Derek Jeter has put another ballpark in the rearview mirror of his professional career. On Sunday, he played his final game at Camden Yards in Baltimore, Maryland — the home field of the Baltimore Orioles. It was just another of the already plentiful opportunities to see that Jeter is not just loved by Yankees, but he even holds a special place in the hearts of his fiercest rivals. In this case, the Orioles, who after having been beaten down by the Yankees for the majority of the last decade or two now stand 11 games ahead in the American East, gave Jeter a few gifts and played a part in the long, sweet goodbye the MLB is giving to one of its all time greats.
Jeter was presented with a cake in the shape of his famous jersey number, two, baked and decorated by Baltimore’s own Sugar Bakers of Catonsville; a bushel of jumbo steamed Maryland blue crabs by the Oriole legend Boog Powell; and U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Vic Mercado gave him an official US Navy Captains hat, in honor of course, of his service to the Yankees as team captain for most of his career — all told, he has been captain for 11 years.
Perhaps the most important things the Orioles gave him, however, are the memories. Buck Showalter, the current manager for the Orioles, was also Jeter’s very first manager in the major leagues. In a very playful but nonetheless touching exchange of words, Showalter joked about how Jeter should be given a picture of his infamous homerun in the first game of the 1996 American League Championship against the Orioles. As many recall, this controversial hit was ruled a homerun only after it was caught over the wall and hauled back by a young fan named Jeffery Maier. Jeter joked right back saying he agrees that it would have been funny to get a picture but he had already reaped the benefits of it so he didn’t need the picture. He also thanked Showalter for giving him his first shot at the playoffs in 1995 when the then Yankees manager agreed to let him stay on the squad during for the postseason, even though Jeter never got to play.
It was a bitter-sweet final visit to Camden Yards, as the Orioles ended up beating the Yankees by one. But it is not that bad, seeing as how Jeter has taken more than his fair share of wins in that stadium over the past 17 years and even Orioles fans showed him respect and admiration for that.
from Evan Vitale’s Sports Blog http://ift.tt/1tXh4rd