There is never an easy way to say goodbye, but it happened today in Fenway Park. And, I'm happy to say, that as a Yankee fan, there was nothing that made me more proud as a Yankee fan, than to share it with Red Sox Nation. I know, it sounds corny and ridiculous and yet, it was the perfect place for the send off of Derek Jeter.
I don't know. Maybe it was the 9-5 win. Maybe it was just the fact that the Red Sox fans respected Derek Jeter the past 3 days. Who knows what it was. The reality is, while the rivalry is still there... that didn't matter this weekend. Instead, the happiness surrounding Jeter resonated with everyone. It was absolutely amazing. As a Yankee fan, you can't thank the Red Sox fans enough. You are fans like us and it was never more clearer than today.
I don't want to do a full blown recap today, other than to let you know that the Yankees won. Here's the reality; The win doesn't matter. The day as a whole DOES.
Boston's best gave Jeter his final send-off and plenty in the crowd that were Yankee fans too. It was great to see.
Seeing Mrs. Jeter for a moment at Fenway brought it full circle. Someone tweeted this photo today and wrote "A mother's love is priceless." Nailed it. It was right then that I lost it. We have expressed at BYB just how wonderful family is and can be, and when it's a family like Derek's, with the teaching of determination, hard work, pride, professionalism, well it's no wonder our guy Derek succeeded as much as he has his entire career.
BYB writer Suzie Pinstripes was there today, and tweeted this:
That's a wrap! #FarewellCaptain @dRunner26_2 @BleednYankeeBlu pic.twitter.com/ia3IZyLzXHShe'll have an in depth piece about her experience at Fenway, as well as the reaction to the Captain. I can't wait to see it.
— Suzanne (@suzieprof) September 28, 2014
As Bryan Hoch had it today: "Jeter's season-long goodbye ended in fitting fashion on Sunday afternoon, running hard down the first-base line to notch the 3,465th hit of his career. He signaled for a pinch-runner and waved his batting helmet as he left the field, exiting a game that the Yankees went on to win, 9-5.
'I felt like the time was right,' Jeter said. 'My emotions were so all over the place on Thursday in New York. When I got here, I was ready. I was ready for my career to be over with. I'm happy I had an opportunity to come and play here in a couple games, but I'm ready for this to be the end.'"
That quote is very significant. We've seen big time players hang it up only to come back soon after and fade out worse than they did the first time. Brett Favre comes to mind. Others just need another year or 2 just to be sure. Andy Pettitte comes to mind. Jeter, always strategic with how he presents himself knew it was time. For the critics that ask why he announced at the beginning of the season. Well, I loved the idea. For him, it was a way to organize his priorities for the season.
Could you imagine if we didn't know Jeter was going to retire until today? Yankeeland would be devastated. The more I think about the way Jeter handled it, announcing the beginning of the season... he did it right.
And there was a moment today, after Brian McCann came in to pinch run for Derek, Derek was crossing the infield and walked up to the mound.
He stopped and shook Clay Buchholz hand. Again, according to Hoch, Derek said to Clay, 'I know this is kind of odd but I just wanted to say I've enjoyed competing against you over the years and good luck.' He's a class act.
BYB has been reflecting on Jeter for the past week. Many of our writers have put together some pretty incredible pieces. We needed to do this, because despite the haters, it's evident, Derek Jeter is king. Derek Jeter is the greatest. It was never for evident than his final night in the Bronx... and his final day ever, in Fenway Park in Boston today. To see baseball celebrate this man as much as we have...well, it's emotional. I was touched by a tweet from my friend Danny today:
@BleednYankeeBlu Somehow I cannot comprehend that I am watching Derek Jeter's last game in the major leagues.... #Yankees #Re2pect #HOF2020That's about explains it. It's gonna be hard to not see Jeter out there at shortstop next year for the New York Yankees. He's been a fixture for 20 years. He's our leader. He's our guy; Homegrown, pinstripe pride and always clutch from the start to the end of this career.
— Danny O Brion (@DannyOBrion) September 28, 2014
But through all of this, and we've talked about this alot here, it's his family structure that brought him to greatness. Sure, applaud Jeter as a man and all that he did with the New York Yankees. After all, he's a terrific ballplayer and an amazing role model. But here's a fact... leaders are created by incredible parents.
Dot and the Doc are extraordinary people, always there to guide Derek. They were clearly in his head throughout his life, allowing him to lead, helping him to make smart choices and most of all, they offered values that allowed the man to blossom into a determined young man, with goals, with ambition and with heart in whatever he wanted to accomplish in life. Sure, tip your cap to the Cap... but applaud the Jeter parents on this one. Without them... we may not see this great man before us. You know what I mean?
Finally, let me say this. Today was hard. Many cried and millions were sad seeing this man hang in up. But it's not goodbye. The greatest part about Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera and Bernie Williams is they're Yankees for life. They'll always be there. Old Timers Day. Any Yankee celebrations we have at the Stadium. Hell, maybe one day Derek Jeter will own the Yankees. The point is, while it's "So Long", it's not "Goodbye". Luckily for us... Jeter and the boys will always be there.
And remember something ladies and gentlemen. You're sad... and you can't help it... but don't be sad because it's over. Be glad that you witnessed greatness. It's a privilege, a thrill and I'm emotional, but overjoyed to have seen Jeter play all these years.
Thank you Cap. You did it right... and we'll always remember the good times. Shortstop in Yankee Stadium will never be the same #2, but you did us proud, and we'll always love you Cap.
5 Championships. 3465 hits. Atta boy kid.
Final: Yankees 9 - Red Sox 5
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