07/06/09 6:44 PM ET
Jeter has issue with ump's reasoning
Girardi ejected after shortstop was called out on slide at third
By Bryan Hoch / MLB.com
The Yankees' shortstop was thrown out attempting to steal third base in New York's 7-6 loss to Toronto, but it wasn't the call that rankled the captain. It was the reasoning he received from third-base umpire Marty Foster, who said that Jeter was out simply because the ball had beaten him.
"I was just baffled by the explanation," Jeter said. "I was told I was out, because the ball beat me, and he didn't have to tag me. I was unaware they had changed the rules."
Jeter had walked to lead off the home half of the first inning against Toronto left-hander Ricky Romero, and he advanced to second on a balk before attempting a steal of third. Catcher Rod Barajas' throw beat Jeter's headfirst slide, but television replays showed that Jeter might have moved his hands away from Jays third baseman Scott Rolen's tag.
"I just pulled my hands back and got called out," Jeter said. "I've seen everybody make mistakes on calls before, but I was baffled by the explanation."
Jeter immediately jumped up and confronted Foster, saying he hadn't been tagged by Rolen.
"He told me, 'He didn't have to,'" Jeter said. "I'm not making this up. This is what I was told."
Jeter said he was not yelling at Foster, but Foster's explanation led to an ejection for Yankees manager Joe Girardi, whose volume level grew considerably louder as he earned his third ejection of the season.
"Jeet's not going to argue unless he's safe," Girardi said. "That's the type of player that Derek Jeter is. I went out there and wanted an explanation, and I ended up getting tossed."
Jeter admitted that the Yankees have benefited from similar calls in the past, but he said he had never actually heard an umpire admitting to ruling a player out because the ball beat him.
"It bothers you if it's you, but if it works in your favor, you don't really mind it that much," Jeter said. "It happens. I just have never been told that before. It wasn't an argument, it was just that I didn't understand it."
Foster requested that crew chief John Hirschbeck handle discussing the play with reporters. Hirschbeck said that he would talk about the call with Foster on Monday or Tuesday, and he said that in the era of TV replays and increased media scrutiny, the microscope on umpires is larger.
"You have to make sure that you have a tag," Hirschbeck said. "It used to be if the ball beat you, you were out. It isn't that way anymore. It's not a reason to call someone out. You have to have a clean tag."
Hirschbeck added that, if Jeter's representation of Foster's on-field comments were correct, Jeter's confusion would have been understandable.
"In my 27 years in the big leagues, he's probably the classiest person I've been around," Hirschbeck said. "It would make his actions seem appropriate if that's what he was told."
In his postgame discussion with reporters, Girardi referred to "baserunning errors" in the first inning as letting Romero off the hook early, and later said that Jeter's play had two sides to it.
"The decision is right if you're safe," Girardi said. "You want players to be aggressive, and sometimes the reads aren't great. The idea is to get to third base, because you're closer to scoring, but you can't get thrown out."
Jeter agreed with the characterization of his play as a baserunning error, but he said he would continue to be aggressive on the basepaths.
"I was safe," Jeter said. "In that situation, you try to be aggressive. I thought I could make it, and unfortunately, it didn't happen."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.