How Well Do You Know Derek Jeter? (Quiz)
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How Well Do You Know Derek Jeter? (Quiz)

The Captain.

"Now batting for the Yankees, the shortstop, number 2, Derek Jeter! Number 2!"

It only seems like yesterday when we last heard Bob Sheppard voice Derek Jeter's final at-bat before he head off into the sunset. It's an appropriate introduction for an appropriate legend.

Jeter was, and still is, my favorite athlete. For him, it's not just about his on-the-field accomplishments, but his off-the-field ones as well. He's a class act, and if I were to one day meet him, I would be so thankful.

Anyways, the YES Network (Yankees Entertainment and Sports Network, regional sports channel that broadcasts Yankees games) is about to stage Jeter Week, a week of programming full of Jeter tributes leading up to Mother's Day -- on that day, Derek Jeter's No. 2 jersey will be retired by the team.

In honor of this feat, and the man himself, test your knowledge on Jeter by taking this 15-question quiz on his career.

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Don't Look Now, But The Yankees Are Back

Make no mistake about it: the Bronx Bombers are back.

Seven consecutive seasons without a championship win isn't many in a 30-team league. But in the Bronx, greatness is expected. Championships are expected to be won.

Since winning their MLB-record 27th World Series in 2009, over twice as many as the next best team, the New York Yankees have underachieved and fallen short of that expected greatness.

Now, eight years later, that greatness has returned. And it's done so in a form not many would have expected eight years ago. There is no more Derek Jeter. No more A-Rod. No more Mark Teixeira, Hideki Matsui, or Robinson Cano, all players that made the 2009 team the powerhouse 103-win team that it was.

This year's team, which has the best record in the MLB through May 7th (21-9), has none of those players listed above. Not one. Coming off of four consecutive seasons in which the Yankees failed to advance into a five-game playoff series, this team wasn't expected to be what it is right now. But what it is right now is unstoppable.

This year's team is made up of plenty of greatness in its own right. The difference is that these players have not yet been recognized for what they are and what they have the potential to be. A couple weeks ago, only a select few would have heard of Aaron Judge, the 25-year-old rookie slugger that is tied for the MLB lead with 13 home runs, is tied for the MLB lead in WAR (Wins Above Replacement) with 2.5, and became the first rookie to hit 13 home runs in the first 25 games of a season in MLB history. Now, he is a household name.

Starlin Castro, a player many people actually had heard of prior to this season, is only in his second season with the Yankees. He is an eighth year second baseman who, albeit a solid player, hit above .300 just once in his first seven seasons. But right now, he is currently leading the American League with a .358 batting average and is tied for 2nd in the majors with 44 hits.

Still not convinced that this team is great? Well, the start that the Yankees have had this season is no fluke, so eventually this point will get across. If it were a fluke, they wouldn't be leading the American League in runs scored and leading the entire MLB in run differential, trailing only the Washington Nationals, an established star-studded Goliath of a team in the National League, for the MLB lead in runs scored. Also, despite not having a true Cy Young contender as a pitcher, the Yankees are 2nd in terms of least runs allowed in the American League and 3rd in the MLB.

No team gets to this point in the season with these kinds of players and numbers, both offensively and defensively, as a fluke. A fluke would be a hot, short stretch of games to start the season. Not 30 games. Not with what this team has accomplished and is accomplishing. It's starting to seem like this team losing more than one game at a time is a fluke. At this point, it probably is.

Greatness has returned to New York City. Make no mistake about it: the Bronx Bombers are back.

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God Bless Jeter And A-Rod For Not Punching This Dude In The Face

Journo majors: This is how to NOT do an interview.

Prepare to cringe.

Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez were subjects on a recent interview with Bob Pisani on CNBC's Squawk Alley program. But things are just so wrong from start to finish that it feels less of a CNBC interview and more like a cringe comedy sketch from Saturday Night Live.

