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What happens after 3,000?

July 10, 2011 by

Derek Jeter homers for his 3,000th hit

Yesterday in the Bronx, Derek Jeter collected hit number 3,000 the way he has collected so many others. Odds were that number 3,000 would probably come off of an inside fastball that he would fight off, and drop into right field like so many of his other hits have.  But that would be too boring.

In Jeter’s first at bat, he singled to left field for this 2,999th career hit.  El Capitan wasn’t messing around today, you could tell it was time to get this over with.  Before the at bat that could possibly produce the magical hit, the ball boy had to deliver the specially marked Jeter baseballs what were stamped with a serial number to assure their authenticity.   Always one for the dramatics, Jeter fouled off two straight with a full count as 56,000 fans stood on their feet.  Finally on pitch number eight of the at bat, David Price threw a curveball that Jeter waited on, and deposited into the left field stands.

Congrats Derek, no one can ever take this moment away from you…….oh wait, if you were watching the game on the YES Network, blowhard announcer Michael Kay did everything he could to make it about him, and not you.  Sorry Derek.  It should have been all about you and not about some idiot screaming his pre-rehearsed diarrhea over your moment.  I actually have to hand it to John Sterling for once.  His call was actually pretty well done.  It sounded like he had genuine shock and excitement over the home run.  You can listen to both calls here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kRXbj9D8qI4 .

After the love fest was over, it was time for Jeter to finally relax and go back to playing baseball.  But what fun would that be to go back and hit .258?  In his next at bat, a double for #3,0001.  In his next at bat, a single for #3,002.  Seriously?  4 for 4?  This guy just has a knack for coming up big in these type of situations.

Don’t worry, Jeter wasn’t done.  Not only did he join Wade Boggs as the only member of the 3,000 hit club to hit a home run to reach the milestone, Jeter wanted to Join someone else.   In the 8th inning with the score tied at 4, Jeter singled in Eduardo Nunez to put the Yankees ahead 5 to 4.  Jeter joined Craig Biggio as the only members of the 3,000 hit club to go 5 for 5 in the game in which hit number 3,000 was recorded.

Many people in the NY area call up WFAN or ESPN Radio and either defend Jeter as if he’s untouchable, or they have come to the realization that he’s slipped in his production and is no longer “Derek Jeeduh” of  the past.  I’m not a Yankees fan, but I do have a lot of respect for those Yankee fans that have realized that he is human, and has slipped a bit.

Listen, we never want to see one of our heroes get old.  Unfortunately it’s a fact of sporting  life.  I’m not old enough to remember when Willie Mays was a disaster in his last year with the Mets, or when Mickey Mantle was hobbling around Yankee Stadium with a walker.  But Jeter isn’t going to go out like that.  He’s smart enough and plays the game differently than those two icons did.  There’s no telling how Jeter will play the rest of the season, or for the rest of his 3 year contract, but one thing is for sure.  He’ll know when it’s time to hang em up.

This one is for all the haters out there.  Jeter is batting a cool 1.000 since he collected his 3,000th hit.