CONGRATULATIONS, DEREK.Tonight, Derek Jeter got his 2,721st career hit, tying Lou Gehrig's long-standing all-time Yankees hits record. Also, it was free Snoopy night in the Bronx. Although my initial ticket purchase was based more on a juvenile obsession with stuffed toys than a cognizant desire to witness baseball history-in-the-making, I feel so, so lucky to have been at the stadium. The universe is kind, sometimes.
Admittedly, things didn't start out that well. Delayed in Chelsea due to my own idiocy and then burdened by bad train luck, I arrived at Yankee Stadium just in time to see the 18,000 Snoopys run out. Bummer! Happily, Paul's a student and can do things like show up super early to sporting events. Because he has a very kind heart and because he's seen enough of my only-child tantrums to want to avoid them, I got his Snoopy. Thanks, Paul!
There's the Captain on the gigantic Yankees scoreboard during his first at-bat! Everyone was standing and the camera flashes were incessant and insanely bright. Jeter had gone 0-12 in the Rays series so far, so no one really knew what to expect. For days, he'd been four hits away from breaking Gehrig's record and the New York tabloids were being typically vocal about the slump. Maybe people didn't want to get their hopes up. After he bunted his way to first base, the crowd exploded. I think we yelled "JETER" all the way through Johnny Damon's first swing.
Snoopy was so relieved! He had a drink to celebrate.
If you want to know exactly what happened in the game, The New York Times has a good recap. If you don't really care that much or already know, you can keep reading this blog. Basically, the Yankees were doing pretty badly until cranky old Posada came in and hit a three-run homer in the eighth inning. Jeter went 3-4, tying Gehrig with his third hit and drawing a walk during his last at-bat. This walk caused titanic waves of booing in the upper decks. I booed too, but I wasn't at all sad (and come on, I'll boo the Rays for any reason). It would have been awesome to see him break the record, but it was also awesome to see him tie it. The above photo shows the Yankees congratulating each other after sweeping the series. We're still nine games up on the Red Sox. Unbelievable.
I don't know what to say about Jeter's record-tying hit, other than that it was overwhelming and emotional in all the right ways. I have no idea how long the applause lasted, but Jeter took his helmet off and saluted the crowd at least three times. One of the best parts was seeing his family's reaction on the screen. They look so nice. I know I talk about how great Derek Jeter is all the time-- like, to the point of absurdity-- but he really is a great person. Don't laugh at me, I'm being serious. IF YOU DON'T LIKE DEREK JETER, YOU ARE JUST A HATER AND YOU'D BETTER THINK LONG AND HARD ABOUT TRYING TO FIX YOUR AWFUL PERSONALITY BEFORE YOUR FRIENDS ABANDON YOU AND YOU DIE ALONE. Just kidding (sort of). Derek Jeter wouldn't want me to hate on the Jeter haters, so I won't (publicly).
And so, goodnight from the House that Jeter Built. More tomorrow if he breaks the record. Once more, congratulations Derek! You're the best and thank you and we love you.