(Photo courtesy of The AP)
Are people really that fired up about Derek Jeter's fake HBP the other night? Is it really that big a deal?
All day yesterday I'm reading stories on all the blogs and all the major sports sites talking about the play, how it affects Jeter's legacy, what it means about his struggles this season, what would people be saying if A-Rod had done that, etc. Then I go home for lunch and SportsCenter's entire coverage of the game from that night was based around Jeter's play and everyone's reaction to it. Then I get home after work and that play is the lead topic on PTI and we're bringing in Tim Kurkjian and everybody else to talk about what Jeter's fake means in the context of expanding instant replay in baseball.
All I have to say is, are you fucking kidding me??? Is this real life right now??? What planet am I living on where this play becomes so newsworthy that it overshadowed the eventual outcome of the game and the subsequent changing of hands in the division lead again? Was it a sneaky play? Absolutely. Jeter knew he wasn't hit, but the ump didn't and Jeter took what the guy gave him, putting on a very convincing act in the process with superb supporting performances by Joe and Gene Monahan. He's certainly not the first guy to fake getting hit by a close pitch up and in and he certainly won't be the last. What Jeter did was no different than catchers trying to frame pitches to make them look like strikes or runners on 2nd trying to steal signs and I don't hear an uproar from the media about that.
The fact of the matter is, Jeter was playing to win, which is what you're supposed to do as a professional athlete. The umpire made the mistake and called him hit and Jeter ran with it. It's not his job to be the moral compass of baseball, it's his job to do whatever it takes to help his team win. It's not different than if somebody at a restaurant gives you too much change on your bill. Would you call them back and say "hey, there's too much money here?" If you would, then you're an idiot. You take what's given to you. That's what Jeter did and that's what every other player in that situation would have done, so just leave it at that and move on to more important things.