Derek Jeter night quickly turned into Astros night at Yankee Stadium, as three Astros went long in Houston’s 10-7 victory over the New York Yankees.
Following the Yankees’ 11-6 victory in Game 1 of Sunday’s doubleheader, attention quickly turned to Monument Park, and honoring a Yankee legend.
Sunday finally became the day Yankee fans had been predicting and expecting since the turn of the century; Derek Jeter taking his rightful place in amongst the Yankee legends in Monument Park. Even though the No. 2 had been out of circulation since his retirement, Sunday made it official. The number 2 will never again be worn in pinstripes.
“There isn’t a person or player I would trade places with that’s playing now or ever,” Derek Jeter told the sellout crowd at Yankee Stadium.
“And the reason why I say that is because I got a chance to play for a first-class organization and in front of the greatest fans in the history of sports.”
There are no words that can express the love the city of New York and Yankee fans had, and continue to have, for “The Captain.” He ushered in one of the greatest eras in Yankee history. It was Jeter, along with a core group of Yankees, that helped bring five championships to the Bronx. In fact, the only game that Jeter ever played in which the Yankees were mathematically out of playoff contention was his final home game in 2014, showing just how much Jeter was the quintessential superstar.
“[It’s] ironic because it’s the only game I played in here that didn’t mean anything,” Jeter said in the pregame ceremony.
“But the way that the fans reacted and the relationship that I had with them for 20 years, it felt as though it was a playoff-type atmosphere. I feel selfish saying that because, like I said, we were eliminated. But that was a special moment for me, and I’ll never forget that last game.”
For his former teammates, they also understand the impact No. 2 had on the organization.
“An end of an era,” former teammate Jorge Posada told the New York Times.
“He’s probably the last guy — he’s it. He’s the last one.”
The retirement of Jeter’s number also signifies the end of a special era in Yankee history. The days of Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, and Mariano Rivera have now turned into the days of Aaron Judge, Gary Sánchez, and Dellin Betances, all of which, would have trouble in Game 2 of Sunday’s doubleheader against the visiting Houston Astros.
The ceremonious cheers from the pregame honoring were quickly silenced just as Houston’s George Springer stepped into the box. With a full count, Springer deposited the Masahiro Tanaka offering into none other than Monument Park and the newly mounted Jeter display plaque.
Springer’s home run began what would be a rough outing for Tanaka, who would give up yet another home run on the very next pitch to Josh Reddick for his fifth home run of the year. But, the Astros were not done there. With Houston already possessing a two run lead, Alex Bregman, who wears No. 2 in honor of Jeter, would check in to the batter’s box and connect for not only a grand slam, but his first home run of the season.
However, the Yankees did not want to spoil Derek Jeter night. They slowly attempted to claw their way back into the ballgame following a Matt Holliday home run in the bottom of the fifth, trimming the Astros lead from eight down to five.
The bottom of the ninth is when the men in pinstripes would attempt their greatest comeback effort. The Astros maintained a six run lead and Dayan Diaz came in to pitch for Houston. Diaz went on to give up two runs before being replaced Ken Giles. Giles secured the victory for Houston, but not before giving up the final Yankee run of the evening.
[Featured Image by Kathy Willens/AP Images]