A legend said goodbye last night. Fans waved to their leader as he took the field one last time. Family and friends gathered to meet him as he walked off that diamond in the Bronx. The last of the “Core Four” walked away from a place he called home. Derek Jeter played his last ever game in a pinstripe uniform in the house that he has so famously built.
All of this of course happened after the Yankee captain stepped into that batter’s box one last time and hit an opposite field single to score a man from second and end the game against the Orioles. The game doesn’t mean anything in the standings, but it certainly means a lot to all of the fans who watched it unfold. Jeter walked it off and then took one last walk around his home to wave farewell to all the people who had come to watch him one last time.
They used to call the old Yankee Stadium “The House that Ruth Built.” There have been some to coin the new home as “The House that Jeter Built” and after last night, they definitely should. In case you weren’t aware, Derek Jeter has been on his farewell tour all season. He played in his final all-star game, he passed Honus Wagner to move into number six on the all-time hits list and he gave Yankee fans one last season of fun.
Now, I will be the first to say that all of the praise Jeter has gotten this year for his play. He really has been average at best, especially by the standard fans have come to expect of him. But it has been fun to watch him go. He has been the iconic face of the most successful sports franchise in the world. And now, it seems like suddenly and too soon, the sporting world must say goodbye to the Yankee shortstop. And upon his retirement, it makes you wonder who is going to that kid from Kalamazoo as the face of this Yankee team. (I say replace for lack of a better word cause no one can really replace what he has done). Could it be David Robertson? Or Brett Gardner perhaps? Or maybe someone we don’t know yet? There is no real way of knowing until it happens.
But until then, the baseball world will be engrossed with just how amazing of an ending that was to one of the most respected and successful careers in all of sports. The only guy who might have done it better is John Elway. And I say might of. The fans at the stadium let Jeter know how much they appreciated his two decades of work chanting, “THANK-YOU JE-TER” for the majority of last night. Jeter kept it as classy as ever and thanked the fans for all their support and saying he didn’t know what they were thanking him for. He was just doing his job. But now I am going to say it too. Thank you Jeter for proving that there is a right way to go about being a professional athlete. Thank you for being respectful, passionate and humble playing for all these years. So this is farewell captain. Thanks for all the memories.
The sun has truly set on an era. What a way for it to end.