Questioning the Derek Jeter flip play during the 2001 playoffs against Oakland is sacrilege among Yankee fans.
As for the actual participant, the response to Bobby Valentine’s comment that the play was lucky was met with indifference by Jeter.
“I could care less,” Jeter said to reporters in Tampa Wednesday morning. “I don’t know why he would bring it up.”
Jeter addressed his indifference toward Valentine’s attempts at tweaking by also defending the play and reiterating that the Yankees in fact practice those type of infield plays.
“I’m indifferent,” Jeter said to reporters in Tampa. “I mean think about it, we don’t practice it. We do. You guys have seen it. So what else can I say? I was out of position? No, I was where I was supposed to be.”
The flip play that threw Jeremy Giambi out at the plate during Game 3 of the 2001 ALDS in Oakland was deemed a lucky play by Valentine during a press conference on Tuesday.
“We’ll never practice that,” Valentine said. “And I think he’s out of position. And I think the ball gets him out if [Jeter] doesn’t touch it, personally. The Jeter-like simulation today is that idea of what the first baseman and third baseman [are doing] as the ball is coming in because they have to read and maybe change the position where the shortstop is when the ball is coming in from right.
“He does have to react to the ball. When you see the ball in flight, you have a chance at those positions to adjust. He was out. … It was amazing that he was there. I bet it was more amazing to say they practiced it. I don’t believe it, personally.”
Valentine also referenced Alex Rodriguez Tuesday. He praised retiring catcher Jason Varitek for beating up Rodriguez during a July 2004 brawl in Fenway Park, but Rodriguez seemed more interested in ignoring the topic than commenting on it.
“I’m not going to win many battles when it comes to words, especially against Bobby,” Rodriguez said. “But I will tell you this, I’ve got my new press secretary that should be landing in the next couple of days — Reggie Jackson — so I’ll let him handle that.”
Jackson participated in the rivalry during the late-1970s and the response to those comments might be handled differently on the field. But for now, indifference is the theme among Jeter and Rodriguez to the newest manager in the rivalry.
Follow Yankees beat writer Larry Fleisher on Twitter @LarryFleisher.