Before we get started here, let me explain to readers that I am a lifelong Yankee fan. I think Derek Jeter is an amazing player and terrific human being, from what I know of him. I even kept my 6-year-old son up until 9:35 p.m. last night—a solid hour and a half past his bedtime—to watch what I thought would be Jeter’s last at-bat. When Derek hit a 2 RBI single (off a botched double play) in the 7th I sent him to bed, convinced that the show was more or less over.
Then the 9th inning came around… David Robertson blows a three-run lead, giving up two homers—that in itself was hard to fathom. What happened next was unbelievable… literally unbelievable for some.
While still on my living room floor, writhing in giddy sports ecstasy like I had just been slapped in the head by a faith healer, my innate skepticism began to creep in.
Did that REALLY just happen?
Now this is about as far-fetched as conspiracy theories get, but there are some issues here that warrant scrutiny…
*The Orioles, ranked 2nd in the MLB for Team Defense, didn’t look like it last night, with three recorded errors and a number of shoddy plays. The Baltimore Sun has gone on record as saying the Orioles played, “an uncharacteristically sloppy game defensively.”
*Questions linger over what some might consider to be a series of grooved balls by the 9th inning pitchers. The inning saw a combined 4 RBIs—an inconceivable three given up by Robertson off two home runs, then Meek’s meek first-pitch 86 mph meatball over the middle of the plate with pinch runner Antoan Richardson (unsung hero) on second.
*The ball goes off Jeter’s bat, past a diving Stephen Pearce and straight into the glove of Nick Markakis in shallow right. Markakis fires it to the plate in time, but catcher Caleb Joseph fails to corral it as Richardson slides home. And the fandemonium commences, as everyone more or less steps over Richardson who is still lying face down at the plate to go hoist Jeter.
*Even Mariano Rivera had questions about the veracity of the scenario he had just seen:
And while the concept of a wide-ranging conspiracy to script the outcome of a game may seem ridiculously far-fetched to most, it’s worth noting that NBA Commissioner Adam Silver was actually in the building last night.
Oliver Stone would have a field day with all of this circumstantial evidence. While internet theories abound that Stanley Kubrick directed the moon landing, the script to last night’s game was more like Cameron Crowe’s We Bought a Zoo.
Do I personally believe that there was a conspiracy? No. I do not.
Of course I say that primarily because I’m a Yankee fan, but I also want to believe that good things can still happen to good people, and that baseball is a glorious pageant that transcends all that is bad in the world. If something this incredible could happen to anyone, it should happen to Derek Jeter.
Furthermore, to pull any of this off it would have relied upon a complicit Buck Showalter—and there’s a guy who doesn’t owe the New York Yankees any favors…
But if you find my lifeless body floating facedown in the Harlem River, you’ll know I was onto something. No matter how we try to spin it, there will always be people out there who feel the Orioles first baseman should have been playing further back, and to the left… back, and to the left… back, and to the left…