SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Rangers manager Ron Washington, whose club starts working on cutoffs and relay plays, disagrees with Boston manager Bobby Valentine’s assertion that Oakland's Jeremy Giambi would have been out at home plate in Game 3 of the ALCS in 2001 even without Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter's famous flip.
“If Derek doesn’t touch that ball, he’s safe,” Washington said. “No doubt about it.”
Washington, who was Oakland’s third-base coach that day, does agree with Valentine that Jeter was out of position.
“That’s why Derek Jeter is Derek Jeter,” Washington said Wednesday morning prior to workouts. “Derek Jeter noticed that there was nobody over there to back it up and he left where he should have been and went over there and did what he did. It was Derek Jeter that made that play.
“That’s what you call awareness on the ball field. He was definitely not supposed to be there. I wish he wouldn’t have been there. That’s Derek Jeter, man. That’s why he’s a champion.”
Valentine caused a stir on Tuesday when he said that Jeter was out of position and that “the ball gets [Giambi] out if [Jeter] doesn't touch it, personally."
Washington said the throw came in from the outfield and Jeter noticed it was going to miss the cutoff men and be offline. That’s why he raced to the first-base side, grabbed it and flipped it home plate where Jorge Posada applied the tag on Giambi, who tried to score standing up instead of sliding.
Washington said Jeter had the presence of mind to flip the ball toward the runner coming down from third where Posada could snag it and make the tag, rather than force him to reach for it where Giambi might have been able to step on the plate before the tag.
Washington also believes that if Giambi slides at home, he’s safe and the A’s likely go on to win the series.
“Derek Jeter made that play – very smart, very smart,” Washington said. “That’s why he’s a World Champion many times over.”