Bringing up beef between the two from 5-10 years ago and saying you couldn't figure out how long A-Rod played in the big leagues, while funny, I feel is kind of a lack of professionalism -- especially considering this is a charity event interview. Also, did this guy really not know what Jeter's Turn 2 Foundation is, despite it being around since Jeter's rookie season in the bigs?

Pisani accidentally calls Jeter "Alex" at one point, and asks Jeter if he enjoyed the Met...even though A-Rod already said Jeter wasn't there. I honestly can't blame the two, especially A-Rod, for laughing and trying to keep composure.

This was pure cringe comedy. And for journalism majors, another example to please be professional, do your full research before the interview, and listen in the interview.

Side note: During Game 1 of the Rangers-Senators Eastern Conference Semifinal that was on CNBC last week, I swore I heard a woman on the studio panel say the Rangers are trying to get to their first Eastern Conference Final in six seasons...even though they've been in three of the last five and went to the Stanley Cup in 2014. So, maybe we should just stop having sports stuff on CNBC.

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Is "The Judge's Chamber" Too Much?

It's happened. Something that I had no clue was coming but it happened.

The Yankees decided to build a new cheering section for upcoming superstar Aaron Judge during their road trip two and a half weeks ago. They opened it up two weeks ago from yesterday for their Monday night game vs. the Kansas City Royals, the first of a four-game home stand. First of all, I have to say this looks beautiful.

Yes, fans who have been following not only the Yankees but baseball in general this year know that Aaron Judge is something special. He top three in the league with 17 home runs, and is showing fans that he has a personality despite his calm composure.

At first glance some might say this is too much (including myself). But let's look at the MLB's history with this sort of thing. In 2011 the Seattle Mariners announced the King's Court, a section for each of pitcher Felix Hernandez's starts for the remainder of the season. In 2009 the Los Angeles Dodgers designated field-level seats for Mannywood, a section in left-field for then outfield Manny Ramirez. Therefore, this innovation is not unheard of.

Some might also say this is too soon. Well, this is of course at the end of the day just a marketing tool to sell more tickets. However, according to Ben Walker of the Associated Press, tickets for these seats are not to be available for sale. Instead, true Judge fans flaunting their shirts and jerseys (like the youngster above) will be chosen to sit there. Walker of the AP also says they plan to branch out for community groups, charity organizations, Little Leagues, schools, hospitals and others to occupy the space.

Now what is the harm in all this? I don't see any. I mean the worst that can happen is the rain ruining the wood but I think a tarp should get the job done. JUDGE IS A BEAST.

In no way do I see his production slowing down any time soon, but why not celebrate some early success. NY sports have been so depressed as of late (thanks, Knicks) and the Yankees as a whole have been such a bright spot.

I can see how "The Judge's Chamber" could be a bad idea for a Bryce Harper (a lot of haters), but Judge knows his job: "All the off-the-field stuff, the promotions, they're great. But I've still got a job to do on the field. If I'm not doing my job on the field, all this other stuff wouldn't be happening."

Let's roll with this thing. I think all 18 fans dressed like this is not that bad.

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Why You Need To Be Paying Attention To The Astros

Consider this your weekly baseball PSA.

The Houston Astros. They have been kind of a failure of a team for a lot of years, but have suddenly started their ascension into respectability. Well, they've reached a new peak and are taking baseball by storm.

Here are some of the reasons you should stop ignoring them (other than because they're back, baby).

They've Got The Best Record In Baseball
27-12. That's the Astros record. That's amazing, especially for a team that had a record of 51-112 only four years ago.

Plus, they beat the New York Yankees in a four game series, including a 10-7 thrashing in the final game (on Derek Jeter Day). They are dominating baseball and it doesn't look like it's going to stop. They've got the momentum and they are just going up.

They're Second In ERA And Fourth in Batting Average In The MLB
The Astros have an overall ERA of 3.53. The only team better than them, the LA Dodgers, have an overall ERA of 3.43. And for their overall batting average, they're fourth in the MLB, just behind the Nationals, the Brewers and the Yankees. Not too shabby.

