Derek Jeter: Question of Character or Part of the Game?
Around 9:15 EST Wednesday night while playing the Tampa Bay Rays, Derek Jeter did something we have never seen him do, and might never expect him to do. Jeter has been an ambassador of the game and is known for being a class act throughout his career, but on Wednesday night...
Down one in the top of the seventh inning, Jeter led off and showed bunt on Chad Qualls' first pitch. The pitch flew inside and Jeter began to pull his bunt in. The ball tailed in and hit the bunt of Jeter's bat. The crack of bat was definitely profound and I thought he might have just gotten hit along with the bat because he was absolutely thriving in pain. Oh No! What if he broke a finger? Jeter is cringing, grabbing his arm and waning as the coaching staff goes to tend to him.
Then the replay comes.
The ball does not come close to hitting Jeter, directing off the end of the bat. Rays Manager Joe Maddon jumps out of the dugout and I begin to realize the certainty of him exiting to the clubhouse by the time his "conversation" with Umpire Lance Barksdale is over rather than end up back on the bench.
I attempt (to no avail) to explain to a friend why after a call like that coaches often inevitably end up getting tossed. Old school managers like Joe Maddon are going to get much more than their two cents in situations like these.
The question that comes into play here is whether Jeter making this type of display to get a call is a savvy move by a veteran player, or whether the Yankees most beloved player has a bit of a wicked side.
The Two Sides of The Coin
Viewpoint #1 (Potential Yankees Fan): Down 2-1 late a game that will decide who is leading the division at the end of the night, Jeter makes a crafty veteran move to try to help his team knotted at two. It is just another sacrifice that future hall-of-famer made to help his team in any feasible fashion? It brings you back to the early 20th century style of baseball. Bend the rules, win at all costs.
Viewpoint #2 (Potential Yankees Hater): Everybody thought Jeter was this baseball angel that could do no wrong, but tonight he finally showed his dark side. How could a player possibly toy with the integrity of the game for a measly hit by pitch, and of all people Derek Jeter. No player should fake being hit by a pitch, it is classless.
I lean towards the first description, but then again, I like Derek Jeter. I also like the classic grind it out style of baseball and think kind of mild "dirty play" is part of what the game is missing today. Regardless, it heats up rivalries and it heats up passion. Isn't that a good thing in itself?
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