Rain may dampen Derek Jeter’s send-off after 20 years in Yankee pinstripes, but the Bronx Bombers were preparing Thursday as if the iconic shortstop’s final home game at Yankee Stadium will not be rained out. However, there’s a strong possibility of a rainout, and whether there will be a proper, final celebration of The Captain’s career remains up in the air.
A Yankees public relations employee wouldn’t say whether the team had any contingency plans for a rainout or if there would be a tribute to Jeter should the game be canceled. If the game against the Baltimore Orioles isn’t made up -- a likely scenario since the game would be essentially meaningless with the Orioles already having clinched the American League East title and the Yanks with no chance of making the playoffs -- Wednesday night's game at Yankee Stadium will have been Jeter’s last home game. Jeter had a performance uncharacteristic of his 20-year career: 0-for-4 with a strikeout as the Orioles came back to beat the Yankees, 9-5.
“Right now, we’re going as if the game is going at 7:05,” the public relations employee said, referring to the night game’s start time.
If the game is played, it would be only the second out of 2,745 games in Jeter’s career in which the future Hall of Famer took the field with the Yankees mathematically eliminated from the postseason, according to an Elias Sports Bureau statistic cited by ESPN’s Jayson Stark.
“One meaningless game in 20 seasons? Whoa. On one hand, it would be nuts to argue that was all Derek Jeter’s doing. On the other hand, what defines his career better than that? A man who lived for the big game -- and played nothing but big games. For 20 years. What better way to put a frame around the career of one of the greatest shortstops who ever turned a 4-6-3 [double play]?” Stark wrote in a column on the numbers of Jeter’s career.
While it’s unclear whether Jeter has played his final home game as a Yankee, the shortstop has been on a farewell tour at away stadiums throughout the season as the face of baseball for a generation. The Yankees held Derek Jeter Day on Sept. 7 to pay tribute to their star and also posted an online dedication to The Captain last week with iconic catches and World Series home runs.
Jeter is only one of six players in baseball to have remained on the same team at 20 years of age and after they reached 40 years old.
"You guys have all watched me grow up over the last 20 years," he told fans during Derek Jeter Day, according to USA Today. "I've watched you, too. Some of you guys are getting old, too.”
â€” New York Yankees (@Yankees) September 24, 2014
â€” Logan Touse (@T_train1288) September 25, 2014
todays officially the funeral of my child hood with Jeter ' s last game in pinstripes tonight #FarewellCaptain
â€” Kevin Klatt (@KlattinTheHat) September 25, 2014
#OneWordFor2 Class. Never heard anything negative about him. Played the right way, living his life the right way. Pros should take notes.
â€” Jerome Johnson (@J_G_Johnson) September 25, 2014
â€” Salese Invests (@MSalese95) September 25, 2014
#OneWordFor2 Legend. His legacy will be remembered for the rest of time
â€” MikeZ12 (@Mike_Zwayer) September 25, 2014