Derek Jeter Admits Hit by Pitch Struck Bat, Not Him, in Loss to Rays
With one out in the frame, no one on and the Yankees trailing 2-1, Jeter squared to bunt against Qualls. As he spun away from Qualls' inside pitch, the ball appeared to strike Jeter and he immediately grabbed his left arm in apparent pain. Home plate umpire Lance Barksdale awarded Jeter first base, something the New York shortstop didn't argue, but Rays manager Joe Maddon did, leading to his ejection.
"(Barksdale) told me to go to first base. I'm not going to tell him I'm not going to first, you know," Jeter said.
"It's part of the game. My job is to get on base. Fortunately for us it paid off at the time, but I'm sure it would have been a bigger story if we would have won that game."
They very nearly did, and Jeter's acting job would have served as the catalyst had the Yankees' bullpen been able to hold on against the Rays.
Curtis Granderson, the next hitter, belted a two-run home run off Qualls that put New York on top 3-2. That lead was erased by Dan Johnson in the bottom half of the inning on his second two-run blast of the game.
But what may be most interesting here, you know, aside from the obvious pennant-race implications, are how Jeter's most loyal supporters -- both fans and media -- will react to such a blatant case of dishonesty.
Some of them will likely to be taken aback, while others will use it as an opportunity to heap endless praise on the Yankees captain for his heads-up play and instincts.
Those of us who are adults about it and realize that Jeter is a very intelligent and very good baseball player, but definitely not a saint, will carry on with another piece of proof that exactly that is true.
Count Maddon among the final group.
"If our guys had did it, I would have applauded that. It's a great peformance on his part," he said. "Several players are very good at that. And again, I'm not denigrating it. If our guy does it, I'm very happy with that if we end up getting the call. ... Fortunately it didn't cost us."
Information from the Associated Press used in this report.
FanHouse TV's Steve Phillips weighs in on Derek Jeter's gamesmanship: