BOSTON — David Ortiz summed up Derek Jeter’s final Yankee Stadium moment better than anyone.
“Perfection,” said Ortiz, who has opposed Jeter in the Boston Red Sox-New York Yankees rivalry since 2003.
Yet despite Jeter’s walk-off heroics in his final home game in the Bronx, the Yankees shortstop vowed after Thursday night’s emotional farewell to play in this weekend’s series against the Red Sox at Fenway Park.
“Yeah, I’ll play in some capacity,” Jeter said in a postgame interview on MLB Network. “To be quite honest with you, I think this is probably my last game at shortstop. I want to remember that view I had right out there today. Out of respect to the Boston fans and the rivalry, I will play in some capacity.”
There had been some question in recent days about whether Jeter would play in Boston now that the Yankees officially are eliminated from playoff contention. He could have played Thursday and rode off into the sunset with his final game ever coming in New York, where he has spent his entire 20-year career.
Such a possibility seemed to gain even more steam after Jeter delivered a walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth Thursday. Yankees closer David Robertson blew a three-run lead in the top of the inning, paving the way for Jeter’s fairytale ending.
Jeter has been an integral part of the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry, though, so ending his career in Boston is equally as appropriate, especially if he opts to serve as the designated hitter rather than play shortstop.
“I think he should, and he will. Even one at-bat,” Ortiz said Thursday night after the Red Sox’s 11-1 win over the Tampa Bay Rays when asked about Jeter potentially playing this weekend. “I know that he probably will be thinking about leaving it right there (on that walk-off hit). But he’s a guy who knows what he does very well. Everybody is expecting him to get an at-bat or play in a game, or whatever.”
Jeter’s final home game was something out of a movie. But in typical Jeter fashion, he’s approaching his final days with selflessness.
Now that’s perfection.
Photo via Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports