Dan Schlossberg's Weekend Report: Derek's Day Was One To Remember • Latino Sports

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Dan Schlossberg’s Weekend Report: Derek’s Day Was One To Remember

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NEW YORK (Image Credit: Bill Menzel) – When the doors opened to the Yankees clubhouse at 10 a.m. Sunday, Derek Jeter’s chair was loaded with brown bags and boxes – gifts for the retiring team captain in advance of pre-game Derek Jeter Day ceremonies.

Each of Jeter’s teammates had gifts too: bottles of bubbly marked with a specially created logo for the occasion. Each dark bottle was marked in white lettering, DEREK JETER DAY, September 7, 2014.

This logo decorates white flags that will ring Yankee Stadium for the rest of the season

This logo decorates white flags that will ring Yankee Stadium for the rest of the season

Considering where the Yankees sit in the standings, it will almost certainly be the only champagne the team sees this season. But, like Jeter’s 20-year career, it is meant to be savored and not gulped.

Before the game, manager Joe Girardi told a packed press room what it was like to manage the shortstop. “He was always ready to play,” he said, “and as a manager, that’s all you can ask for.”

Girardi also complimented Jeter for his ability to play his best under pressure. “He was always able to rise to the occasion,” said Girardi, a former catcher who was an active player when Jeter was a rookie in 1996.

Joe Torre, whose Yankees career began the same year Jeter was a rookie, praised the shortstop Sunday

Joe Torre, whose Yankees career began the same year Jeter was a rookie, praised the shortstop Sunday

Joe Torre, Jeter’s first manager and the only other one he ever had, was asked if he could describe Jeter in one word. Torre, one of three managers enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame two months ago, had a quick response. “Trustworthy,” he said.

Also trustworthy were two other members of the Core Four, both of whom came to the stadium Sunday to honor their former teammate. Future Hall of Fame closer Mariano Rivera, who retired last year after 19 seasons in pinstripes, and Jorge Posada, his catcher most of those years, followed Torre to the interview room podium and added their comments about Jeter. The best man at Posada’s wedding was Derek Jeter.

Andy Pettitte, the fourth member of the Core Four, was unable to attend.

A virtual All-Star team participated in pre-game ceremonies that consumed a half-hour. Among them were former Yankee heroes Reggie Jackson, Dave Winfield, Tim Raines, Paul O’Neill, and Tino Martinez, Hall of Fame shortstop Cal Ripken, Jr., and even retired basketball star Michael Jordan.

Members of the George Steinbrenner family presented Jeter’s Turn 2 Foundation with a check for $222,222.22 and the Yankees announced they were sending the shortstop on a 10-day trip to Tuscany. The Yankees captain also received a specially inscribed Waterford Crystal trophy from Ireland.

The fans got into the act too, showing signs of support for the shortstop. One, incorporating Jeter’s No. 2, said simply “RE2PECT.” Another said “#2 on the field, #1 in our heart.”

Derek Jeter acknowledges the sellout crowd at Yankee Stadium

Derek Jeter acknowledges the sellout crowd at Yankee Stadium

Instead of blaring deafening rock music between innings, the Yankees instead showed short video tributes from Jeter’s teammates and managers. Not surprisingly, the partisan Yankee Stadium crowd jeered the appearance of Robinson Cano, who left for Seattle via free agency after spending his entire previous career as Jeter’s double-play partner.

It was the only Bronx cheer of the day, although the Yankees couldn’t muster much offense or defense against a Kansas City Royals team that seems headed for the playoffs.

For the rest of the season, special white flags embossed with the blue Jeter logo will ring the top of the ballpark as a lasting tribute to the man who played more seasons for the Yankees than any other player.

The non-baseball celebrity roster was impressive, though several of those who had planned to attend went instead to the funeral of Joan Rivers, also held in New York Sunday.

Although Jeter spent more years (20) in pinstripes than any other player, he never won an American League MVP award, settling instead for MVP honors in both the All-Star Game and the World Series (both in 2000).

Elsewhere around the majors:

A photo exhibit featuring Latino legends outside Yankee Stadium will be available for viewing through September 21 . . .

If the Yankees lose closer David Robertson to free agency this fall, they won’t have to look far for a successor: 6’8″ set-up man Dellin Betances averages 13.22 strikeouts per nine innings, thanks to a flaming fastball and frustrating-to-hitters knuckle curve . . .

Before the season ends, veteran Yankees outfielder Carlos Beltran should become the eighth player with 1,000 hits in both leagues . . .

Yordano Ventura's strong rookie season has helped make Kansas City a contender

Yordano Ventura’s strong rookie season has helped make Kansas City a contender

Kansas City’s Yordano Ventura, staging a late run for AL Rookie of the Year honors, entered Sunday’s Yankee Stadium start leading fellow freshmen in quality starts and ERA while ranking second in opponents’ batting average, third in innings and wins, and fifth in strikeouts . . .

TCU grad Brandon Finnegan was the third Kansas City player to make his big-league bow in the same season in which he was drafted . . .

Dodgers speed demon Dee Gordon, a true disrupter certain to improve with experience, leads the majors with 12 triples and 58 stolen bases . . .

With his Angels likely to lock up the AL West early, look for Mike Trout to lock up his first American League MVP trophy after placing second to Miguel Cabrera in each of the last two seasons. Cabrera, who went 100 at-bats without a home run this season, hit just .252 in August . . .

Mike Trout is headed for his first MVP award

Mike Trout is headed for his first MVP award

The Texas Rangers insist the sudden resignation of Texas manager Ron Washington “for personal reasons”was not caused by a relapse of his previous substance abuse problems . . .

When Arizona axed general manager Kevin Towers last week, speculation sprouted immediately about Tony La Russa taking over the job . . .

If Milwaukee misses the playoffs this year after spending 150 of 158 days in first place, the chief culprit could be Carlos Gomez, who swore he wouldn’t return until his wrist problem was 100 per cent healed.

A Carlos Gomez wrist injury is hurting the Milwaukee Brewers

A Carlos Gomez wrist injury is hurting the Milwaukee Brewers

The overall major league batting average of .251 is the worst since 1972, the year before the American League adopted the designated hitter rule as a three-year “experiment” . . .

The highest payroll does not guarantee success, as the Los Angeles Dodgers ($232 million this year) are learning a hurry . . .

Josh Beckett, the 2003 World Series MVP for the Marlins, says he’ll probably retire after the season even though he pitched a no-hitter for the Dodgers in May . . .

How fast things change: the San Francisco Giants led the NL West by nine-and-a-half games on June 8 . . .

The playoff-hungry Detroit Tigers have used four rookies as starting pitchers this year . . .

Four of the five home runs hit by Atlanta’s Evan Gattis against the Miami Marlins have been game-winners.

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About Dan Schlossberg

Former AP sportswriter Dan Schlossberg of Fair Lawn, NJ has produced 35 baseball books, including autobiographies of Ron Blomberg, Al Clark, and Milo Hamilton. Also a broadcaster, he is the host and executive producer of Braves Banter and Travel Itch Radio and a contributor to Sirius XM.

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