Yes, I am a Yankee fan, have been my entire life. If you can bear with me for a two minutes (hatred aside), I’d like to share why Derek Jeter’s recent milestone of reaching 3,000 hits was such a big deal. The sports and mainstream media love Jeter, so there was obviously no shortage of coverage and editorials. In fact, there was too much, because the subject matter is easy to cover — there are those who love Jeter (including yours truly) and those that hate him (or say they respect him, whatever!).
The Jeter 3,000-hit milestone was important for one reason: Before Saturday, Yankee fans never had the chance show their collective appreciation for Jeter as an individual player at the Stadium. For a player who is largely defined by his clutch performances and reputation as a team player, this was a rare occasion for the fans to stop a game and to acknowledge their star player as an individual level for as long as they wanted to, and it may never happen again while Jeter is a player.
That is why this event was important.
That is why the 23-year old fan who caught the 3,000th hit wanted to simply give the ball back to Jeter without asking for anything in return.
That is why my dad and I briefly excused ourselves from a family wedding ceremony to catch the live coverage in the hotel lobby bar.
And, that is why the bar in the lobby was full of Red Sox, Mets, and Phillies fans, too. As much as they wanted to hate on the Yankees and Jeter, they all knew they’d likely never see something like this again.