Sunday, September 21, 2014
YANKEES & FANS INSPIRED BY #2
I don't wear jerseys. Something happened to me when I turned 40 a few years ago. I rarely wear a jersey in public. It's not something I strategically planned, it just happened. I have some classics in my closet. Jorge Posada. Hideki Matsui. Even Bobby Abreu and Hiroki Kuroda. I also have #2, Derek Jeter. Today, when I went to the ball game, I chose #2 instead of BYB... instead of a nice golf shirt, instead of one of my Marvel T-shirts. I chose #2 because I knew everyone else would too. I made the trek to Yankee Stadium for most likely the last time this season. My wife and I went on a date, to see the Captain play another home game... and one of the last ones he will ever play in the Bronx. EVER. That sentence alone is killing me. Anyway, I wasn't sure how it was going to be today, I mean, the Yankees don't exactly light it up anymore, but the good Lord was watching... and it was a good day at Yankee Stadium.
The place was electric and packed and #2 is literally everywhere now. It's no longer the newly celebrated ad campaign by the Yankee owners from my previously attended game on September 7th, Derek Jeter day. Today, it seemed much, much bigger. The Yankee organization is literally cashing in on everything "Jeter", and I get it, and at times I even felt queasy about it because I know they've stepped it up to perhaps cloud the fact that the playoffs may not happen. But it is also a major celebration. And fans are buying anything that reads "Jeter" and #2, and I get that too. No question, it felt good walking through the stadium knowing that all of us have witnessed greatness all these years. Derek Jeter is a living legend and I couldn't be happier.
The plan was simple, we were to grab a few Margaritas and then get to the food and then up to the seats. It was a sell out, it had to be. I haven't seen that many people since the ALCS in 2009. It was awesome.
Masahiro Tanaka gave up a run in the first inning. It was a surprise, but expected, especially because he's been on the shelf for a bit. Tanaka settled down and looked good after that. He went 5.1 innings, gave up 5 hits and only 1 run. The only other run was given up by Dellin Betances who gave it up on a Edwin Encarnacian RBI single in the 8th. Other than that, the pitching was quite good. Adam Warren looked decent and David Robertson closed, his 38th of the year.
But it was offense that impressed me the most today. In the 1st, Brian McCann hit a solo shot, his 21st homer of the year. In the 5th, Brett Gardner hit a solo shot. At that point it was 2-1 Yanks. The game seemed slow after that, so another Margarita round was in order.
Once we took our seats again, we were just in time for the Jeter rally. In the 7th inning, with Brett Gardner on base, Derek Jeter doubled down the left field line knocking in Gardy.
The place went absolutely crazy and as Derek Jeter stood on second, and once the replay ran, the big screen had a close up of Jeter's face as he stood on second base. I looked at it more than I normally would and I don't exactly know why. But as I was watching him look around the stadium, I was thinking about what he could be thinking about. He was looking around the ballpark, almost like he was taking it all in. Still stoic, yet he appeared to be reflecting. It seemed like it was coming together for him... the end was near. The close up may have lasted only 30 seconds, but it seemed like 20 minutes and as the place continued to chant, "Der-ek Jet-er" with everyone still on our feet, it was almost like a moment of zen or an out of body experience. It hit us all... the Captain had literally done it all. Once this season ends, he can walk away knowing he did. He conquered his profession, he inspired fans, his teammates it was a great moment. It won't be reported ladies and gentlemen, but that's why we're here... the softer side of baseball. We're about the raw emotion at BYB and I was glad to report that moment.
The rally didn't end there. As we resumed play, Jeet stole 3rd. Just alittle extra for his resume. But if you were to ask him, "He needed to get in scoring position so the team had a chance." And they did. The next pitch was planted in the right field seats by Brian McCann, his second of the day, and just like that, it was 5-1.
The game officially ended 5-2, but there was no question, for me, for my wife, it was a date to remember. You can say alot about great ball players and there's always a "but." Not Derek Jeter though. You can always find the flaw, but not in Jeter. And, there is always the debate of whether or not a player is worthy of the Hall of Fame. But with Derek Jeter, there is no debate. Jeter is a 5 time World Champion, not as an individual, but as part of some pretty incredible clubs. Sure, he's happy about the awards, the individual achievements, but it's those championships that he cherishes and that's why we love him.
And I think back to that moment of Jeter standing on second base in the 7th again, and I think about what could be going through his mind. At one moment, I even thought to myself, maybe he's thinking, "Well, we could have another ring, but we're running out of time." Maybe, who knows. And maybe now my mind is wondering, but one thing is for sure, that rally was big today, if not so much for the win, at least for us fans who snapped away on our phones and cameras at every moment he stepped to the plate or swung. It was a special day, and for the next few days at Yankee stadium, it will be equally rewarding as we say goodbye to the Captain. He did it his way since day 1, and I'm damn proud to have seen him play.
Final: Yankees 5 - Blue Jays 2
You've made BYB the fastest growing Yankees fan site in history. Now shop at the Bleeding Yankee Blue store! Follow me on Twitter @BleednYankeeBlu and LIKE Bleeding Yankee Blue on Facebook!