YANKEE STADIUM –
The perfect script.
DEREK JETER capped his Yankee Stadium farewell with a game-winning single in the bottom of the ninth inning, the latest — and perhaps last — storybook moment in his charmed and illustrious career, to give New York a 6-5 victory Thursday night over the Baltimore Orioles. Serenaded with adoring chants that echoed through the Bronx night, Jeter tipped his cap several times at shortstop and drove in three runs. He launched an early double off the left-center wall and saved the best for last, a sharp, opposite-field single to right that knocked in the winning run.During the raucous celebration that followed, Jeter said he’s played his final game at shortstop, but he’ll likely play in some capacity this weekend in Boston.
It appeared Jeter‘s tiebreaking grounder in the seventh would be the swing that sent the Yankees to a victory when they built a 5-2 cushion against the AL East champions.Not bad — but not Jeter.Nope, he’s always had a flair for the most electrifying kind of drama, and this night was destined to be no different.As if it was planned all along, closer DAVID ROBERTSON (4-5) gave up a two-run homer in the top of the ninth to Adam Jones and a tying shot to Steve Pearce with two outs.That only set the stage for Jeter one more time. JOSE PIRELA hit a leadoff single in the bottom of the ninth against Evan Meek (0-4) and advanced on BRETT GARDNER‘s sacrifice. JETER lined the next pitch through a huge hole on the right side, and pinch-runner ANTOAN RICHARDSON slid home ahead of Nick Markakis‘ throw.
An elated Jeter jumped and raised both arms between first and second. Yankees players rushed out to engulf him as former teammates such as JORGE POSADA, MARIANO RIVERA, BERNIE WILLIAMS, ANDY PETTITTE, TINO MARTINEZ and Hall of Fame manager JOE TORRE lined up near the New York dugout waiting to greet the retiring captain.“It was above and beyond anything that I’ve ever dreamt of,” Jeter said. Jeter went back out to shortstop, crouched down at the edge of the outfield grass and bounced on his toes a couple of times before rejoining the group. He tipped his cap again and was doused over the head with a sports drink by Gardner and CC SABATHIA.
“Sort of an out-of-body experience,” Jeter said.
“To be honest with you, I don’t know how I played this game,” said Jeter, who acknowledged getting choked up several times throughout the day — usually somewhere he could be alone. “I went up my first at-bat, I forgot my elbow guard. I was throwing balls away. I was giving signs to (Stephen) Drew at second base and there’s no one on base, so I was all messed up.”
Manager Joe Girardi never moved from his spot in the dugout during the top of the ninth inning. It was Jeter‘s game to play, and it was his game to end, slashing a walk-off single to right field in the bottom of the ninth inning that lifted the Yankees.
“I don’t think there’s a more fitting way to end,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.
“It’s like a movie,” teammate CHASE HEADLEY said. “You look up there and you see who’s hitting third and you’re like, really? This can’t happen, can it? You’re surprised but you’re not surprised.”
“His signature is winning. What other accolade can you pick? His teams won,” Orioles Manager Buck Showalter said. “Take a good look, because there are not going to be many like this come your way again.”
JETER, hit an RBI double in the first against rookie Kevin Gausman, who was 4 years old when Jeter made his major league debut. The ball banged off the left-center wall — just missing a home run by a couple of feet. He scored on a grounder, and the fans were back into it.
JETER walked to his shortstop position, crouched and then doffed his batting helmet countless times in the air as the sellout crowd of 48,613 again serenaded him with chants of his name. Asked what was going through his mind stepping in for the final at-bat, Jeter replied, “Don’t cry.”
“Most importantly, I’m going to miss the fans,” Jeter said.
Robertson said Mariano Rivera slapped him on the back and said, “Hey, you’re the best set-up man in the league.” (As in setting up Jeter.)
( Recap & Quotes courtesy of ESPN.com and MLB.com )
“You cant even dream this stuff up.” – Girardi
Pretty amazing that the people who spent thousands on tickets for Jeter‘s final game actually got their money’s worth.
Jeter on how he would like his career to be remembered: “I can honestly say i don’t think anyone played harder.”
“I don’t think I has the most talented – but I don’t think anyone played harder & I did it in NY- which is much harder 2 do!” Jeter
DRob on his blown save: “It created another Derek Jeter moment. As much as I wished I wouldn’t have created it, I’m glad it happened.”
Thank you David Robertson!
Mo joked with Robertson, calling him the greatest set-up man ever bc he set up Jeter‘s game-winner
Good thing Girardi didnt take Jeter out of the game with one out in the top of the ninth, eh?
So it didn’t rain, Jeter drove in first run and last run, and delivered theatrics worthy of his last game in pinstripes. Of course he did.
Better than the 3,000th hit? I think so.
Jeter said of the top of the ninth: “I really thought I was going to break down.”
Jeter: “I almost started crying driving here today.”
The 5 times Derek Jeter almost cried Thursday: http://www.nj.com/yankees/index.ssf/2014/09/the_5_times_derek_jeter_almost_cried_thursday.html …
So it turns out that Girardi didnt need to come up with an ending to Jeter‘s final home game. He wrote the script himself. Of course he did.
Original plan was to have Jeter walk around field, joined by Torre, Bernie, Jorge,Mo, Andy, then leave. “This worked better,” Girardi said.
Jeter: “Today was my last game at shortstop.” He said he will DH at least some this weekend in Boston.
Jeter said he decided today that it would be his final game at shortstop.
Jeter on DH’ing in Bos:“I wanted to take something special from YS and the view from shortstop here tonight is what I want to take from it”
Jeter on all the farewells: “You almost feel like you’re watching your own funeral.”
Jeter:“It was above and beyond anything I’ve ever dreamt of. I’ve lived a dream, since I was 4 or 5 yrs old & part of the dream is over now”
First walk-off hit for Jeter since 2007
That was so Jeterian — clutch hit to the opposite field
Jeter‘s final homestand? .353, five runs, four doubles, 1 homer, 9 RBI in eight games.
Jeter was a career .313 hitter in the Bronx.
Chase Headley, Shawn Kelley, many more all saying tonight was the coolest thing they’ve ever been a part of in baseball.
All Sinatra postgame on the clubhouse stereo system, courtesy of team DJ David Huff
Best Derek Jeter press conference ever.
I just got home and I can’t believe what Derek did tonight!
On this date in 1968, Mickey Mantle played his final game at Yankee Stadium. 46 years later, another Yankee icon does the same.
Consistently delivering in big moments is not an accident. There is something about the man. Honored to be at the mic for the call.
One of the coolest endings ever… Wouldn’t expect anything else from Jete
Kind of a sad night in the Bronx… Farewell #2