As many of you know, Derek Jeter is my idol, my future husband, my hero. My love for baseball came about when I was about 10. My dad & my aunts were big time Yankee fans so I obviously followed suit. I don’t think anyone in my family would have known how obsessed I would become with it. By obsessed I mean like I could literally live with only ESPN, YES Network, and Disney Channel (at the time lol) not obsessed as in let me wait outside your house and peer into your windows… As soon as I hit middle school I wanted on the softball team. And I wanted to play shortstop. I wanted to be number 2 and I wanted it to be known I was just like Derek Jeter. Well, my skill set obviously didn’t lead me anywhere near DJ status but my passion for the sport and my passion for the way he played the game gave me the best childhood hero to idolize.
I watched every game I could. I got the newspaper everyday so I could look at the standings and last nights game stats. I would cut out news clipping if Derek Jeter was in them or if he had a killer game. I eventually started a scrapbook in a 3 in binder that held all news clipping, photos, interviews & memorabilia from the early 2000’s. Okay, I won’t lie here but this was during my serious obsession phase lol. I remember for my 12th birthday I think it was, that my friend Kelcey bought me a life size poster of Derek Jeter and I criedddd. I was so freaking excited. Who wouldn’t be?!?! I’m pretty sure I still have it kicking around somewhere.
I have everything from Yankeeography’s to homemade art from the streets of NY. Anything dedicated to Derek Jeter I wanted it. In middle school I got the name Mrs. Jeter put on my sleeve instead of my name lol. Again – obsessed. I wanted to be just like him.
My family & my close friends can tell you I knew everything there was to know about Derek Jeter and the Yankees. I told them that the day Derek retires I will be there. I need to be there.
It’s funny because it doesn’t seem like its been 20 years since Derek’s first Yankee game. It doesn’t feel like 3,465 hits have gone by. It doesn’t seem like 5 World Series Championships have been won.
But they have.
My entire childhood came to an end this year. Not in a bad way. In the best way possible actually.
Derek Jeter announced via his foundations Facebook in February that the Derek Jeter era will be coming to a close. I was at work when I read/saw the news. My whole childhood flashed right in front of me. Alot of people said they saw this coming… I did not. I never thought the day would come. But I trusted him that it was time…
For me, Derek was the most inspirational person I have every looked up to. It may sound stupid to some people but look at what he was done for the past 20 years. He has become one of the most clutch athletes that has walked this planet. The only time he was in the media was when he had a clutch play or went 4 for 4 the night before. You never saw him in the news for beating some girl up or for getting too drunk at a club. He is the true face of what an athlete and celebrity should stand for.
He wanted one thing – to win. And he wanted to do it for the fans. He didn’t do it to surpass so-n-so on the top whatever list. He played the game for the love of the game. He makes me think I can do anything. He told his parents that he would play baseball and he would play for the New York Yankees. He made his dream come true. He wasn’t given a spot on the team, he worked his ass off get exactly what he wanted.
September 25, 2014 will be a day I will never forget. A day I made my dream come true. I saw Derek Jeter’s last game as the shortstop of the New York Yankees.
One of my dreams came true. I got to share this moment with my 2 aunts and my dad. The people who kickstarted this passion of mine.
Just standing outside Yankee Stadium was a blessing in itself. The fact that 1. I could afford the ticket and 2. I got to enjoy the game with 49,000 die hard fans was enough make a girl cry. There were no angry people, no one was pushing and shoving. Everyone was there for the same reason. Derek Jeter. Due to a storm that came up the east coast, there was no batting practice because of rain. And just like I predicted the skies cleared and there was blue skies and sun for first pitch… God knew 🙂
None of us in the stands or at home knew what was in store for us. We didn’t know if there would be some announcement before hand or if he would give a speech. We had no clue. Before player introductions, Derek gladly accepted a check to his Turn 2 Foundation with some of his Jeter’s Leaders. Then it was game time. No dilly dailing. There was a game to play.
One last national anthem and we were on our way. Derek took the field one last time from the left side of the dugout to be greeted by 49,000 cheering fans. I will tell you, that is a sound I will never forget. It literally brought tears to eyes. Imagine that many people chanting your name! The entire stadium was electric.
Number 2 batted in the No. 2 slot. And as soon as Bob Sheppard’s voice came over the sound system the place erupted.
Every chance we got the entire crowd was chanting DE-REK JE-TER!!! Never got old. Not once.
Many of you know the ending to this story but none of you could have ever thought something like this would actually happen. on his last game. ever. From the 2 hours before the game to the 2 hours after, every single baseball fan saw an era come to a storybook end.
It was kinda funny (but not really), I hadn’t realized that the bottom of the 7th might have been his last at bat. It wasn’t until the bottom of the 8th when I realized. Top of the 9th came along and we were up by 3. I turn to my dad and I was like Derek won’t get another at bat. And after a few seconds we laughed and were like well unless we blow this inning. Well, be careful what you say because it’ll happen. Looking back at it, I think we all were initially pissed but then started jumping for joy realizing Derek would have one more at bat.
You would have thought it was the bottom of the 9th, tie game, world series championship on the line.
Bottom of 9. Runner gets on base. Gardner lays the most perfect sac bunt ever. Runner is in scoring postion. Derek Jeter is up.
I wish I had a picture to put here but there was no way I was looking through my phone to watch this. I was ready to take a video of a just in case moment but then amazement happened. Derek Jeter sends the first pitch to right field. Holy crap my heart is literally racing as I type this. Runner scores and I completely lost it. Everything I have ever wished for in life just happened right in front of my own eyes. I cried my eyes out. I couldn’t catch my breath. I was literally so amazed, so happy, and so sad all at once. Derek freaking did it. He hit the game winning hit on his last game ever in Yankee Stadium. We were jumping up and down like a kid in a candy store. 49,000 people jumping, screaming, chanting, crying. Nothing compares. The team swarmed the field and hugged it out and then on the big screen they show the other 3/4th of the fab 4. At this point I was freaking bawling. It was INSANE! It couldn’t have been a more perfect 10 minutes.
Derek Jeter Game winner video – Watch!
Derek took a solid lap around the bases waving to the fans thanking them for the 20 years of dedication. 20 years. 2 decades of fans.
He ended his lap at the place where that 20 years of baseball lived. Where the infield meets the grass – at shortstop.
Derek Jeter will go down as one of the most talented baseball players who ever lived. I am so blessed to have been apart of his legacy and have the memories of how truly amazing he was. I will remember September 25th 2014 for as long as I live. I will remember the breath taking silence before the game winning hit. I will remember Derek Jeter as my favorite Yankee player.
But most importantly, he will continue to be my hero.