DEREK JETER compared playing at Yankee Stadium to performing on Broadway. No doubt, the New York Yankees captain would have been a star had he chosen to tread the boards rather than play baseball.
Jeter showed remarkable poise and clarity of speech when he took the microphone to salute the “greatest fans in the world” after ‘The Final Game’ at Yankee Stadium last night.
“We’re relying on you to take the memories from this stadium, add them to the memories to come at the new Yankee Stadium, and continue to pass them on from generation to generation,” he said.
It was hard to believe the speech was unscripted, yet Jeter had no need to refer to notes.
Jeter personifies the pride and class of the New York Yankees. He always knows what to say and when to say it.
Nobody does it better in baseball than the Yankees – at least off the field – and the final night at Yankee Stadium was very special.
From Babe Ruth’s daughter to Mickey Mantle’s son, the Yankee greats and their descendants gave this great ballpark a fitting send-off.
When the family of the late Bobby Murcer walked out to center field, followed soon after by Bernie Williams waving a belated farewell to Yankee fans, it was hard to hold back the tears.
Fitting send-off to a great stadium
Sports fans tend to be an emotional bunch and nowhere are heroes worshipped like they are in the Bronx.
There were so many nice touches, notably the recorded message from Bob Sheppard announcing the arrival at the plate of No. 2 Derek Jeter.
There were a few faces missing – notably that of Joe Torre – but almost everything went according to plan. The Yankees won the first game at The Stadium, and they won the last one too.
José Molina was the last man you would have picked to hit the final home run – it was only his third this year – but then it was that kind of night.
Joba Chamberlain, the face of the Yankees’ future, pitched a perfect eighth inning. Then, to the strains of Enter Sandman, Mariano Rivera came in to retire the Baltimore Orioles in order and round off a truly memorable night.
It won’t be until later this week that the realization sets in that the Yankees have missed out on the play-offs for the first time since 1995 and that we really have seen out last game at The Stadium.
It’s the end of an era, and the start of a new one. Another 26 World Championships in the next 85 years might be asking a bit too much!