Sunday, September 7, 2014

FOR JETER, THE NEW YORK YANKEES DID IT RIGHT


I'm not gonna lie, I was emotional today.  Seeing the stadium erupt when Derek Jeter came out in the pregame ceremony was outstanding.  Watching highlights of his career on the big screen, was a huge reminder of just how athletic and truly great this man was.

The ceremony was star studded. Besides staples like Jorge Posada, Hideki Matsui and Joe Torre, there were others... Michael Jordan. Cal Ripken Jr. Dave Winfield.


There were gifts, like a trip to Tuscany given to Derek by the organization.   There were hundreds of Jeter Jerseys everywhere... a sea of navy blue pinstripes, as I once suggested in JETER, BYB & LOYALTY... "...they’re virtually all wearing Jeter’s iconic #2."  Today though, more than ever, the fans showed up. It was Derek Jeter day after all.

The traffic was bad, but it didn't matter. As my dad and I tried to figure out the best route, things started to move and before you knew it, we were over the Macombs Dams Bridge.  Once inside the cathedral, you were home.  We were celebrating a living legend.  Jeter was "being made" today.


His speech seemed too easy for him.  He's a man who's been in the spotlight since 1995 and has literally grown up in front of our eyes...he reminded us of that today. The sold out crowd had people of all ages.  There were tears, cheers and just thunderous applause for a man that did it the right way for a long time.   He didn't disappoint in his speech. He thanked the Steinbrenners for the opportunity.  He thanked his teammates current and past, and he thanked us fans for "being the greatest fans in the world." He's used that line many times in the past 20 years, but today, it was extra special.  He knew we loved him, and he loved us back.



And as predicted in FOR JETER, TODAY'S JUST ANOTHER GAME DAY, posted this morning... he almost seemed uncomfortable with it all, but it happened anyway. He had a nervous energy about him and that's not a bad thing, it's a Jeter thing.  I observe people's actions a lot, and what I saw from Derek today, as people were introduced around him, was interesting in my opinion. Yes, Jeter was appreciative, but you could tell his wheels were spinning.  He was a guy who knew had a job to do.  At the end of his speech and after the standing "O" and chanting of "DER-EK JET-ER",  he said into the mic, "We got a game to play!"  You can watch it above. It's at the end of that video.

Bottom line, September 7th may be Derek Jeter Day in New York City, but Derek was focused on his job... and the win he hoped his team would get today. Hey... there is nothing wrong with that. There is nothing wrong with work ethic, drive and focus.  I just hope he's watching it all back right now, and forgetting about today's loss.

Then came the break. The one right after the ceremony and right before the game. Fans ran to the bathroom. The Captain had spoken, and he was right, there was a game to play.  As we prepared, the fans grabbed some food and a beer and headed back to their seats.  When it was time to start, Jeter would lead his team out to the field like he'd done for years. This time though, something more happened... Jeter ran out alone.


As the Captain manned his position, he was in the field by himself. The crowd snickered and stood to their feet and cheered.  The team stood on the top step of the dugout, clapping and smiling and laughing at the Captain.
They knew he wasn't the guy to take continued praise, but they did it any way, because he deserved alittle more.  I apologize ahead of time for the video below. I didn't know the team was going to do this, so I only have a short portion of him standing alone in the field. Here is BYB's crappy video.  Check it out:

video

Then the field filled up and Jeter was caught laughing. He knew he'd been had, but you could tell, he also appreciated it.  A classy act by the New York Yankees, I must say.

Throughout the game, which was probably the worst game to watch, there were video tributes from all walks of life.  Celebrity athletes, politicians, astronauts, military men, teammate current and past and just the kindest words said about a guy who literally gave his heart and soul to the Yankees his entire career.  If I was Derek, I was blown away.

There were highlights of the Captain through out the day, the kind that give you chills.  The kind that make you an emotional puddle.  At one point, my dad and I looked at each other and said, "This guy was unbelievable.  I'm finding myself getting upset."  There is no way around it... 20 years went fast... and our Captain's career, as great as it is, was about to come to an end.

Over all, the tribute was incredible.  I'm not the kind of guy that goes out of his way to see ceremonies and tributes and I don't make big deals about what I attending in my lifetime because I'd rather be in my house, crying in my pillow and appreciating these heroes my own way.

(November 2013: Honoring of Jorge Posada)
But I will tell you, much like when I was able to snag tickets to the Joe Torre Foundation honoring of Jorge Posada... let's just say, today, on Derek Jeter Day... I HAD TO BE THERE.


Guys like Derek, Jorge, Andy, Mo... even Bernie Williams, they made us as fans believe.  It was a great run.  It was a run that we'll tell our kids about and I'm thankful to have witnessed it all.


In the end, even today's loss couldn't spoil the wonderful day.  Jeter gave in.  Jeter let us honor him and I tip my cap to the Yankees organization, the video producers and editors for the between inning highlights, the fans and everyone there to share this moment... job well done.

Final: Royals 2 - Yankees 0

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