Thursday, September 16, 2010

...Derek Jeter

The buzz of the day has been the actions of Yankees' shortstop Derek Jeter and how he was able to act his way onto first base last night against Tampa Bay.

If you didn't see it, in the top of seventh inning, Jeter squared to bunt. The pitch was inside and he pulled his bat back. The pitch hit off the knob of the bat and Jeter immediately acted as though the pitch hit him and he was awarded first base. The next batter was Yankees outfielder Curtis Granderson who hit a two run home run that gave the Yankees a 3-2 lead at the time.

I'm looking at this from two conflicting sides. As a former minor league pitcher, that part of me doesn't like the base being awarded. But as a coach, I struggle with giving up a base late in a tight game. Another thing is that I have seen plenty of wrong calls the other way - umpires ruling a batter being hit as a foul ball.

There are wrong calls at every base on any given night. Runners that are safe are called out. Pitches that are strikes are called balls. One of the great things about baseball is the adversity that you fight through on any given night.

I'm not going to go so far and call it cheating as many others have. The umpire awarded Jeter the base and I don't think anyone expects any player to turn a free base down. What I have a problem with is the way he reacted. Was it necessary to throw your bat down, bend over and wait for the trainer to arrive? Acting as though the ball hit you and putting on a show to make the umpire believe it is a little overboard for me.

If the umpire makes a bad call so be it. But you don't have to make a fool of the umpire.

I'd like to think that Karma works itself out in any situation. In the bottom of the seventh, Rays DH Dan Johnson hit a two run home run to give the Rays a 4-3 lead. The bullpen held the Yankees scoreless and preserved the win to put Tampa Bay back into first place.

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