Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Jeter Feeling 'Groovy' After Wainright Pipe Shot

Hey Adam Wainwright:

Maybe the next time you start the all-star game, don't through a cookie to the first batter you face!

And maybe, in case you do, in fact, serve up a giant meatball to the leadoff hitter, don't tell the media that you did so afterwards. It's insulting to the hitter...even if it's Derek Jeter...especially if it's Derek Jeter. It's insulting to the fans. It's insulting to the game.

And if you do choose to admit it to the media, don't later retract that statement by saying it was all a joke.


In baseball parlance, Wainwright "grooved" the pitch to Jeter--gave him every chance to hit a straight fastball, which wasn't super-fast, in the Captain's final all-star game.

Wainright offered another term for it.

“I was going to give him a couple of pipe shots,” Wainwright told the NY Times. “He deserved it. I didn’t know he was going to hit a double or else 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.”

The Cardinals pitcher trotted out the verb form of "pipe shot" as well.

“I was hoping it would be the first pitch and he would take it,” he said. “Then I would say, ‘All right, I piped him one and he didn’t swing,’ so I could go to it. But I spiked it in the dirt. I gave him one more shot, and unfortunately he didn’t miss it.”

After a social media maelstrom broke out, Wainwright did what you do when your words spark a shitstorm. You say you were joking.

“Usually I kind of like to think about things before I say them, and obviously I didn’t do that very well,” he said. “And I’m an idiot. I made a mistake.”

Jeter doubled on the groove-y pitch. “If he grooved it, thank you," Jeet said. “You’ve still gotta hit it. But if that’s what he did, I appreciate it.”

There's some history of pitchers grooving pitches to notable hitters as a show of respect. The New York Post mentions Cal Ripken and Barry Bonds getting served up pipe shots late in their careers.

In '68, Denny McClain put one on a platter for Mickey Mantle when an aging Mantle was stuck on 534 homers--and tied for third on the all time list.

Asked how he wanted the pitch, the New York Times reports, Mantle said, “High and tight, mediocre cheese.”

Mediocre cheese is, of course, a synonym for a cookie or a meatball.

Now I must eat.