Derek Jeter’s Hit-By-Pitch: An Oscar-Winning Performance?

September 19, 2010   ·     ·   Jump to comments
Article Source: Bleacher Report - New York Yankees

Derek Jeter has dated his fair share of actresses and women with a flair for the dramatic—Mariah Carey, Jessica Alba, and Minka Kelly.  During last Wednesday’s game against the Rays, Jeter got to play a role in the acting as well. 

With the Yankees down 2-1 in the seventh and one out, Jeter was given first base on a supposed hit-by-pitch from Rays’ reliever, Chad Qualls.  The ball appeared to hit Jeter on the wrist after which Jeter grimaced in pain and even had the team trainer come out to check on him.

Rays’ manager, Joe Maddon came out to argue that the ball had hit the bat rather than Jeter and was subsequently thrown out of the game by umpire Lance Barksdale.  The next batter, Curtis Granderson hit a two-run homer that put the Yankees up 3-2. 

Although the Rays went on to win the game 4-3, Jeter was later criticized for his exaggerated reaction, particularly after admitting that the ball had, in fact, hit the bat rather than his wrist.

“Where did that ball hit?” a reporter from New York’s sports radio station, WFAN asked.  “The bat,” Jeter very matter-of-factly replied.  “He told me to go to first, I’m not going to tell him I’m not going to go to first.”

Many claimed that Jeter’s acting job was over-the-top and uncalled for.

The Yankee shortstop was particularly criticized given the well-respected image he maintains for his integrity, work ethic and dedicated approach to the game.  His reaction was called “pathetic” and “cheating,” and it called into question the high regard some fans and players hold for Jeter.

But Jeter actually demonstrated more gamesmanship in coming out and admitting the ball hit the bat when asked directly by reporters.

By taking first base after the pitch, Jeter wasn’t cheating—the umpire got the call wrong.  And the fact that he showed no remorse for his acting job and the accountability he demonstrated for his actions further reinforces his sound judgment—he had nothing to hide because he didn’t feel that he had done anything wrong.

Jeter’s response to the questioning was slightly sheepish, subtly scheming, but 100 percent honest, in an “Okay, okay, you got me!” way. 

And Jeter would likely have been questioned more for not having done so.  Actually, what Jeter did was kind of brilliant—his job is to get on base however he can to help his team win.

With an important game on the line in a tight division race, the fact that Jeter was alert and cognizant enough to think and react so quickly is precisely why he is respected as such a valuable player.  And while perhaps he overdid it a little with such an extreme reaction (maybe we can attribute that to Minka’s influence), it’s hard to blame him for riding with the momentum of the game. 

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