The All-Star Game is an exclusive honor that only the best of the best can attend. It’s the one night of the year where the stars square off in a battle for bragging rights and home-field advantage. The spotlight is bigger than ever because, well, there’s a galore of premier talent and the fact no other games are on T.V. This year it was extra special, as Derek Jeter, the 14-time All-Star, was playing his final Midsummer Classic in his illustrious career. Some could argue it was more like the “Derek Jeter Game” than the All-Star Game, and rightfully so. He received a standing ovation from players and fans alike when stepping to the plate. After embracing the rounds of applause, the Captain was locked in, promptly knocking a double to right field. It was the perfect moment, and seemingly impossible to debase. That is, until Adam Wainwright said the following, “I was gonna give him a couple pipe shots. He deserved it. I didn’t know he was gonna hit a double or I might have changed my mind.”
Actually this was pretty noble. If “Waino” did in fact give Jeter a few pitches to hit, then that’s awesome. However, admitting it to the media made it seem Derek didn’t earn the double, hence tarnishing its merit. Wainwright, realizing his words were getting misconstrued, clarified to Fox Sports’ Erin Andrew saying, “Sometimes my humor gets taken the wrong way. I feel terrible about this. If anyone is taking any credit away from what Derek Jeter has done today or off me it was mis-said. I hope people know I’m not intentionally giving up hits. . . . I’m very competitive.”
In the world of Social Media, once it’s said it’s out there forever. No matter Adam’s intentions, it spread like wildfire. Wainwright instantly became a villain for his comments. To some it appeared he was making excuses for his poor outing, which he was controversially selected to start over Clayton Kershaw. No one’s perfect, but Wainwright usually says all the right things, so this was a bit peculiar.
The 32-year-old right-handed pitcher already was under pressure from the media and fans because many believed Kershaw should have started instead. He probably was somewhat trying to justify his mediocre performance to the masses with those comments. The big-stage — even though the postseason (which he’s been to many of times) is “bigger” — looks to have gotten to the Cardinals’ ace. Wainwright is human and has and inevitably will make mistakes. Let’s not ruin his reputation over a single comment, and instead continue to admire every fifth day when he takes the mound and dominates.