Derek Jeter hit by pitch discussions are still swirling two days later. The Derek Jeter hit by pitch controversy shows that even Jeter is vulnerable to being called a cheater these days. By faking being hit by a pitch, and being too obvious about it, the Yankees captain is facing a rare backlash. Yet given his years of good will, many are still willing to defend him, and even use the defense that everyone cheats. However, at the least, the Derek Jeter hit by pitch incident is another black mark on his most difficult season in some time.
It has been two days since Jeter faked getting hit by a close pitch during a major showdown between the Yankees and Rays. He was awarded the base anyway, but it did not lead to an extra Yankees run, or a Yankees victory. In fact, New York is now in second place in the AL East, while their captain is facing unprecedented backlash.
Before the Derek Jeter hit by pitch scuffle, the shortstop had been held as a paragon of leadership — or at least more so than some of his teammates. He still may have that reputation, but it took a little bit of a hit this week. However, this whole season has also served to knock him down a peg.
Jeter had been in an uncharacteristic slump this September, and had his overall numbers this season slip below his average. In fact, some questioned whether he should still be the leadoff hitter, in spite of his experience. Wednesday’s hit-by-pitch controversy served as another step back this month.
After the season ends, Jeter will have to sign a new deal with the Yankees, which most expect him to do. Yet after this mixed year, debate will rage on how much he will be able to get from New York, and whether he might have to take less. The Derek Jeter hit by pitch mess won’t alter that discussion, but his performance in October might.
If he does not get any better, the Rays might be able to hold the Yankees off for the division, and ensure that they will have no home field advantage this postseason. With the Rays, Twins and Rangers waiting in the playoffs, and with the Phillies, Giants, Braves and more waiting from the National League, a repeat might not be a sure thing.
Compared to his past, the Derek Jeter hit by pitch ordeal is a drop in the bucket. But so are bad Octobers, and the Yankees don’t want him to start making that a habit either. As Jeter returns to the field at Baltimore tonight, he has more than one bit of bad news to make up for in the weeks ahead.
Chicago Tribune- “Was it OK for Jeter to fake getting hit by pitch?”
SB Nation- “Derek Jeter’s Struggles, And Pitchers’ New Plan Of Attack”