Six Pitchers Have An ERA Below 3.00
The fact that six Astros pitchers have an ERA below 3.00 is really impressive. Eight pitchers have an ERA below 4.00. So their pitching game is really good. It's no surprise that with ERAs like that, they are second overall in the league for ERA average.

They've Almost Won 70 Percent Of Their First 40 Games
From the MLB Stat of the Day, the Astros are on track to win 70 percent of their first 40 games. Three of the four teams to do so have gone on to win the World Series. If that doesn't tell you that they're doing great, I don't know what does.

In 2014, Sports Illustrated called the Astros the "2017 World Series Champs". If they keep playing the way they are, that has a possibility of coming true.

This is just a little reminder to not be surprised if you find your favorite team being beat by the Astros. Yes, the Astros were bad for a lot of years, but they are getting really good now. So start paying attention and look out.

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The Wild, Winning Career Of Manu Ginobili


As the final minutes ticked away for the San Antonio Spurs 2016-17 season last night and coach Gregg Popovich pulled his starters off the court, there was a realization that came to fans in the AT&T Center and fans across the world. Manu Ginobili, the soon to be 40 year old guard whose professional basketball career began when Peyton Manning was a sophomore QB at Tennessee and Derek Jeter had yet to become shortstop for the New York Yankees, might be walking away from the game of basketball.

Sports Illustrated writer Chris Ballard wrote this about Ginobili and his teammates Tim Duncan and Tony Parker during the 2013 NBA Finals.

"They have spent 11 seasons together, and they are no longer young. Duncan is 37. Parker is 31. Ginobili is 35 but thinks he's 25. His body is closer to 55."

During his 15 career in the NBA, Emanuel David Ginobili Maccari has played in 992 regular season games, 213 postseason games, 144 games during his three years in Lega Basketball and the Euroleague, and spent another four years from 1995-98 playing in Argentina for the Argentinian pro league. Combine that with his normalcy on the Argentinian national team during the summer, and we have a man has spent more minutes on the basketball court than most of us have spent in school, in our house, or alive!

Oh, and don't forget the two All-Star games.

The two All-Star games are very telling though. Aside from Kobe Bryant, no other shooting guard was better in the Western Conference since the turn of the century.

In Europe, Manu was the top player in his league. In the NBA and under the Gregg Popovich and Spurs system, with players like Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and eventually Kawhi Leonard, Manu's game became an integral part of Spurs basketball and four championships.

Just look at James Harden (the bearded guy Ginobili rejected in the final seconds of a postseason game two weeks ago). He is the top man in Houston after coming off the bench as a sixth man with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Had Ginobili chosen to leave San Antonio after the 2004-05 championship season to become the man on his own team, his career numbers would look just as good, if not better than the numbers Harden is currently putting up. Manu's influence in the game is clear. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Ever wonder where Harden got that Euro step from?

What fans and people are going to miss about Ginobili is the passion he brings to the game and the "feel" he has on the court. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, who looks like the human version of grumpy cat, often jokes about the levels of patience coaching Ginobili is needed.

The best player to compare him would be quarterback Brett Favre of the Green Bay Packers, who retired the all time leader in passing yards, touchdown passes, and interceptions. With Manu, you will have the player that makes you want to throw a brick through a television and will increase your blood pressure. But Pop said it the best.

"I had to stop coaching him because if you put him too much in a cage, you lose his benefit."

Only a player with supreme confidence and competitive will would try in vain to block a 7-foot Dirk Nowitzki in the 2006 NBA postseason or successfully block James Harden 11 years later. Only someone crazy would take a game winning charge from a speeding Carmelo Anthony moments after making the go ahead layup over three defenders. And only a great floor general would lead his nation's team past the powerful USA in the 2004 Olympics and obtain a gold medal.

If this is the last time we see the Long Star's wild card on the court, it's been one hell of a ride.