The Jeter Watch
Derek's Bat Retired
Yanks Out of Playoffs
By Howard Goldin
BRONX, NEW YORK, SEPTEMBER 25- The penultimate day of Derek Jeter’s playing career with the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium began on a positive note. One day after being presented with the Commissioner’s Historic Achievement Award by MLB Commissioner Allen “Bud” Selig, Jeter received another rare honor.
Louisville Slugger, the iconic bat company that has served baseball players for 130 years, for the first time retired a bat model to honor a player, Derek Jeter. James Sass, Director of Professional Baseball Sales for the company said, “Derek has made over 12,500 plate appearances in his 20 MLB seasons, and every single one of them has been with a Louisville Slugger P72. With Derek’s impending retirement, we thought it was fitting to retire his bat model in recognition of his brilliant career. We are grateful for his enduring and unwavering loyalty. In honor of Derek’s tremendous career and impact, we won’t be making the P72 anymore.” The last such model bat was presented to Jeter before the game.
Unfortunately, disappointment and sadness were the emotions Jeter felt as the afternoon progressed. The overwhelming percentage of the large crowd of 46,056 at Yankee Stadium for the matinee on Wednesday rose to their feet, cheered, and chanted Jeter’s name during each of his four at bats.
This support did not lead to Jeter continuing his consecutive game hitting streak, which ended at seven. In the first, Jeter grounded out to shortstop. Two innings later, Jeter struck out swinging at a 2-2 pitch. The fifth inning concluded after the Yankee captain again grounded out to short. In the eighth, Jeter tried to hold up his swing and bounced the ball to the first sacker who tossed to the pitcher for another out.
After his final at bat, the fans remained standing and chanted “We want Jeter.” He did not come out of the dugout for a curtain call. Reporters asked if he was aware of what the fans wanted. He explained his reaction, “I’m aware of it. You can’t help but notice. The game wasn’t over. We were trying to come back.”
Jeter was kept from a final at bat as he was on deck when the last out of a 9-5 Baltimore victory was made. To make the Yankee loss even sadder for its players and fans, it eliminated the Yankees from the playoffs.
As Jeter was the designated hitter on Wednesday, the fans did not get to watch him in the field.
In a post-game interview, the body language as well the words spoken by the Yankee captain exhibited his disappointment, “It’s tough. We put a lot of work in it. We didn’t play well enough. There were stretches we played well and stretches we didn’t play well. We’re all disappointed. We should all be disappointed. I’m disappointed.”
When asked to describe the positives of this season or his plans for his final game at Yankee Stadium on Thursday night, he demurred by saying, “We just lost. We’re not going to the playoffs.”
Yankee manager Joe Girardi spoke of his feelings regarding the final Yankee Stadium game for Jeter on the following day, “I think it’s going to be special. Tomorrow is going to be the culmination of all the love he’s been shown, all the appreciation he’s been shown.”