Friday, September 17, 2010


There is a commercial out currently showing two High School Basketball teams playing in a championship game. There is a play where the ball goes off a player, but the ref misses it and gives the ball to that player's team. The coach calls time-out (it's near the end of the game and the team is losing) and starts to setup a play. The player whose hand the ball went off pipes up and tells the coach that the ball went off of him. The players start to give him a hard time. The coach to his credit tells his team to foul when the ball is put into play. As the team heads out the coach calls out to the player who is being honest and gives him the approval nod. The player then goes over to the referee and admits to the ball being out. The tag line is "Integrity. Pass it on."

Two days ago an incident happened in the Yankees - Rays game where integrity should have been shown. Derek Jeter with no one on turned to try and bunt for a hit. The pitch came inside. Jeter let go of the bat with his left hand (closest to the ball) and the ball hit the end of the bat. Jeter turns away and shakes his hand as if it's been hit and the umpire awards him first base. Now I won't go into the fact that the first base umpire should have seen the ball hit the bat and help the home plate umpire nor the fact that the sound of the ball hitting the bat was distinct from it hitting a gloved hand. What I want to focus on is the post game remarks of Jeter. When asked he stated that the ball hit the bat. Then he was asked about shaking his hand and admitted that it was vibration and "acting". Here is where Jeter damaged the integrity of baseball. Basically he cheated to win.

MLB has always talked about "the integrity of the game". Keeping that in mind, MLB should fine Derek Jeter for damaging that integrity. Also, in my opinion, they should suspend him for 2 games. MLB should send the message that its players need to have integrity. Jeter was also quoted as saying he wasn't going to tell the umpire about it because he didn't want to "change the call". To me it's one of the things that drives me nuts about professional athletes. The lack of integrity, the lack of admitting that something happened just so the call can go their way.

A better example is the PGA tour. The players call fouls on themselves. They also make sure that they do everything possible to have a game that is true to its core. It may cost them a championship, but we see it often. Imagine if this was true in the "major" sports.

I could go on about areas other than sports where we don't see integrity. However, I believe I will save those for another day.

MLB should punish Jeter for his behavior and serve notice that this type of behavior endangers the integrity of the game and won't be stood for.

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