Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright paid tribute to Derek Jeter twice Tuesday night, first when he stepped off the mound to let the Yankee legend soak in the applause, and then again when he sent a fastball floating down the middle, just begging to be hit. Jeter did just that, swatting the offering to right field for a double.
After the game, Wainwright admitted to tossing a total meatball.
And, when critics complained about Wainwright stomping on the game's integrity, the hurler apologized, saying he was "an idiot."
The parting gift was reminiscent of the easy cheese Cal Ripken, Jr., swatted for a home run in the 2001 All-Star Game. And though Jeter's double made for a tidy ending, too — the aging Jeets returning to vintage form with a signature line drive to the opposite field — the scripting undercut some of the magic in the supposedly spontaneous moment.