On Derek Jeter Day in the Bronx, the Yankees honored their captain by bringing in the likes of Michael Jordan, Cal Ripken Jr. and the next commissioner, Rob Manfred, along with Jeter’s championship teammates and his family.
Still, at the end of the nearly one-hour pregame festivities, when Jeter picked up the mic, wearing the Yankees hat and jersey adorned by a special patch to commemorate his career, the people Jeter most wanted to address were the fans who have supported him over the past two decades.
After Jeter briefly thanked George Steinbrenner, his family, friends and teammates, the 40-year-old captain turned his attention to the masses who chanted his name throughout.
“Lastly and most importantly, I want to thank you, the fans,” said Jeter, who later admitted his hand was shaking. “Anyone who is here today, anyone who is at home watching, anyone who has ever been over the course, over the last 20 seasons, thank you very much. You guys have watched me grow up over the last 20 years. I’ve watched you, too. Some of you guys are getting older, too. I want to thank you for helping me feel like a kid the last 20 years.
“In my opinion, I’ve had the greatest job in the world. I’ve had a chance to be the shortstop for the New York Yankees — and there is only one of those. I always felt my job was to try and provide joy and entertainment for you guys, but it can’t compare to what you brought me. For that, thank you very much. I’ve loved what I’ve done. I love what I do. More importantly, I’ve loved doing it for you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you very much.”
Walking off the field, Jeter said he had a game to play. Soon after, he started preparing to start at short and bat second.
The Yankees would go on to lose 2-0 to the Kansas City Royals, further harming their slim playoff hopes. Jeter went 1-for-3 with a walk.