Derek Jeter Adds One Last Moment To A Career Of Cherished Memories • Latino Sports


Derek Jeter Adds One Last Moment To A Career Of Cherished Memories


Top 1st – It started with the sound of rhythmic clapping and tribal chanting.

The sold-out crowd of 48,613 at the new Yankee Stadium, the one that Derek Jeter built has commenced with the ritual, start-of–the-game-roll-call so loudly that no one can tell that Baltimore Orioles’ lead-off batter Nick Markakis has just homered to right-field off Yankees’ starter Hiroki Kuroda for a 1-0 lead

The decibels are booming as Orioles’ left-fielder Alejandro De Aza makes it back-to-back home runs to start the game for Baltimore, a 2-0 lead, that doesn’t even seem to be there except for its place on the scoreboard.

By now everyone in the stands is beginning to feel a bit queasy. Are the Orioles, a team the Yankees usually vanquish without pause, really going to put a damper on Jeter’s final home game? Is Baltimore, the 2014 American League East champion going to stroll through Yankee Stadium and ruin Jeter’s moment?

Image Credit: Bill Menzel

Image Credit: Bill Menzel

Bot 1st – Brett Gardner starts the inning with a single setting the stage for Jeter. The Yankees’ captain takes five straight fastballs from Baltimore starting pitcher Kevin Gausman, and connects on the last one by virtually missing a home run to left-field, instead settling for an RBI-double as the ball slams off the wall of the Orioles’ bullpen, as the Pinstripes cut into the lead at 2-1.

Now pandemonium has been transformed. The stadium is instantly brighter with the flashes of nearly 50,000 cameras, it is deafening with the most appreciative roars heard this season. The stands are a mass, a jumble of letters and words blown up as signs cover the stands. Some show pictures of Jeter from 1992, other thank Jeter’s parents for bringing him into this world.

Jeter would advance to third on a wild pitch, eventually scoring on a error by former Yankee Kelley Johnson, tying the game at 2-2.

The murmurs of a lost night have been replaced. The waiting has now begun.

In between innings, the scoreboard shows video clips of well wishes to Jeter from former teammates such as the “Core Four,” David Cone, Johhny Damon, Tino Martinez, and Hideki Matsui.

Bot 6th – T.J. McFarland in for Gausman.

Image Credit: Bill Menzel

Image Credit: Bill Menzel

Bot 7th – Stephen Drew narrowly misses a home run to right-field that runs foul at the last instant, but does manage to reach first base despite striking out on a passed ball by Orioles’ catcher Caleb Joseph.

With runners on first and second, Jose Pirela, the Yankees designated hitter, makes his contribution of the evening with a successful bunt attempt that turns into a hit. Joesph runs to the ball, but falls down as he throws it to first, causing the throw to be off the bag at first, inducing a bases loaded situation for Gardner.

Ryan Webb, the second Baltimore relief pitcher [in for T.J. McFarland] comes on with one out and the bases still loaded with Jeter at-bat after Gardner reaches first on a fielders-choice. The Yankees captain hits into a fielders-choice, but gets onto first on an E6 by Orioles’ shortstop J. J. Hardy.

Two runs score, with Jeter picking up one RBI for it, as the Yankees retake the lead at 4-2. Yankees’ catcher Brian McCann would add an insurance run to make it 5-2 on a sac-fly RBI into left-field scoring Gardner.

Top 8th – Chants of “Thank You Jeter” erupts, each rendition growing in volume, as the stadium swells with the sounds of its inhabitants. Everyone stands, claps and cheers for Derek Jeter. They know it is his last go-around. Jeter knows the etiquette, the protocol of the situation and gently tips his cap.

Yankee Stadium is officially a choir.

Image Credit: Bill Menzel

Image Credit: Bill Menzel

Top 9th – David Robertson, the Yankees closer is in for Kuroda.

Kuroda has had an outstanding evening after his shaky first inning. The unusual feat by the Orioles, of leading off a game with consecutive home runs [not done by Baltimore since the 2001 season] has been forgotten. The Yankees have a three-run lead, and have Robertson in for the save save opportunity.

The Orioles’ Adam Jones, whose thank you message to Jeter appeared during the game, has apparently lost his sentiment of the night, rocking an offering by Robertson for a two-run shot [HR#28] with one out into left-field, to bring the Yankees lead down to 5-4.

Two batters later, and the unthinkable has occurred. Former Yankee Steve Pearce blasts his 21st home run of the season to left-field as well, and the game is tied at 5-5.

Image Credit: Bill Menzel

Image Credit: Bill Menzel

Bot 9th – The Orioles are now in the game, but their bullpen has already trotted out four pitchers. Looking to save the arms of their big guns in Tommy Hunter and Darren O’Day , Baltimore sends former Pitsburgh Pirate Evan Meek in for Joe Saunders.

Meek, a six-year veteran with a career record of 7-11 pitched two nights ago to Jeter issuing a walk.

Pirela continued his own cause to stay in Pinstripes for 2015 with a lead-off single past third.

Jeter’s fifth and final at-bat, with one out and Pinch runner Antoan Richardson on second would become one of the most memorable at-bats since the new Yankee Stadium opened up in 2009.

It happened in a blur, with the same speed of a train rushing into a station. Jeter steps in, his spikes grooving into the reddish-brown dirt around home plate, and slaps the seventh and final regular season walk-off of his career, a slapper between the gap of first and second.

Richardson scores the winning run, the Yankees have won in improbable fashion, and that is when the sky began to fall.

Navy blue caps swooned from every corner imaginable, creating piles of wool and polyester, a textile salute for the hardest working man in baseball.

Jeter paces the diamond and stops where the grass meets the dirt at short, crouches for a second before waving to the crowd.

“Thank you Derek,” chants the crowd, accentuating every syllable.

“No, thank you,” says Jeter.

The yellow Gatorade flows on top of a 40-year old man. Another storybook ending after 1,390 games played in the Bronx, in a career that resuscitated a fallen franchise.

Thank you Derek for one last moment, for one last hit, one last win. For 20 years of making baseball matter in New York City.


About Oren Vourman

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  • Darlene

    Most poetic and well written article! I always enjoy reading what Oren writes.