They call him “The Captain” or “Mr Clutch”, now maybe you should just call him “Mr. Yankee”. Derek Jeter joined the 3,000 club on Saturday and he did it in traditional Jeter fashion. With the baseball world wondering if Jeter was at done and if the Yankees should be asking him to bat lower in the lineup since he wasn’t producing; Derek Jeter came out and went 5-5 to lead “his” Yankee team to a 5-4 win over the Tamp Bay Rays.
It was only fitting that Derek Jeter get his 3,000th on a home run. A 3-2 pitch off Rays starter David Price in the third inning that sailed over the left field fence. Wade Boggs is the only other player to hit a home run for his 3,000th hit; he can now share that milestone with another Yankee great.
This was Jeter’s first home run he had hit at Yankee Stadium in almost a year, his last home run, some 286 at-bats ago, was an inside the park home run.
To make the day even more special was the Yankees winning, as Derek Jetter said in his post game interview: “It would have been really, really awkward to be out there doing interviews and waving to the crowd after the game if we had lost,” Jeter said. “So that was going through my mind in my last at-bat there. It is nice to get a hit, but we needed to win this game.”
Jeter capped the 5-for-5 day with the go-ahead RBI single in the eighth that sealed the Yankees victory over Tampa Bay.
On the other side of this was the guy who caught Jeter’s home run ball. An instant baseball celebrity, at least in New York and in the baseball world, who could have held the ball hostage like many others have done in the past and made millions. Instead Christian Lopez showed what true fans of the sport really mean to the game, he gave the ball back and asked for nothing and in return got a whole lot more. The Yankees thanked him by giving him four Champions suite season tickets to every home game the rest of the season through the playoffs. He also got the chance to meet Derek Jeter along with autographed memorabilia.
This is what being a fan is all about, living in the moment and watching one of your baseball heroes reach a milestone and being able to enjoy it without having to pay a fan millions of dollars for to get a piece of it back.
Congratulations to Derek Jeter a true baseball hero and Christian Lopez a true baseball fan. Maybe now Derek Jeter will stop being talked about as being too old and done, and remembered as the “Captain” and heart of this Yankee team.