Yesterday, fans of Major League Baseball watched Derek Jeter take the field one last time for the American League All-Star team. Before the 2014 season began, Jeter announced that this would be his final year as a professional baseball player.
Everyone wondered what type of performance Jeter would have in his last All-Star Game appearance. However, spectators did not have to wait very long to discover that Jeter would go out with a bang.
Jeter batted first for the AL in the bottom of the first inning, facing the St. Louis Cardinals’ ace Adam Wainwright. Jeter drove the second pitch into right field for a double. Mike Trout, who would go on to win the All-Star Game MVP Award, scored Jeter on a triple to give the AL an early lead. All was well in Jeter’s final All-Star Game.
However, Wainwright later admitted to throwing easily hittable pitches to the Yankees’ captain. His comments drew criticism from media and fans alike. Although they were upset with Wainwright about the pitches he threw, the bigger problem was that he admitted his actions. Many believed Wainwright should have kept quiet about the issue.
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Later in the game, Wainwright told reporter Erin Andrews he was joking about what he said and that his comments were taken the wrong way. He did not want this to be an issue during Jeter’s final appearance.
A similar situation occurred in the 2001 All-Star Game in Seattle. That would be the last All-Star Game for Hall of Famer Cal Ripken, Jr. In his first at bat, Ripken took Los Angeles Dodgers’ pitcher Chan Ho Park deep for the first run of the game. Later, it was alleged that Park may have given the Oriole shortstop an easy pitch to hit.
Wainwright may have put a small damper on Jeter’s performance. Yet, this is the last All-Star Game for one of the greatest shortstops to ever play in the Major Leagues. It is fitting that Jeter exited with a solid performance during the game. However, if the Cardinals make the World Series this year, Wainwright will be bitter that his actions may have cost the team home field advantage.