Eighteen years ago this month, while a senior in high school, I hung a picture of Derek Jeter (and another of Andy Pettitte) from the newspaper in my locker. My brother, Jason, had recently taught me about the classic NY Yankees, and I had become enthralled by these young, talented (and yes, good looking) players, as well as the history of the franchise. I was learning what their strengths were, and excited for the 1996 World Series to begin.
Now here we are... almost two decades later. Tonight is Derek Jeter’s last home game ever at Yankee stadium… he’s retiring at the ripe old age of 40.
In that time since I hung that poster of the young talented Jeter, I’ve learned about the players, their stats, how the game was played, and have enjoyed attending games with family and friends on beautiful sunny days, as well as crappy rainy days. The memories over the years are too many to count. But here are just a few:
Rich and I got engaged as a Yankee game. We used Yankee numbers to identify tables at our wedding. We even have a 10-year-old dog named after Andy Pettitte, and our cat was named after Tino Martinez.
Even though life has changed, become busier (I haven't watched a complete Yankee game in a few years), Derek still holds a place in my heart, along with that original late 90's crew: Andy, Mariano, Paulie, Bernie, Jorge, and Tino. This Yankee team I got to know and love were amazing players, classy men, real team players. They made watching baseball more than just a sport; it was about being connected to something bigger, a family of sorts, something exciting.
I'm so thankful for those years where the Yankees brought Rich and I closer together, and brought us joy. Even though right now I do not have the time or energy to follow all the current players, I will still raise my child to be a Yankee fan, teach her about the rich Yankee history that my brother has taught me, the good, the bad and the ugly. And I will forever cherish that magical time when the Yankees were part of our life every summer evening.
Thanks for the memories, Jeter. Now on to the next phase in your life, as we're on to the next phase in ours...