Derek Jeter “Hit” by Pitch: Cheating or Gamesmanship?
This is a Dallas Cowboys-related site, but I like to comment on non-Cowboys (or even non-football) topics from time to time. Last night, Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter faked getting hit by a pitch to advance to first base. The pitch clearly hit his bat, but Jeter gave an Emmy-winning acting performance to trick the umpire into thinking the ball hit him.
The act has drawn both support and criticism. Some media have applauded Jeter’s acting job, claiming there’s nothing “illegal” about flailing around as if he was injured. Is it deceptive? Yes. But it’s also great gamesmanship by a veteran player.
Others argue that it’s cheating. It’s a dishonest move that results in an unfair advantage for the Yankees. After all, the pitch didn’t hit his body.
Personally, I can’t understand the flack Jeter is receiving from some for his decision to pretend to get hit. He’s a professional baseball player, and his job is to help the Yankees win baseball games. It isn’t to correct the umpires on their miscalls. As Jeter said after the game, “He told me to go to first base. I’m not going to tell him I’m not going to first, you know.”
It reminds me of my ball-playing days. I played centerfield for my high school team and we had a metal fence in the outfield such that it was difficult for spectators (and umpires) to determine if a batted ball was a home run or had bounced over the fence for a ground-rule double. People familiar with high school baseball know that when a ball bounces over the fence, the outfielder is supposed to raise his hand to alert the umpires that the ball is no longer in play.
On two separate occasions, I raised my hand after home runs that had just cleared the fence. The umpires saw it and rewarded the hitter with just a double. On one occasion the opposing coach actually knew it was a home run and ended up arguing and getting kicked out of the game, but that was irrelevant to me. I just raised my hand. . .nothing illegal about that.
So what do you think? Was Jeter wrong to pretend to get hit? Was I cheating when I raised my hand after home runs in an attempt to deceive the umpires? Tell us what you think . . .