Saturday, October 4, 2014

Sports = Emotion

It’s taken me nearly a week to write this piece, because 1) I haven’t had time and 2) I still don’t want to believe it’s over.

The Core 4: Rivera, Jeter, Pettitte and Posada
I’ve been a New York Yankees fan since the days of Don Mattingly and Wade Boggs – definitely NOT the best of times – but the last 20 years have been my “mega-fan” days. Now, it’s all over.

I grew up with the Core 4 – Posada, Rivera, Pettitte and Jeter – and when I say “grew up” I mean it: they’re all around my age. Jorge Posada went first, although it wasn’t a big party like the others got. Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte both left the game last year, and both went out in storybook fashion – Rivera with a season-long celebration and Pettitte with one final game in his hometown of Houston that was nothing short of epic, a complete game win by a pitcher who hadn’t pitched a complete game since 2006. When Derek Jeter announced that 2014 would be his last season, everyone knew it, too, would be epic.

Like Rivera, it was a season-long celebration – and the end of what might be the best baseball career I will ever see in my lifetime.

On Thursday, September 25th, Jeter took the field at Yankee Stadium one last time, going out with class, humility and the storybook ending that only the Yankees could produce. That night, his final game in the Bronx ended with one final hit from baseball’s Captain Clutch – a walk-off single that sent Ichiro home for the win. When the sea of current teammates parted, he was greeted by a line-up of men who had seen him through his greatest moments – Mo, Andy, Posada, Bernie, Tino and “Mr. T.”

On Sunday, September 28th, he wrapped up his career against the Yankees archrivals and bitter enemies, the Boston Red Sox. The BoSox honored one of the best in baseball with one of the most respectful and classy ceremonies of the season, and the fans in attendance honored a player who was loved by many and “hated” by Bostonians (I say “hated” because they would’ve loved him in a BoSox uniform) with cheers and tears. Again, one final hit landed Jeter on first base, and his decision to end it there brought Brian McCann in as a pinch runner and brought Jeter one step closer to Cooperstown.

Yeah, I cried – I’m a sappy fan that way. I cried for Mo, I cried for Andy, I shed a tear in Cleveland when I saw Jeter play for the last time. But I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who shed a few tears.

Thanks for the memories guys.

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