Jeter’s career was going into the final stretch. Jeter had just come off his last game at Yankee Stadium, which was an emotional night for all. He delivered when he ended his final home game with a walk-off single. Only Jeter would hit a walk off in his last at-bat in the pinstriped uniforms. After quite a night, he announced that he will not play shortstop during his last series at Fenway and his career but he would be the designated hitter for the Yankees. I was going alone to the game, again. Going alone has been come a norm for this year. I don’t mind it, less to worry about. As I was walking around Fenway before I got to Gate C, I saw “JETER’S Last Call Shots” $2 ALL WEEK!!!. Not sure if that is a good discount or not but thought the idea was great. I got to the gate and I was first in line. Red Sox Nation workers came around and stamped our hands. I got a new stamp that I haven’t seen yet. When we went in to the gate, I went up into my spot. The new outfielder Rusney Castillo was taking fly balls. After he got his last one, he threw the baseball to me for the first one of the day. Later on in the batting practice, when most of the players were off the field, Coach Arnie Beyeler tossed up another baseball to me for my second on the day. The Red Sox were still batting and a Red Sox player, who I couldn’t tell who they were, hit a shot over my head. I quickly got to it in the stands 5 rows up from where I was. No one was around me so it was a quick easy snag for my third ball of the day. I then headed over to the Red Sox dugout because the yankees were not doing batting practice. Words were going around that Derek Jeter was not going to be playing today. Of course, I was slightly disappointed but I don’t blame him, he had a long emotional night the day before. At the dugout Brock Holt was signing autographs, unfortunately I didn’t get one.
I then headed over to my normal autograph spot. First sign of Jeter happened not to long after. Closer to game time Brett Gardner was in the dugout. He then signed a baseball I gave him.
Not much later it was time for the National Anthem.
Steven Wright would be pitching for the Red Sox and ex-Red Sox pitcher, Chris Capuano would be pitching for the Yankees. In the first inning, Yoenis Cespedes tried stretching a single into a double. He was called safe but the Yankees wanted to use instant replay to get the call right. After review, the call was overturned and he was out to end the inning.
In the bottom of the 2nd inning, the Red Sox struck first. Allen Craig singled and went to second on a throwing error. On a Byrce Brentz single, Craig scored giving the Red Sox a 1-0 lead. In the top of the third the Yankees responded. Eury Perez struck out but reached first and then to second on both passed balls by Dan Butler. Fransico Cervelli then knocked Perez in with a single to left, tying the game at 1 a piece. Later on in the inning, John Ryan Murphy grounded into fielder’s choice to shortstop and Cervelli scored on throwing error by second baseman, Mookie Betts who was trying to get the double play. The score on the error gave the Yankees a 2-1 lead. Before the 4th inning, one lucky fan got an autograph from Jeter. Jeter went into the dugout and grabbed a ball and signed it. He then tossed it up to a fan.
In the top of the 6th inning, Zelous Wheeler hit sacrifice fly to right that scored Murphy giving the Yankees a 3-1 lead. In the bottom of the 7th, Shawn Kelley relieved Capuano and then next batter Rusney Castillo hit home run over the monster to allow the score to be 3-2 in the Yankees favor. The Red Sox had a chance to tie the game in the bottom of the night but finished the game with a runner in scoring position. Yankees won the game 3-2 in a night we saw Jeter sit on the bench.
