Adam Wainwright clearly never took a lesson in integrity from the Derek Jeter school of baseball.
In interviews following his All-Star game start, Wainwright told reporters that he put his first-inning, 1-0 pitch to Jeter on a tee:
Jeter laced a double to right field, adding yet another memorable moment to his illustrious 20-year MLB career. But because of Wainwright, that moment is tainted.
Sure, Jeter deserved a hit or two in his 14th and final All-Star game appearance. But he deserved only what he could achieve on his own.
You don't tally 3,408 career hits because opponents grant them to you.
And on the other side, if you can muster the disrespect for the game to groove a pitch, at least keep your mouth shut.
Zip it. Lock it. Throw away the key.
The only decision worse than grooving the pitch was saying he did it.
By admitting to intentionally throwing a meatball in Jeter's wheelhouse, Wainwright publicly undermined the swing. He publicly undermined the double. Worst of all, he publicly undermined the moment because he authored the moment.
The Twitterverse exploded as reporters tweeted out Wainwright's quotes. Some, like NJ.com's Brendan Kuty, did not condemn Wainwright:
Although, Kuty would end up changing his mind about the situation.
But there's no justifiable stance in favor of Wainwright—Jeter's deserving of reciprocation of integrity aside.
The All-Star game is fun—for the players and the fans. The result also determines home-field advantage for the World Series. As inane as that is, it's also the truth.
Wainwright not only did Jeter a disservice; he also endangered his St. Louis Cardinals' chances of obtaining home-field advantage in the Fall Classic.
Jeter's double catalyzed a three-run first inning.
St. Louis carried a 52-44 record into the All-Star break. That pits them one game behind the Milwaukee Brewers for first place in the NL Central. They're also 0.5 games out of the wild card.
The Cardinals have a legitimate shot at reaching the World Series, and if they get there, Wainwright could have diminished their chances of winning.
But the World Series is still three months away. Tonight was about Derek Jeter.
And Adam Wainwright undermined the moment because he conspired to create it.
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