Friday, September 26, 2014

Under The Glare Of The Spotlight Jeter Still Has Ice Water In His Veins

Last night's game 2014 Yankee Stadium finale between the Baltimore Orioles and the Yankees will be like Woodstock. Everyone will claim they were there due to the incredible start, middle, and especially the ending of Derek Jeter's career in pinstripes.

With the fans on pins and needles waiting to see if Jeter would exit the 9th inning early to a standing ovation, closer David Robertson gave up a pair of home runs to blow a 3-run lead. Tied 5-5 in the bottom of the 9th, Robertson was quickly forgiven by the fans. The tie meant that Jeter would get at least one more at-bat in his home away from home, and what an at-bat it was.

John Sterling's call of Jeter's game winner: 

Jose Pirela, who has played 2,741 less games than Jeter, started off the bottom of the 9th with a single through the left side of the infield. Brett Gardner bunted to move the winning run into scoring position and set a showdown between Evan Meek, who was making his 23rd big league appearance, and Jeter. Would Buck Showalter walk Jeter to set up the double play? Just as Jeter plays until the final out or winning run, Showalter manages in the same manner.

When Orioles' catcher Caleb Joseph got into his normal squat behind home plate, you knew the 46,000-plus in attendance and anyone watching or listening on the TV or radio were relieved. And Jeter didn't wait long to let Showalter change his mind. In a very "Jeterian" moment, the Yankees' shortstop jumped on Meek's first pitch, and drilled it through the right side, just like he has done thousands of times before. Right fielder Nick Markakis has a cannon for an arm, but his throw was late as speedy pinch-runner Antoan Richardson slid across home plate with the winning run. Jeter raised his arms in exaltation and jumped in the air as he saw Richardson. (Incredibly, it was the Captain's first walk off winner in seven years).

Jeter's teammates quickly flooded the field and lifted him off the ground. And the smiles and tears flowed, Jeter included. He greeted all of his current teammates, manager, and coaches, his former teammates Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada, Bernie Williams, Tino Martinez, and Gerald Williams, and his former manager Joe Torre. His parents, sister, nephew, and girlfriend all got hugs and kisses. And as the YesNetwork's Meredith Marakovits interviewed him on the field, he even allowed CC Sabathia and Gardner to give him a Gatorade shower.

The way the game ended left everyone mumbling, "did I just see that". Yes you did. Sadly, for the last time.

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