There has been a lot of discussion lately on this blog, the media, around Baseball, and in Congress, over whether or not Jeter should have acted as though he was hit by a pitch in the seventh inning of Wednesday's game in Tampa. While a Congressional hearing will probably be scheduled, it seems only right that the blog best known for respecting Jeter's gangster do a comprehensive review that should probably inform all future discussions of the event.
First, we lay out the situation. Jeter was up at the plate, representing the tying run in a 1-2 ball game. Were he to get on base, it would put Curtis Granderson in a position to display that famous power from the left side we all dreamed about when Bronny Cash traded for him. Then, a pitch inside, a quick pulling in of the hands by Jeter. The ball strikes. Something. What? No one is sure. But the ball rolls into fair territory where it is picked up by the pitcher and thrown to first. By then the ump had already called Jeter hit by the pitch, but Maddon was on his way out to argue. This all happens in about 9/10s of second, according to the RJG atomic clock/stopwatch.
Jeter, aware of the situation, had to act fast. The following is a transcript of what transpired.
[distinct sound of ball hitting the knob of a bat]
Jeter: Oh f*@k! My hand! My f*@king hand! S#!t! There's so much pain. F*@k.
Umpire: Take your base.
Jeter: I've never felt so much f*@king pain. I think I may have to sit out the rest of the season. F*@k.
[Jeter throws himself to the ground in agony as Joe Maddon begins arguing with the home plate umpire].
Maddon: That ball hit the bat. It's a fair ball and he's out. The throw beat him to first.
Jeter [still on the ground]: F*@k. S#!t. Minka's not going to love me anymore.
Umpire: He's clearly hurt. My ruling stands.
Maddon: That's bulls#!t. Unless one of my players did it, but you have to make that call!
Umpire: the call is take your base.
Jeter: I think my pancreas is shutting down. Oh f*@k. Somebody call a priest!
[Girardi and Geno reach Jeter, still writhing in agony on the ground and slyly gagging himself in order to induce vomiting]
Girardi: Keep it up Jete, we're almost home free.
Geno: I'll start wrapping your ankle for no apparent reason. Just stay down.
[Exasperated Maddon, unable to convince the umpiring crew, heads back to the dugout. Jeter gets up, and calmly jogs over to first base].
So did Jeter cross the line? Clearly he did not. He didn't start crying, which would have violated the unwritten rule that there's no crying in baseball. He didn't cross the pitcher's mound, or show up his manager. He also wasn't swinging away on a 3-0 pitch in a blowout game. The only conclusion is that Jeter displayed an extraordinary level of gamemanship. It's like when you're playing checkers, and someone sets you up for a quadruple jump. You don't tell the guy what he's doing. You sit there expressionless until he lifts his finger off the game piece, then you yell "buyaka!" as you quadruple jump his @$$.
How has this affected Jeter's legacy? Positively. We all knew Jeter could slap hit the other way, and run out every ground ball, and do that amazing jump throw, but now we know that Jeter can curse and act his way onto first whenever he needs to.