“We work on this in spring training,” Jeter explained.
The New York Yankees Hall of Fame shortstop went deeper into the play breakdown.
“My job is to watch the runner. The runner at first was Jeremy Giambi, and I saw the ball down the line and my job is to, 1. see if there’s going to be a play at third base right? But once you see Giambi is going to go home, my job is to turn into the third cutoff man to redirect the throw to third base,” Jeter noted of the potential to nab a runner getting greedy for third base.
“Now we don’t actually practice shuffle passing the ball to home plate but my job if you look at the replay if I actually wanted to throw the ball to third base we could’ve got Terrance [Long] at third,” Jeter added on what could’ve been the third out but with a game tied at one.
Yet, Jeter astutely knew exactly who was running around the bases with a piano on his back.
“I said this before and I say this very respectfully, the Giambi family is not very fast, so I knew we had an opportunity to get him at the plate,” Jeter joked, acknowledging Giambi’s speed or lack thereof.
“If you see that Spence[er] throws the ball over two cutoff men. If he would’ve actually thrown that to one of the two, [Giambi] would’ve been out by a long time,” Jeter said regarding the airmailed throw above Alfonso Soriano and Tino Martinez.
“If he actually hits one of the first two cutoff men then he’s out at home plate by about 10 feet,” Jeter added.
Reynolds asked Jeter when exactly he knew he’d have to spring into action as the third cutoff man.
“As soon as he threw it,” Jeter said.
“I didn’t look at the arm angle man I looked at the ball,” Jeter noted of what tipped him off.
Jeter then described how he calculated that he had a play on Giambi at the plate.
“I do because I looked at Giambi to see where he was before I actually got to the throw. So when I was about right here (behind the mound) I could see that we had an opportunity to get him,” Jeter remarked.
“Now, still, you see the ball in the air and it still has to be a clean exchange to throw him out at home. The worst-case scenario if you look at the replay it could’ve gone to third,” Jeter added on the perfect flip to catcher Jorge Posada.
Reynolds and Jeter fast-forwarded to a game in 2011 at Tampa, where Jeter shifted to the same spot on a similar play but minus an airmailed throw from right field.
“I prided myself on being prepared,” Jeter noted of being in the right place at the right time as usual.
The flip was the top play on our Bronx Pinstripes Show Podcast countdown.
Derek Jeter's Hall of Fame Moments: #1 – The Flip | #Yankees