history or to insult the Tigers…hence my initial response. No offense intended

  9. Eddie

    January 14, 2008 at 10:37 am

    I’ve thought the same thing. I pointed that out the first time I saw the commercial, in that I don’t remember Jeter beating us with a walk-off the past two years.

  10. Ian C.

    January 14, 2008 at 11:00 am

    Here’s the difference between the way I blog and the way Billfer does: I just say “Whassup wit dat?” while Bill actually looks the stuff up. Well done, sir.

    Rocco appears to have calmed down from his initial comment, but I don’t think anyone is crying “conspiracy theory.” That will only happen if Jeter homers off Jonesy next season. 😉

    We’re just raising an eyebrow, because it’s interesting. But I think Chuck is right in that this could be a nod of respect toward the Tigers.

  11. Kurt

    January 14, 2008 at 11:16 am

    Like Chuck, I wondered myself “better to show him hitting a home run off a good team than a bad team.” Maybe the red sox cost too much to use, or Papelbon didn’t want any part in it, or any number of things.

    It’s interesting that it’s fiction. But really that’s about all I can really read into it.

    Nice work with the research, Bilfer!

  12. Kyle J

    January 14, 2008 at 11:16 am

    I noticed this and made a mental note to look up whether anything comparable had ever actually happened–but then forgot about it until seeing this.

    I thought the commercial was ironic given that the last time the Tigers and Yankees met in a high-stakes situation, it was the Yankees who walked away with their heads hung low.

  13. ivantopumpyouup

    January 14, 2008 at 1:25 pm

    I’m just amused that the catcher in the clip isn’t Pudge, it’s apparently Brad Ausmus. If you go by the styling of the mask.

    Okay, I’m a geek.

  14. Lou

    January 14, 2008 at 2:14 pm

    When was the last time Jeter actually had a game-winning hit? Last time I can remember was 2001 WS.

  15. Andrew

    January 14, 2008 at 3:07 pm

    Haha, actually I think it’s Mike Rabelo behind the mask. Pretty sure that’s the mask he wore all year. Considering Bilfer’s analysis during the summer of how well Todd Jones and Rabelo do together when closing a game (not so great), perhaps if this match-up ever were to happen with Rabelo behind the plate (impossible, now that’s he’s a Florida Marlin), Jeter would get that game winning HR (or whatever he’s hitting in the commercial). As Bilfer points out though, this is all a fictional game situation meant to sell a sports drink. Any true baseball fan would know the Tigers have had more postseason success in the last few years than the Yankees – at the expense of those same Yankees.

  16. Ryan

    January 14, 2008 at 3:18 pm

    Haven’t you all been paying attention? Jeter can do anything, even something that never happened. Plus he’s a gold glove shortstop. Plus he’s just such a gritty leader. And he can destroy cities with his mind.

    I just realized that in 10 years, the Sandberg-Whitaker HOF debate will be Jeter-Tejada*. Jeter will be in the HOF, Tejada will not. But who was better?

    *Disclaimer – I feel that we’re never going to know the true reach of steroids, so I refuse to assume anyone’s innocence or guilt. Therefore, steroids are not a HOF consideration to me.

  17. Kevin

    January 14, 2008 at 3:43 pm

    I think Ryan’s post nails it. Setting aside the issue of whether this game scenario ever happened versus Detroit or anyone else, and setting aside whether Jeter is an excellent player, which he is, the Gatorade ad is part of a larger Jeter mythology that perpetuates interchanging notions of “clutchness,” upstanding manliness and patriotism, among other things. Joe Buck probably has probably recorded this commercial on Tivo, with “keep until I delete” status, so that he can play it when ever he needs to get in the mood.

  18. Jim

    January 14, 2008 at 4:05 pm

    There’s a great article in this years Hardball Times annual about just how good (bad) Jeter is defensivly.

  19. Kurt

    January 14, 2008 at 4:46 pm

    And the part we all initially missed:

    Think this commercial will be played a lot during the AFC championship and thus give San Diego fans something to laugh about?

    Manning’s clutchiness really showed from the 5 with a chance to win yeseterday.

  20. Dave

    January 14, 2008 at 5:13 pm

    Ryan, would you say Jeter is more or less gritty than David Eckstein? What about Dustin Pedroia? And this isn’t even getting into their respective scrappiness.

  21. Rob in Ottawa

    January 14, 2008 at 6:20 pm

    Watching it, I think the commercial was made with computer animation that started out with still images. Ie. there was a still image of Jeter hitting with Rabelo behind the plant. Then they had Jeter pose in that position and hit a real baseball, thats why he moves while everything else stays still.

    Then the shot of him coming around 3rd with Jones looking on must have been based on someone else’s hit to score Jeter. In fact both occasions could have been a totally different player that got ‘overlapped’ by Jeter…who knows.

    It would be interesting to get an explanation from Gatorade, or more specifically the ad firm that made the commercial.

  22. K-Man

    January 14, 2008 at 6:51 pm

    Dave, I think Jeter’s too tall to be gritty or scrappy. I think it’s written somewhere that you have to be a little guy to be either one. Also, if I were Todd Jones, the next pitch I throw to Jeter is at his head, just to even things up.

  23. Ryan

    January 15, 2008 at 12:14 pm

    Dave, Eckstein is clearly grittier. He has posted a career GrEqP (grit equivalency percentage) of over .700. Jeter, on the other hand, has had seasons over .700, but is only .652 for his career. Pedroia has too small a sample size for an accurate GrEqP. On the other hand, Jeter has led the league for five stright years in RiE (ridiculous expressionlessness), while Eckstein has never even hit the top twenty.

  24. Zoidfarb

    January 15, 2008 at 1:55 pm

    I agree with Chuck’s interpretation: that it’s actually “a recognition that the Tigers are now among the elite of the American League.” But you don’t need to hit up to know that the situation was an amalgam of shots and never really happened: the first establishing shot shows Jeter digging in against a LHP. Jones, obviously, is not a LHP.

  25. Chris in Dallas

    January 16, 2008 at 3:26 pm

    I don’t know how gritty Jeter is but, according to the Sports Pickle, he did win a game with a dramatic walk-off intangible. I don’t know if Eckstein has ever accomplished that feat.

  26. Mark

    January 18, 2008 at 4:20 pm

    How do you know Jeter was batting?