Sports loves a good storybook ending — to a season, a series, a career — and there was instant classic storybook ending last night in the Bronx.
Derek Jeter was playing in his last home game at Yankee Stadium. The opponent was the Baltimore Orioles, which had already clinched the AL East. The Yankees were already out of the postseason. The Captain started the night with an RBI single, which would have been enough to send the Yankee faithful home happy.
But in the bottom of the ninth, he stepped to the plate with one out, pinch runner Antoan Richardson on second, and the score tied 5-5. He took his time walking to the batter's box, then setting himself, savoring every second of what he knew would be his lat at-bat. And, finally, on Orioles pitcher Evan Meek's first pitch, Jeter, lined a shot into right field, bringing Richardson home and walking the Yankees off a winner.
The Yankees have three more games on the schedule — against the Red Sox, at Fenway — but it's impossible for Jeter to top the moment he had last night: Walking the Yankees off in his final home game? That's the kind of moment the Yankee fans at the stadium will be telling their kids about forever. Baseball fans know it, and so does Jeter.
"I want to take something special from Yankee Stadium and the view from shortstop here tonight is what I want to take home," Jeter said after the game. "I've only played shortstop throughout my entire career and the last time I want to play was tonight."
He added he'll likely DH a game in Boston — ""out of respect for the Red Sox, their fans and the rivalry" — but otherwise, he's calling it a career. Last night was the end of an era. And what a way to close the book on a career.
Photo: Julie Jacobson/AP Photo