Derek Jeter is obviously one of the all-time greats in baseball, and on Tuesday night in Minneapolis the career-long Yankee made his final appearance in the MLB All-Star Game as part of his year-long retirement tour.
Jeter was batting leadoff for the American League despite having arguably his worst season as a big-league regular at age 40, which was obviously nothing more than a ceremonial tip of the cap. So in the first inning, National League starter Adam Wainwright apparently followed suit.
Jeter led off the inning with a sharp double down the right field line to spark a three-run opening frame from the American League en route to its 5-3 win, securing home-field advantage for the American League in the World Series.
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Later in the game, it came out that Wainwright told reporters in the clubhouse he "grooved" a pitch to Jeter, who finished the night 2-for-2 with the double and a single and scored the first run of the game in that first inning off Mike Trout's triple.
That's when the controversy started. It was wrong on several levels. Sure, if Wainwright wants to follow baseball's unwritten rule — there are several of them — of letting the retiring hero have his moment in the sun in his final All-Star Game (an exhibition game), then that's fine.
The problem lies with the fact Wainwright actually said something about it. First, it makes it look like he's almost patronizing Jeter, and second, it just looks really bad considering the game decided who will have home field in the World Series, and eight of the last 11 World Series winners have had that advantage.
Wainwright said his comments were taken out of context in an interview with Erin Andrews later in the game, which is questionable, at best.
Again, it's not a crime that Wainwright gave Jeter a pitch to hit. Look at who was hitting behind him, which was naturally the best protection a leadoff hitter could ever have considering it was an all-star lineup. The crime was actually telling people about it before the game was over, and Wainwright deserves heat for that.