The last game of 2014 season for the Red Sox was at Fenway Park. This year it was slightly different. NO PLAYOFFS… for either team. Both the Yankees and Red Sox did not make the playoffs for the first time since 1993. The game may have been worth nothing in a normal season. This season was different. Back in February, one of the Yankees players said his career will be over after the 2014 season through a Facebook post. A year of #RE2PECT and #FarewellCaptain all leading up to his last game vs. his rivalry team of almost 20 years. Derek Jeter’s last game playing in a Yankees uniform and I was there. For the 20 years I have been alive, the number 2, in a Yankees jersey, was always worn by Derek Jeter. I had seen him play before when I was little but seeing a future Hall of Famer’s last game is what makes a no meaning game to a game worth every penny spent. There was no way I was missing this game. Sunday games are not my favorite. They normally do not have batting practice so I didn’t expect it but I still went in as early as I could. I set my alarm for 7:30 in the morning for a 1:35 game. Gates were going to open around 11:05 for Red Sox Nation. I left my house around 8:00. The parking lot and areas around Fenway were empty. Maybe it was too early in the morning for Red Sox Nation at 8:45. I was the first in line. No one was showing up for another 30-40 mins. I decide to walk around at 9. I saw Yankees shirts being sold in Red Sox team stores and had to check it out. Thats right, Yankees merchandize in a Red Sox store. This seems so strange and it was. But, it was a hit with many fans getting their chance at a once in a life time souvenir. Of course I gave in to buying some merchandize. How was I not going to buy something? I also made a sign for the day. I got creative with it. Yes I am wearing a Derek Jeter shirt. This is the second time I have worn the shirt. The other time was for a bet I lost in High School to my 9th grade, Yankees loving, Math teacher. Our bet was she had to wear a Red Sox shirt to school if the Phillies won the World Series in 2009. If the Yankees won the World Series, I would have to wear a Yankees shirt to school. Well, the Yankees won the World Series in 2009 so I spent the day at school wearing a Yankees Derek Jeter T-shirt. Although, this time there was no bet. I did it on my own. In respect for Jeter, I wore the T-shirt. Waiting in line, I was getting nervous about no Red Sox Nation. They did not have Red Sox Nation during Opening Day so I was convinced that there wasn’t going to be any today as well. I was waiting for so long and forgot I got there early. Red Sox Nation came around and handed us Red Sox Nation glasses but also the people next to me were asking about VIP Red Sox Nation. It was a father and son. I had been talking to them all morning. As they were getting their wristbands, the son also asked to put a band on me and the Red Sox Nation employee did. When the gates opened, I got my bag checked and then headed into my normal spot to see what was going on. I brought my camera from my photography class and decided to capture certain moments of the day. The first photo of the day was this:
Red Sox pitchers were warming up but also, there was nets set up. The Red Sox didn’t look like they were going to hit but the Yankees were going to. I decided since I had my camera, I wouldn’t stay in the outfield for batting practice but get up close photos of Jeter in and around the cage. I went to the backstop and took a lot of pictures from there: Jeter’s Last Game Photos Here. I got some great photos. It was worth going there instead of watching batting practice from the outfield. I had set up half way mark between the dugout and the cage. I snuck my way to the first row, right on the black ropes. All eyes were on Jeter and he was all smiles. He would occasionally look over at all of the people. Spike Lee was decked out in his Jeter attire. Past Red Sox, Jacoby Ellsbury and Steven Drew made appearances. There was a good amount of signs all in favor of Jeter. I was expecting the amount of signs but some were a lot more clever than I thought they would be. Through out the day I saw a lot of cool things fans did for Jeter. There was socks with the #2 and there was kid with Jater’s number shaved into his head. When the Yankees slowly started to leave the field, I quickly moved to the dugout and got close enough that I would get a couple good shots of Ellsbury coming off the field. I then headed to left field where Ichiro was warming up with a trainer. I watched him doing running drills until Tanka came out and started throwing. I turned my attention to him. The grounds crew started to get the field ready shortly after Tanka was done throwing. When the grounds crew were finishing up Red Sox players started coming out and warming up. Then some Yankees players started to come out. Michael Pineda, the starting pitcher for the Yankees, started heading to the bullpen to warm up. Meanwhile the ball girls were putting buckets of baseballs near the bases and in the outfield.
After the video board started playing the song, “We Didn’t Start The Fire” by Billy Joel. Then video to the song started to play, as it featured the history of the Red Sox and Yankees rivalry with key moments in history including key games, fights, and everything in between. They showed Ted Williams, the DiMaggio brothers, Mickey Mantle, Fred Lynn, Wade Boggs, Roger Clemens, and Pedro Martinez highlights. They showed many pitching duels that led to close calls of batters getting hit. Then, they showed Aaron Boones walkoff home run and Yankees fans were cheering. Next they showed Jason Varitek shoving his glove into Alex Rodriguez’s face. Of course, Red Sox fans cheered with excitement. Then the video showed the 2004 ALDS series by “The Steal” in Game 4 to keep them in the playoffs and and David Ortiz’s home run in Game 7. They continued the video to show the Red Sox winning the 2004 World Series and then to celebrating the win. They showed signs of “Who’s Your Daddy and “Cowboy Up.” Then the media board went black and showed the green monster scoreboard. They slowly removed the September 28th, 2014 from the score board and replaced them with “WITH RESPECT 2 DEREK JETER.” When the letters where all on the board, the crowd chanted “Derek Jeter.”
