Seriously, let’s jump off this Derek Jeter high horse ride people have been craving to jump on since last night’s first inning.
Elephant in the room talk. Adam Wainwright didn’t have a good inning in the All Star Game last night. He got blistered for 3 runs and that included a double to Derek Jeter. After his outing, in front of a few reporters, Waino told them that he may have given Jeter a few pipe shots. A fastball MAY have been grooved. Nearby, Yahoo Sports writer Jeff Passan caught this comment and tweeted it out to 89,500 plus followers. Nothing serious, right? Playful comments…
Think again. A firestorm ensued. Yankees fans were mad Waino may have given their guy a free swing. St. Louis fans jumped on their pitcher for giving away home field advantage with the proposed ONE PITCH. Twitter exploded. The zoo opened up at night and crazies ran through the streets of social media. Wainwright backtracked when he heard he was trending for the wrong reasons and gave a live interview to FOX reporter Erin Andrews. Why did Waino do this? He is a first class guy and didn’t want to be misinterpreted. He cares about how he sounds and what kids will think of him as they grow up to be major league baseball players.
Here’s the deal. Waino made a joke. If you watch the Cardinals on a regular basis, you will notice Waino playing the part of team leader and class clown. I think he simply made a badly timed joke. People made a huge deal about it. As Jeter himself said after the game, you still have to hit the ball. Waino was throwing a get me over fastball when he was behind in the count. It would have been different if he stood at the mound and held up the fastball grip and pointed to where he was going to throw it. Wainwright got beat on a 90 mph fastball by a guy with over 3,000 hits. Is that really a huge deal? Is it worth all these tweets and words? NO. NO. However, this is the world we live in. People overreact and that includes your navigator here.It’s a human thing to do.
Very few people last night recalled on social media the gesture Adam Wainwright made when Jeter came to the plate. Wainwright took off his hat and glove and placed them on the mound so Jeter could step out of the box and get an extended greeting. That’s pure class. At that point, Jeter couldn’t care less if Waino threw him the pitch underhand. Waino paid true respect to Jeter without grooving anything.
The only reason this made news and became something is because the All Star Game has to mean something. Bud Selig figured a few years ago that making the midsummer classic a setting that determines home field advantage in the World Series was a good idea. In my humble opinion, he was wrong. What is wrong with having one game during the year not mean anything but a fun time for players and fans? The fans vote these players in and it should be a mildly competitive match with smiling, barely any pressure and no “GrooveGate”. Some people may differ with me there. I would just love to go back to the days where the All Star Game was game for the fans and not a game for high frenzy action and players sitting on the edge of their seat. The other 162 games count. The All Star Game doesn’t have to count for anything but a good time for people who love baseball.
This will blow over. Adam Wainwright will face The Dodgers this weekend and won’t joke at all until he is celebrating a win with his teammates. Wainwright is a very comfortable casual and fun seeking guy. He unleashed a joke last night that fell flat instead of bouncing. The reporters around him probably understood his sentiment and laughed with him. Passan merely did his job and tweeted out an interesting comment from a Cy Young caliber pitcher. Everything was harmless until the alarm sound and said this….”OH MY! WAINO IS GROOVING PITCHES IN A GAME THAT COUNTS!!! NOOOOOOO!!!”
As Ron Burgundy would say, “Boy, that escalated quickly.”
Let’s hope next time, people can take a joke and the players won’t have to back pedal over their words and forget how to enjoy a game where their excellence and popularity in the game is celebrated.
Have a good night, folks.