“I was going to give him a couple of pipe shots,” Wainwright said. “He deserved it. I didn’t know he was going to hit a double or I would have changed my mind. I thought he was going to hit something hard to the right side for a single or an out. I probably should have pitched him a little bit better.”
Chances are the negative fallout from the event will blow over relatively quickly. But this much is certain: Wainwright’s biggest claim to fame in New York will no longer be freezing Mets outfielder Carlos Beltran with a curveball in the ninth inning of Game 7 in the 2006 National League Championship Series.
Wainwright will undoubtedly be subjected to his share of criticism over the coming days. He’ll be accused of raining on Jeter’s parade, of cheapening the Captain’s moment and of undermining the integrity of the All-Star Game. He understands that better than anyone, which is why he spent the better part of 10 minutes after the game flogging himself for his bad judgment.
And now, the faux outrage because this time it counts. Apparently.
I’m so baffled by all of this. Of course Adam Wainwright grooved a couple of pitches to Derek Jeter on Derek Jeter night, the night Derek Jeter’s name was mentioned 100 times during the broadcast (and mostly rightfully so, by the way). He stood behind the mound and APPLAUDED THE HITTER before the at-bat. The hitter congratulated the catcher and wished him well. What, did you expect Wainwright to throw a bow-tie and snap off a couple of breaking balls? Of course not! Here are my best fastballs. Hit ’em if you can. Pitchers have made careers out of doing that. Never mind the fact that it was the first inning of an All-Star Game where, typically, you try to throw a couple of strikes to kick off the meaningless exhibition. It doesn’t count. The last thing on the minds of 90% of the players last night was home-field advantage in the World Series, a nebulous prospect even for those on the best teams.
Wainwright made his comments to reporters during the game (because the game counts, obviously) and, thanks to 2014, this surreal moment was created, when Wainwright, sensing the unnecessary backlash, felt the need to apologize and claim it was a joke… also during the game:
“I don’t know. It’s a distraction, and I do not want to be a distraction. I want it to be all for Derek.”
Stop talking, Adam. Just stop talking. We get it. You’re an annoying boyfriend right now, over-apologizing for not meeting up with your girlfriend when you said you would, but your girlfriend didn’t even want you there because she doesn’t like you and she’s glad you didn’t show up and your over-apologizing is getting you even closer to the brink of dumptitude because it makes you seem like even less of a man than she already thinks you are. Just… let it go, man. Let. It. Go. You attacked the strike zone, against a legend, in the first inning of an All-Star Game. You shouldn’t have said anything, but you did, and we understand. We all get it, and those who don’t need to get more sun. You think Jeets cares? 1) He’s got a swimsuit model waiting for him:
And 2) this is the perfect opportunity for a well-I’m-just-so-humbled-by-the-experience-so-I’ll-continue-to-be-my-classy-self moment*:
“If he grooved it, thank you. You still got to hit it. I appreciate it if that’s what he did. Thank you.”
No, really, THANK YOU. I got a hit, got to look good in front of the media again – and – I’m going home with my model girlfriend tonight. The joke is on literally everyone else right now. Yeah Jeets!
*Also, is it just me, or has Jeter taken on the soft tone that Hall of Fame-bound veterans and retired stars get once they realize they’re bigger than the game? It happens to a lot of guys– Peyton Manning, Larry Brown, Tim Duncan, Mariano Rivera. When speaking publicly, they start talking in gentler, almost melodic notes, as if they are trying to convey their deference to the moment at hand. I think it’s genuine, but I’m not sure. Jeter’s got it now.