They announced: “Good Afternoon, once again ladies and gentlemen and welcome to Fenway Park. All of us know that todays Red Sox, Yankees game marks not only the end of the season but the end of an era in this great rivalry between these two teams. For today, we acknowledge and celebrate the Hall of Fame career of a competitor on the field and a gentleman off the field. He has enhanced our game with his manner, he has elevated our game with his character and he has reminded us of what we seek and what we admire in our sports heroes. Ladies and gentlemen, won’t you please welcome the man to whom we wish to express our admiration, our gratitude, and our respect, number 2, Derek Jeter.” As they announced “Derek Jeter,” he came out of the dugout. As he was walking out, he tipped his cap to the fans. He came out to the outfield right behind second base. The announcement continued: “Derek, several of the greatest Red Sox ever, including our 3 living captains wanted to be here today to personally thank you for what you’ve done for the game we love.” First past-red sox captain that came out was #8 Carl Yastrzemski, Next was #6 Rico Petrocelli, then #14 Captain Jim Rice,#19 Fred Lynn, #23 Luis Tiant, #49 Tim Wakefield, and lastly #33 Captain Jason Varitek. The announcement continued: “Derek, while these Red Sox Legends have come from near and far to thank you, your impact extends beyond baseball. Here in Boston where passion runs high for our sports heroes and just as high against our sports rivals, 3 of Boston’s greatest and grittiest heroes from the 3 other major league sports have also gone out of their way to be here, to congratulate you for all you have accomplished and to express their admiration for how you have done so. Please welcome, from the Boston Bruins, the legendary, Bobby Orr. From the New England Patriots, former captain, the great, Troy Brown. And a former captain of the Boston Celtics, back today just for you, welcome back Paul Pierce. Derek, not only do the stars of Red Sox past congratulate you, and not only do the stars of New England sports thank you, but all of those currently wearing red sox uniforms seek to salute you, but one man has memories unlike any other because he was your teacher. No doubt, you remember 35 straight two-a-days under the hot sun of the Florida Instructional League back in 1993 at the beginning of your minor league career. How proud he is of the player you became and how proud he is of the gentleman you have always been. Welcome the outstanding teacher of baseball, now the Red Sox third base coach, bringing you custom boots from L.L. Bean made in his home state of Maine, your teacher and friend, Brian Butterfield. And now just as little leaguers shake hands and say good game, and just as parents look to baseball to teach good sportsmanship, our 2014 Red Sox want to come out even though we have 9 more innings to go, to acknowledge your nearly 20 years of good games and good sportsmanship.” First one out was David Ortiz, then Joe Kelly who took a selfie with the Captain. The rest of the Red Sox came over and shook Jeter’s hand until they got to Pedroia, who was last. The announcement continued: “Now Derek, in this ballpark, second base belongs to Dustin Pedroia, but he would love to give this base to you, to commemorate the 153 games you will have played in Boston. May it hold only fond memories of your days and nights at Fenway Park. And Derek, all of us admire your heart felt commitment to the children of your Turn 2 foundation which successfully inspires youth to turn away from dangerous temptations and instead Turn 2 a healthy lifestyle. To support your efforts the Red Sox would like to make a contribution to support your foundation. Congratulations to you and to your sister for these great efforts. And Derek, beyond your own philanthropy, you have touched some lives in Boston very deeply. In fact, this past summer one small gesture on your part was, shall we say, very cool. Lets look at the video board” On the video board, they showed Derek Jeter in the locker room in a chair with teammates behind him with a Gatorade tub. Jeter was doing the ice bucket challenge (Jeter’s Ice Bucket Challenge). The announcement continued: “Derek, just before you were doused, you recognized your legendary predecessor Lou Gehrig, who first made us aware of the disease 75 years ago. And you recognized the captain of the Boston College Baseball team, who heighten our awareness so much this summer. How happy we are that this hero in the fight against ALS can be with us today to thank you directly and personally. Please welcome a brand new father and a father of the ice bucket challenge phenomenon, Boston’s own freight train, Peter Frates”
After Derek met with Pete half way to behind second base, the announcement continued: “Derek, we have tempted to convey our admiration and our gratitude. We now have one more sentiment to convey and it is the most important one. To illustrate it, we have one last gift, one more piece of the park. It is a heavy metal placard that hangs in the green monster and it is signed by our 2014 Red Sox, presented to you by David Ortiz and our young shortstop Xander Bogaerts, who as a child in Aruba looked up to you, emulated you, and now wears number 2 because of you. This inscribed sign has the one word with the unique spelling that symbolizes what we all feel for you, what we all have for you, and what we now give to you. It is the sign of our respect.”
