Adam Wainwright claims he grooved pitches to Derek Jeter, later backtracks
St. Louis Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright later said he can “get a little carried away” at times with his mouth, but that did little to alleviate the folly of it all and the bush league decision to claim that he was grooving pitches to Derek Jeter during the New York Yankees legend’s first-inning at-bat during the 2014 MLB All-Star Game.
Presumably doing so to give “The Captain” a final shining moment in an All-Star Game, Jeter took advantage, hitting a double that proved to be the catalyst to a three-run first inning for the American League after Mike Trout tripled and Miguel Cabrera homered.
Wainwright met with reporters outside the National League clubhouse shortly after sub-par All-Star appearance and made his claim that he was serving up meatballs to Jeter.
“I was going to give him a couple of pipe shots, just because he deserved it,” Wainwright contended. “I didn’t know he was going to hit a double or I would have changed my mind on that.
“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 better.”
He probably shouldn’t have made those comments, but it was too late. Wainwright later went into damage control, again insisting he grooved a pitch for Jeter to hit while discussing how Trout and Cabrera managed to hit him hard without the benefit of a so-called freebie.
“If you go back to where the pitch that Cabrera hit out of the park, he’s a Nintendo-type player … Inside, off the plate, nobody keeps that ball fair,” Wainwright said. “I did not make a good pitch to Jeter, but I told you I was going to give him one to hit …
“The pitch to Trout, it was off the plate away. Sometimes, unfortunately, you tip your hat to these guys.’’
Wainwright then went back to his insistence that he served up a “pipe shot.”
“I was hoping [the ‘pipe shot’] would be the first pitch and he would take it, and I could say, ‘OK, I piped him one and he didn’t swing.’ But I spiked it in the dirt, so I gave him one more shot and he didn’t miss it.
“Nothing surprised me about him. He’s a great player.’’
Wainwright remained in full backtrack mode in the losing clubhouse after the American League rallied for two runs after the National League tied the score at three apiece for a 5-3 victory. He claimed he was running his mouth a bit too much and being so verbose got the best of him.
“I totally created something here that I did not want to create,” he said. “Sometimes I get a little carried away …. I never give one-word answers. I go into depth on things.
“When Derek Jeter was up, I went ball one on him. The worst thing you can do to a leadoff hitter is go 2-0. I’m definitely trying to throw a strike. I’m definitely not trying to give up a hit.
“I don’t know what else to say. It’s the truth.’’
It’s not what else he should have said, it what he shouldn’t have said in the first place.
For future reference, Wainwright should take a page from how Jeter handled the ensuing controversy that resulted from the pitcher’s careless, knee-jerk comments by displaying class and deflecting an inquiry into the situation in such a manner that it essentially put it all to rest.
When asked about Wainwright’s initial claims that he served him up fat pitches to hit, Jeter replied, “Thank you. But you’ve still got to hit them.”
Now that’s how you do it.