Love him, hate him, grudgingly respect him, Yankee shortstop Derek Jeter took his farewell tour to its most significant stop last night — the Bronx — where the All-Star captain would play his final game at Yankee Stadium.
Like the retirements of fellow Yankee greats Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte last autumn, Jeter's home finale came with the stale air of diminished expectations; the Yankees had been officially eliminated from playoff contentions by the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday night. The team would play its final home game on Thursday having been kept from postseason play in consecutive seasons, a normal embarrassment for most teams, but the first such occurrence for the too-proud Yankees in over 20 years.
Derek Jeter, also diminished, had his 11th error this season before inhabiting the role of demi-hero in the 7th inning by helping the Yankees take a late lead. From ESPN:
Two innings earlier, it appeared Jeter had won the game in less spectacular fashion, with a bases-loaded bouncer that broke a 2-all tie when Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy fired the potential inning-ending double-play ball into right field for a two-run error.
But in the top of the ninth, the Yankees blew a three-run lead, setting the stage for another Jeter at-bat in the bottom of the ninth.
With the game knotted at 5 and a runner on second base, well...you get the picture.