Jeter Says Goodbye To The Bronx In Epic Fashion
"Did you expect any less?" asked Derek Jeter's former New York Yankee teammate Andy Pettitte.
With a packed house cheering his every move from the moment he ran out to stretch, and some tickets going for $10,000 each, Jeter's farewell in the Bronx began on time after a dreary day, ending in true story book fashion.
Jeter doubled off the top of the left-center field wall at Yankee Stadium in his first at-bat Thursday night against the Baltimore Orioles, but right before the clock struck midnight in New york City, it was an rbi single in the bottom of the ninth that sent the Yankee faithful home with an epic tale they will be telling for years to come, leading his teammate to a come-from-behind 6-5 win over the Baltimore Orioles.
With his final game in the Bronx tied at 5 in the bottom of the ninth, "Jetes" stepped to the plate with pinch runner Antoan Richardson on second base with 1 out. Richardson was running for Jose Pirela, who has singled to lead of the inning. Richardson then moved to second an a sacrafice by Brett Gardner, setting the stage for "The Captain" to close his final game at Yankee Stadium in true legendary fashion.
For a while, it looked like the Jeter send-off would be delayed for a long period of time as a steady rain fell throughout the afternoon in the Bronx. However, as if scripted by the baseball gods above, it started to lighten up around 6 p.m., and the tarp, which had covered the infield for several hours, was removed about an hour before the 7:05 p.m. start, allowing the game to start on time.
Serenaded with adoring chants that echoed through the Bronx night, Jeter tipped his cap several times at shortstop and drove in three runs on the night. He launched an early double off the wall and saved the best for last - a sharp, opposite-field single to right that knocked in the winning run. Jeter drove the first pitch from reliever Evan Meek through the hole into right field, and Oriole right fielder Nick Markakis' throw home was late as Richardson slid home with the game winner. Adam Jones and Steve Pearce had homered in the top of the ninth off of Yankee closer Dave Robertson, to tie the game and set up Jeter's storybook heroics.
The Yankees are scheduled to close out their season this weekend against their legendary rival, the Boston Red Sox, with a three game series at Boston's Fenway Park. Yankee manager Joe Girardi has been very secretive about plans for the Yankee captain to make his final appearances in the home of their greatest rival, but Jeter shed some light on his plans for the weekend after the game.
Jeter said he's played his final game at shortstop. He said he'll be the designated hitter at some point this weekend at Boston, ''out of respect for the Red Sox, their fans and the rivalry. I want to take something special from Yankee Stadium and the view from shortstop here tonight is what I want to take home,'' he said. ''I've only played shortstop throughout my entire career and the last time I want to play was tonight.''