Controversy spiced Derek Jeter's All-Star Game farewell Tuesday when National League starting pitcher Adam Wainwright told reporters that he grooved a fastball to Jeter to give the retiring Yankees shortstop a better chance to get a hit.
Jeter doubled on Wainwright's second pitch leading off the first inning and later scored in the American League's 5-3 victory.
“I was gonna give him a couple pipe shots," Wainwright told reporters when interviewed during the game. "He deserved it. I didn’t know he was gonna hit a double or I might have changed my mind.”
Wainwright later backtracked from that statement, telling Fox reporter Erin Andrews in a televised interview: "You know what, 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 tonight or off me or anything. It was mis-said."
NL manager Mike Matheny defended Wainwright, his ace with the Cardinals.
“I know that has been completely blown out of proportion and taken out of context,” Matheny said. “Anybody that knows anything about this guy knows that he's one of the great competitors that's played this game in a long time.
"It's a shame in this game when people are looking for people with personalities to maybe not be so drab and bland like me, and actually mix in some personality and some humor … and it's taken completely out of context and run all over social media. It's an absolute shame."
A sampling of the social media backlash:
Adam Wainwright admitted he grooved a fastball to Derek Jeter in the first: “I was gonna give him a couple pipe shots. He deserved it."— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) July 16, 2014
The first pitch Adam Wainwright threw to Derek Jeter was a ball, which pokes a hole in his "pipe shot" claim.— Adam Kilgore (@AdamKilgoreWP) July 16, 2014
Pretty classless move by Wainwright to say he was grooving pitches to Jeter. Either do it and keep quiet or don't do it at all.— Mark Feinsand (@FeinsandNYDN) July 16, 2014
Wainwright says he grooved a couple to Jeter. Maybe 'bush' to do it. But worse to SAY you did it. Ruins moment you conspired to create. Dope— Thomas Boswell (@ThomasBoswellWP) July 16, 2014
There's nothing at all wrong with Adam Wainwright grooving Derek Jeter a pitch. There's something wrong with the All-Star Game counting.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) July 16, 2014
So Adam Wainwright misquoted himself. Hopefully story remains Jeter farewell and not pipeshotgate.— Steve Berthiaume (@BertDbacks) July 16, 2014
Credit Wainwright. He was the last guy to leave the NL clubhouse, answering waves of questions, saying he didn't want Jeter to get a hit.— Adam Kilgore (@AdamKilgoreWP) July 16, 2014