After 19 seasons, the face of New York Yankees will retire. Even if you’re not a Yankees fan or a fan of baseball, you still know and love Derek Jeter’s passion for the game.
I was given the opportunity to travel to Tampa Bay this week, to watch the legend himself play. At first the press was saying that Jeter might not be in the line-up because he was hit-less in his last 24 at bats and wasn’t in the line-up Monday night against the Tampa Bay Rays on September 15th.
“In the 21-plus years in which I have served as Commissioner, Major League Baseball has had no finer ambassador than Derek Jeter. Since his championship rookie season of 1996, Derek has represented all the best of the National Pastime on and off the field. He is one of the most accomplished and memorable players of his—or any—era. Derek is the kind of person that generations have emulated proudly, and he remains an exemplary face of our sport. Major League Baseball looks forward to celebrating his remarkable career throughout the 2014 season.” — commissioner Bud Selig
At 2pm, fans had already lined up outside of Tropicana Field for a 7pm game. Rays, Yankees, and even a couple fans of the Phillies and Mets could be seen around the park.
Around 5pm, we got word that Jeter was in the line-up for the evening and when the doors opened at 5:40 p.m,people ran into the stadium as if it was Black Friday and not a Tuesday night baseball game. Everyone charged down close to the visiting teams dugout where all the Yankee players were starting warm-up. Every one from young to old all waited and watched Jeter inside the cage and during his warm-ups.
7pm came and the ceremony for Jeter began as they highlighted his career from the minors to his major league days. As they announced his name the whole stadium stood up, Rays fans included, to applaud the guy who has given us more than just hits and baseball, but also a lifetime of memories.
The Rays presented Jeter with a $16,000 donation to his Turn 2 Foundation, a framed Don Zimmer Jersey and a Kayak with Yankee pinstripes and the #2 printed on it.
Although the Yankees probably won’t make the World Series this year, we will remember Jeter as one of the greats of this generation.
[featured image via Renata Aguilar]