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Derek the Cheater…

September 16, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

During yesterday’s Rays-Yanks game, Derek Jeter was hit by a pitch… Or, not. Look, I obviously hate the Yanks, because, well, they’re the Yanks, but despite that, I’ve always kind of been a Jeter fan. Sure, at Blue Jay retreats I wear my Alfredo Griffin jersey and argue that the Yankee Captain couldn’t hold Tony Fernandez’s jockstrap, but if I could reinvent my fat ass as a baseball player, I would want to be a gold glove shortstop, who combines plate discipline, speed, power, and a flair for the dramatic. Basically, I would want to be Jeter, but you know, with actual range at short. Jeter’s obviously a Hall of Famer and he’s been a class act his entire career, but, come on… what he did last night was pure unadulterated BUSH-league.

Look, I’ve heard everyone from Michael Wilbon to Richard Justice claim that it was a “baseball play.” That cheating is a part of baseball and that Jeter’s job in that instant is to get on base, all of which is a big old load of bullsh*t. Taking the second point first: I can accept that Jeter’s job is to get on base in that situation and if he had simply stood up, heard the Ump call it a hit by pitch and demurely walked his way down to first, then I could accept that point. But, that’s not what happened. Derek flailed, grabbed his hand, looked agonized, had the trainer come out, and ultimately got Rays’ manager Joe Madden tossed. I mean, I kept waiting for some Portuguese medic to run out with a mystery water bottle, spray Jeter’s hand and make everything better. Come on, nobody in America liked the flopping display during the World Cup, and that is excactly what Jeter did. He flopped, rolled around on the ground, got the red card, hopped up and ran on. How is was it any different? It wasn’t.

Which brings us to the second point: cheating. Was it cheating? Well, I guess, perhaps, but not really. I mean, it wasn’t shooting horse tranquilizers into your butt cheek, nor was it a corked bat, heck it wasn’t even putting snot on the ball. It was “gamesmanship.” Cheap, bush-league gamesmanship. What I find interesting about all the punditry I’ve heard over this is… how is this any different than in 2004 when Alex Rodriguez slapped a ball out of Bronson Arroyo’s glove? ARod was killed for that. Likewise, he was killed when in 2007 he yelped at The Jays’ Howie Clark while running to third. Clark dropped the routine fly, the Yanks tacked on three runs, and ARod was lambasted for being cheap. As he should have been. It was bush, just like Jeter summoning his inner Mark Whalberg to get a free pass to first was bush.

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