Sports: Captain 3000
Brooklynites as well as the City of New York, were all witness to “history in the making” last Saturday afternoon. Going into Saturday’s matinee game against the Tampa Bay Rays, Jeter was 2 hits shy of 3000. In the first inning, Jeter hit a line drive past the third base line. In the third inning on a 3-2 count, Rays’ pitcher David Price threw a slider to Jeter down and in and Jeter hit it deep to left field for a home run to get his 3000th hit. Could anybody have scripted it any better? No one would have thought that upon his quest to 3000 would come in the most unexpected scenario of all… a home run. Jeter became the 28th player in baseball history to join the 3000 hit club, the first Yankee to reach 3000, and the second player (aside Wade Boggs) to get hit number 3000 on a homer. I felt goose bumps watching it from home as Jeter’s parents and fans all stood up and applauded with joy. At 37, Jeter became the youngest player to reach 3000 as well. Jeter’s day was just beginning as he collected three more hits including the go-ahead hit in the eighth inning to wrap-up a 5 for 5 day with a Yankee win. It was Pandemonium in the Bronx. The fan that caught the ball, Christian Lopez, gave Jeter back the baseball. Lopez received gifts as well as season tickets for the year.
“Many people would’ve sold it on eBay or something, but I knew how hard he worked to achieve such a milestone,” uttered Lopez. As he rounded the bases, Jeter was mobbed by his teammates at home plate as they all congratulated him.
You think back in 1995, when Jeter was a baby-faced lean kid from Kalamazoo, Michigan, to now being on a history’s list along with players such as Wade Boggs, Pete Rose, Roberto Clemente, and Tony Gwynn. When Jeter came up as a rookie, he wore # 73. At the time, Yankee manager Buck Showalter insisted that the Yankee front office to give Jeter a single-digit number. “He is going to be something special,” Showalter said, and indeed he was right. The first half of the baseball season is completed, and the Yankees are in second place at 53-35, just a game back behind the Red Sox. It was indeed a great weekend to be a Yankee fan, a baseball fan, and a New Yorker. However, due to the emotional toll it took on Jeter’s pursuit of 3000, Jeter decided not to attend the MidSummer festivities in Arizona due to physical and emotional exhaustion. Jeter was voted in by the fans to play in the All-Star game. Jeter was criticized by Major League officials just a bit for not showing up. With the pressure it took for him to achieve the milestone (let alone at home), and his calf arguably not at 100%, it makes sense that Jeter would consider taking some rest as he prepares for the second half of the season.
It may be a little too early to talk 4000, but why not. Jeter has two more years after this year with a player option for a third year. Jeter would have to play longer than that. He is ahead of Pete Rose’ pace to hit 4000. Jeter will be nearly 41 if he decides to still play and he continues to average 179 hits per year as he has done. We could be witnessing perhaps another Yankee to hit 3000 soon as Alex Rodriguez can achieve the milestone projected in about three years from now. Current players Ivan Rodriguez has 2,842 hits, Omar Vizquel has 2,831 but Rodriguez is 39, Vizquel is 44 and there is no guarantee of how long they will still play approaching the end of their careers. Rodriguez will be 36 in a couple of weeks and he currently has 2,762 hits. What a glorious weekend for all sports fans. The second half begins for both New York teams as the Mets host the Phillies, and the Yankees head to Toronto to play the Blue Jays.
Sports Notes: (Baseball) Yankee second baseman, Robinson Cano wins the 2011 State Farm Home Run Derby, defeating Red Sox slugger Adrian Gonzalez. In the 82nd Annual All-Star game, the National League defeated the American League 5-1. Brewers slugger, Prince Fielder was named the MVP. Breaking News broke late last night, as the Mets traded their closer Francisco Rodriguez to the Brewers in exchange for 2 players to be named later. (Football) Players and Owners are optimistic that a deal will be in place around July 21. The big issue seems to be the length of the rookie contracts. The two sides are scheduled to meet this week in Atlanta.