Thursday, September 25, 2014

One Last Moment for "The Captain"

Derek Jeter Comes Through In Last Game
I have just finished watching an instant classic memorable New York Yankees moment. 

Derek Jeter in his last at bat in his last game in Yankee Stadium hit one of his patented singles between 1st and 2nd base to drive home the a run in the bottom of the 9th. 
The Yankees win...THHHHHHHHHHHHE Yankees win!!!

Ten minutes earlier you would have never guessed that the moment was even possible. The Yankees went into the top of the 9th inning leading 5-2. But a pair of homer runs by Oriole hitters (2 run and a solo shot) off the  Yankees' closer, David Robinson, tied the game. 

You couldn't have scripted the last of the ninth any better.  A Lead-off hitter, Pierla singled. It was followed by a successful sacrifice bunt by, Brett Gardner. That set the stage for the first-pitch Jeterian single to right. 

The throw to the plate by Orioles' right fielder bounced off the catcher's glove as the pinch runner, Richardson, scored on a head-first slide; and the walk-off win was complete.  

It was an unbelievable, overwhelming, serendipitous happening that was surreal, to say the least. The moment meant everything to Yankee fans everywhere. 

After the winning run scored and the game ended the celebration began. There was the rush of his teammate to congratulate #2 on his winning hit, then their hugs to celebrate the end of his career. 

Next came the hugs from his former teammates: Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada, Andy Pettitte, Bernie Williams, Tino Martinez, and manager, Joe Torre. Hugs and words honoring the walk off and Jeter's career. 

After the obligatory interviews with the media on the field (MSG Network, CBS Radio, MLB Network) Jeter hugged his family. 

Following a last "Gatorade shower" by his teammates, Jeter took one more trip around the Yankee Stadium infield. He paused at the shortstop position for one last look from his place for the last 20 years. 

Admittedly atypically nervous the entire night Jeter came through in a way that superstars do. He then honored the fans with his last walk around the stadium; tipping his cap to all 49,000 in attendance. 

As a fan watching from my living room nearly 1000 miles away; my emotion could not be contained. I sat and I watched the celebration, with the tears clouding my eyes and rolling down my face. 

A bit embarrassed, despite being alone (Paula had gone to be early) but I couldn't help it. I could not believe what I had just seen; what I had just experienced. 

Derek Jeter had just given me a gift I never expected to receive. That one final "YESSSS!!" moment. He proved once and for all that he deserves the title of "Yankee and MLB baseball Legend." He also proved, and I can testify to this personally,  there IS crying in baseball. 

One last thing about the significance of the Captain's final moment. In winning the game the Yankees clinched their 22nd consecutive season with a winning record. That means Derek Jeter never played on a Yankees team with a losing season record. An accomplishment that's symbolic of the focus of his career. He was truly the epitome of the quintessential team player.  

Thank You Derek Jeter for bringing dignity, respect, a winning tradition and World Series championships back to the New York Yankees organization and fans. I will always be grateful. And, I can assure you, I will never forget that last great moment from your last game at Yankee Stadium. 

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