Derek Jeter has been in the news a little bit lately. You may have heard something about his never ending pursuit of 3000 hits. But there’s one reason I assumed he’d be in the news that I haven’t seen. So, I wonder if I’m misremembering things. Let’s start a while ago.
In the playoffs of 2003 or 2004, Terry Francona accused Jeter of receiving signals from someone in the stands with a radar gun. That was in violation of league rules. MLB apparently investigated, but couldn’t find enough evidence to go any further with the complaint.
Fast forward a few years. Keith Olberman creates a stir with a tweet including a picture of a New York Yankees employee in the stands with a radar gun giving hand signals to several players on the field. This is still against the rules. The Yankees admit the infraction. But, they claim it was a one-time event that was happening because the scoreboard radar gun happened to be broken that day. People seem to accept this rationale and people move on. (Well, people other than the Yankees. They remove Olberman from his position as announcer during this year’s Yankees old-timer game.)
What I can’t remember anyone mentioning is a segment produced maybe ten years ago featuring this practice. I would have said it was a SportsCenter type segment. But, if it were on ESPN, I would have thought Olberman would have been all over it. Maybe it was This Week in Baseball? It featured Jeter. He was on camera for most of the segment. He explained that he had a guy in the stands with a radar gun. He said he didn’t trust the stadium guns to give a true reading. He only trusted this guy. Jeter explained the hand signals they used. Apparently they only flashed the last number of the reading, assuming the first digit was usually a 9. They asked Jeter what happened if it was over 100 mph. He answered that only Billy Wagner (I think) had ever done that. The symbol that was used was a wave or something instead of a digit. It was a pretty lengthy segment. Of course it was highly pro-Jeter. What a great guy he was to have this special bond with an otherwise nameless Yankees employee. What a competitor he was to seek out this information, and make sure he had everything he needed.
So, I’m wondering why I’ve heard complaints about the practice at least three times since then, with no mention of the segment. Am I crazy? Am I misremembering? Does anyone else remember this segment too?
Does anyone have the clip?