Athletics

Ex-A's manager Howe thinks Giambi was safe on Jeter flip

Athletics
Derek Jeter

With Derek Jeter entering the Hall of Fame on Wednesday, it was only natural that "The Flip" was shown approximately 1,000 times on television and relived in written form to celebrate one of the defining plays of the New York Yankees shortstop's legendary career.

By now, you know the details. The A's were up two games to none in the American League Divisional Series but trailing 1-0 in the bottom of the seventh inning of Game 3 at the Coliseum. That's when Terrance Long rifled a hard-hit ground ball over the first base bag. Right fielder Shane Spencer corralled the ball but overthrew two cut-off men. With Jeremy Giambi trying to score from first to tie the game, Jeter ran across the diamond, fielded the ball, and made a perfect backhand flip to Jorge Posada who tagged Giambi on the calf just before his foot hit home plate.

Of course, former A's manager Art Howe believes Giambi was safe. But he also knows that he likely would have been called safe had he slid.

"Where's replay when you need it?" Howe told ESPN's, Tim Kurkjian. "I really don't think he was out. I thought he tagged him on the back of his calf after his foot had hit the plate. But what are you going to do? Nothing can be changed. But they probably couldn't overrule it on replay. It has to be clear proof that it's one way or another before they overrule a play. I'll tell you that the umpire [Danley] called me after the game and told me if he slides, he's safe. But he didn't slide."

 

Jeter and the Yankees all maintain it's a play they practiced all the way back in spring training. What made the play so memorable was that it hasn't been duplicated and that Jeter's backhand flip was so unorthodox.

"I was thinking, 'Just get rid of it as soon as possible.'" Jeter told Kurkjian. "There really wasn't a lot of time to do anything else. That was the only way I could get rid of the ball in that time frame. It was just catch it and get rid of it in one motion."

"It felt like a second baseman flipping to the shortstop on the double play. He's a shortstop," Posada told Kurkjian. "The way he flipped the ball is not common for a shortstop. The accuracy and he had some hair on it for me to catch the ball."

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The Yankees would go on to win the game 1-0 to advance to the American League Championship Series and eventually the World Series.

It's a play that Howe, despite his belief Giambi was safe, is certain you'll never see again.

As for Jeter, he knows the ump got the call right.

"Out! He's out! 100% he was out. You can't change it now," Jeter said. "It's kind of like the Jeffrey Maier home run [in the 1996 ALDS against the Orioles]. It's a home run. Whatever you want, but it's over now."