Saturday, July 9, 2011
I sat and watched the television as my niece played with her toys. 3-2 pitch grounded to short, through the hole! I scream and my niece cries. I pick her up and tell her it's ok. I show her the TV and explain that Derek Jeter is just one hit away from 3,000. She is one and she is pissed at me. I give her a hug and tell her I'm sorry, but it's going to get loud one more time.
Jeter comes to the plate in the third, and my niece is now in her pool on the porch. Now is the time, Derek. You can get this hit and she won't cry.
Five miles away from me, 50,000 people stood and chanted. Another 3-2 pitch. Flash bulbs go off everywhere. Jeter swings, and there it goes. Up, up, up. It just kept going up.
Back in my living room, I watch as the camera follows the flight of the ball. At some point before the ball landed, I realized that this was not only hit to the gap, I realized the ball was going to land deep in a sea of fans.
I was in awe. I know I yelled, but I don't know what I yelled. I just know that I marveled not only at the 3,000th hit, but at what a hit it was. And as Derek came home to hug his dear friend, Jorge Posada and the rest of his team, something dawned on me. The game was now tied. It just made sense.
As I stood there watching, my father said; "he's gotta be the greatest Yankee of all time. Stature wise." My dad is right. What we watched on the afternoon of July 9th, 2011 was amazing, but it was also pretty normal. Normal, that is to say, for Derek Jeter. We watched him get some hits and make a difference in the game, just like he has done time and time again.
Say what you want about the aging legend, but this is a fact: For the rest of his career, he will go out and give 100 percent. Each and every day, he will give his all and he will strive to win. It's the same thing he has done for his entire career and it works for him.
Derek Jeter got 3,000 hits but that wasn't enough to win the game. So he went out and got 3,001, 3,002 and 3,003. On the day he is inducted into the Hall of Fame, ask him what stands out to him about the day he joined the 3,000 club. My guess is he'll tell you; "Yankees won, 5-4."
Monday, July 4, 2011
Derek Jeter is an amazing Baseball player. He is not the best there has ever been, but I have certainly never seen anyone rival his passion for winning. He is everything you want to be when you are a kid, and he is ours.
We have followed him since he was drafted 6th overall by the Yankees in 1992. We have been with him for his first hit in Seattle in '95. We were with him in Cleveland on Opening Day in '96. We were there to see him lift his first championship trophy, and his fifth. And all of the ones in between. We were there for the flip play, and for the dive. For a home run that needed a little help
(the Jeffery Maier shot) and a home run that lifted the city briefly out of sadness (November 1, 2001).
We were there for every opposite field hit, and for every jump throw in the hole. We are his fans. Although this achievement belongs to him, the joy it brings is every bit ours as it is his. We were there for the beginning, we'll be there for the end, and we'll be in Cooperstown come induction day. We are his fans.
Derek stands at 2,998 carreer hits, just 2 hits shy of 3,000. He's ready, are you?
Yesterday, looking more like Captain America than the Yankee Captain, Derek Jeter proved to the front office that he is ready to rejoin his team. Jeter's night was highlighted by a bunt single that he himself called for because "I don't know the signs so I just bunted." The captain has tested his calf in every possible way and is sure he is ready to play. Jeter also asked that fans not judge his performance in yesterday's game because he was uncomfortable in his uniform. A small crack at the 4th of July themed Thunder uniforms.
So today, on the day we celebrate the birth of our nation, we also celebrate the return of our captain. On the day of the late George Steinbrenner's birthday, the captain will resume his quest for his 3,000th hit. Break out your Jeter shirts and your DJ3K bracelets because the he is just 6 hits away. If he doesn't get the historic hit during this series in Cleveland, he will likely get it at home on River Avenue against the Rays.
SIDE NOTE: This is just speculation, but after yesterday's late inning blunders, it is likely that Ramiro Pena will be optioned to AAA to make room for the Captain.