After, Massachusetts native and Voice contestant, Michelle Brooks Thompson came out and sung “Respect” to Derek Jeter and even put in its own twist saying “Hey Jeter,” ” its all about you #2,” and “from Boston, Derek Jeter, we respect you.” The announcement continued: “And to you Derek Jeter, the Boston Red Sox organization and the fans of Red Sox Nation thank you for a career and in which you gained our admiration, inspired our gratitude, and earned our deepest respect.” Jeter than shook hands with the Boston Red Sox and New England greats. Then lined up on the third base side for the last time. The National Anthem was sung by Michelle Brooks Thompson. Red Sox and New England greats, plus Peter Frates stayed out near second base for the National Anthem. They were walked off the field after. When the National Anthem was over Jeter crouched down one more time, took off his cap, held back tears then headed out to warm up:
One last time the legend will warm up before a game. Clay Buchholz would start the game for the Sox. In the top of the first Derek Jeter would have his second-to-last at bat:
He lined out to the shortstop. In the 3rd inning, the Yankees started scoring. Francisco Cervelli walked to start off the inning and Jose Pirela singled. Ichiro Suzuki then tripled which scored Cervelli and Pirela. Derek Jeter came up. Everyone stood and clapped and chanted “Derek Jeter.” Everyone had their phones out knowing that this could be the last at bat of Jeter’s career:
The ball bounced high to third and Red Sox third basemen Gavin Cecchini jumped to get the ball:
The ball just barely bounced off his throwing hand. As Jeter ran to first everyone knew this was it. Once the baseball was sent in the dugout the Derek Jeter era was ending. Brian McCann came in to run for Jeter: He then headed out but first he tipped his helmet to the Sox dugout, then shook hands with Buchholz and went off the field. He was greeted by third base coach Rob Thomson:
Hugs went around as he countined down to the dugout to Mark Texiera and Brett Gardner. He went down the line to each of his teammates giving them a hug and smiling. Jeter tipped his helmet a couple more times and then went into the dugout:
That was the end of the Jeter era. After Jeter exited his pinch runner, McCann, ended up a third when Gardner doubled. Teixeira hit a sacrifice fly to center that brought McCann home making the score 4-0, Yankees in the lead:
During the top of the 7th, Craig Breslow relived Buchholz:
In the inning, Pirela doubled to center which caused Cervelli and Young to score. Murphy then singled to center and Pirela scored. Romine doubled to center, and Perez scored. Headley singled to right, scoring Murphy to take a 9-0 lead. During the middle of the 7th inning, Take Me Out To The Ballgame was special. The Red Sox brought in former New York Yankees outfielder to sing Take Me Out To The Ballgame. Bernie Williams came to Fenway and played his guitar while singing. He put his on twist to Take Me Out To The Ballgame. Only during this game, would a former Yankees player sing and play guitar for the seventh inning tradition. In the bottom of the 7th inning Rogers relieved Pineda. Butler doubled to right which scored Craig and Cecchini. Castillo then scored on error by right fielder Perez. Mookie Betts doubled to center, which scored Butler and Weeks bringing the score to 9-5. The game ended with the same score. During the 8th inning I went over to the dugout for my normal “9th inning seats.” I waited until the game was over and tried to sneak in to get a Jeter autograph but had no luck. I stuck around a little bit and a saw a trainer walking around. I asked him if I could get a baseball please. He went back into the dugout and grab a ball and tossed it to me. I didn’t go out empty handed and the ball streak continued! Good Luck to Derek Jet in his retirement!