New York Minute

September 10, 2009 12:46 PM

A Typical Jeter Performance

The Derek Jeter Show finally re-emerged in Wednesday’s 4-2 victory over Tampa Bay, and the great Yankee captain showed why he’s poised to step into history.
Jeter collected three hits in the victory to tie Lou Gehrig for most hits in a career by a Yankee with 2,721. The shortstop can surpass the Hall-of-Famer in Friday’s game against Baltimore.
The way Jeter went about getting the hits showed why he’s also bound for Cooperstown.
In the first inning, he dropped a bunt down toward the third base line and beat the throw. The hit snapped a 0-for-12 drought, his longest hitting slump of the season.
"That's why I bunted in the first inning. I needed to get one hit, right?" Jeter said.
Then, showing the power that makes him such a dangerous threat, he hit a booming double to deep center field in the fifth that took one hop over the wall. He tied the Iron Horse with a sharp grounder to right field off of Rays pitcher Jeff Niemann in the seventh. It was the classic Jeter stroke, and the sellout crowd roared its approval.
"I really didn't know what to do because we were losing at the time and I didn't want to disrespect Tampa," Jeter said in an on-field interview with Kimberly Jones of the YES Network after the game. "I never dreamt about all of this."
It was a typical reaction by Jeter, who could give lessons on how to show class and humility in any circumstance. He didn’t showboat and didn’t embarrass the pitcher. The game didn’t become All About Jeter. It was just a historic moment in a taut game, and the Yankees were trailing 2-0 at the time.
The Yankees rallied for three runs in the eighth inning, capped by Jorge Posada’s three-run home run, for the victory.
In his final at-bat, Jeter had an opportunity to overtake Gehrig but walked against pitcher Grant Balfour.
Jeter settled for a share of the record with Gehrig – for now. Gehrig’s career ended in 1939, and even in the great Yankee legacy, no player has come close to toppling the record.
Until Jeter came along.
"He's one of the classiest people to ever play this game," Jeter said.. "It's just kind of mind-boggling to have my name next to his."
In the end, the night showed why Jeter is on the cusp of history. He showed his versatility with a surprise bunt, power with a booming shot to center and dexterity with the single to right, where so many of Jeter’s hits have landed before.
He did all of that while playing a flawless game at shortstop, leading the Yankees to another victory and doing it with dignity.
It was, in essence, the Derek Jeter Time Capsule game. It was a game to bottle for the archives, a typical Jeter performance that will one day pave the way for his path to Cooperstown.

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