Sunday, September 27, 2015

My Fondest Derek Jeter Memory

Set the stage, a hot and muggy night in Atlanta, Georgia the date was June 14, 2012 and the New York Yankees were in the ATL to take on the Atlanta Braves in Interleague play. This was the night after Alex Rodriguez hit his 23rd grand slam of his career tying the great Lou Gehrig for first on the all-time list and it was about an hour before game time. I had been at the ball park since the gates opened at 5:00 pm and I watched the Yankees take batting practice, I watched the team stretch and joke and have fun and I saw what would become my greatest Derek Jeter moment of my life.

As you know I was born in the Bronx, New York and moved to Atlanta with my mother in 1999. I was in New York for the 1996, 1998, and 1999 World Series and the 1997 and 1995 playoffs so I got to see plenty of Jeter first hand. When I moved here to the south the thing I missed most was my Yankees and seeing them, Jeter specifically, play live. That’s weird that I didn’t miss my childhood friends that I had made in my 14 years as a New Yorker, my school, etc., all I missed was my Yankees. With this in mind when the Yankees come down to Atlanta I always purchase my tickets well in advance for the best seats in the house as close to the Yankees dugout as I can get.

On this day I had second row seats directly to the left of the Yankees dugout, you could see inside the dugout the entire game. The game was not my fondest memory though, it was when the Yankees came off the field shortly after 6:00 pm ET and Derek Jeter walked over to the stands to say hello and to sign autographs. Immediately my section was flooded with fans but I didn’t mind and neither did Jeter. I tried to get an autograph that day but obviously all the children went first and we were so swarmed I never got close enough to but that was okay too. I was more than content watching Jeter sit there and sign autographs and interact with fans, Yankees and Braves alike, until the 7:00 hour when the National Anthem was played in Atlanta. Derek sat there and signed autographs and took pictures and interacted with us for right at an hour.

These are the kinds of moments that most of the casual fans will never know about or hear about because MLB Network and ESPN aren’t talking about it. This is something that all true Yankees fans know, love, and appreciate about Jeter and this is just a sliver of what made him truly unique and special to not only the fans but to the game of baseball. Jeter played the game like a kid and acted like a fan and we love him for it. Thank you Derek and if you see AJ Burnett around, who snubbed thousands of fans more than once on that night, tell him I said hello.

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)