One of the best signs of the night, was one I saw held up by a fan flashed on the big video board in Center Field in Yankee Stadium. It read, "Tonight I am the luckiest fan on the face of the earth", the truth in that statement was amazing to me as a Yankee fan. I consider myself lucky to have been a part of last night's rain-soaked evening.
I received these tickets as a make up for a rain-out last September 12th in the old Yankee stadium. Last year they were a present to my son for his 18th birthday. He and I catching a game, two generations of Yankee fans, a father and a son. The old and the new.
What a fitting connection, on this night, almost one year later we were sitting in the New Yankee Stadium watching Derek Jeter break a record long held by Lou Gehrig. Bringing together the old and the new. In Yankee lore, what better connection can there be between Yankee heroes than Lou Gehrig and Derek Jeter?
Derek Jeter walked to the plate in his second at bat, leading off the third inning, ending the suspense and taking over possession of the Yankee record book for hits in a career. In typical Jeter fashion, he lined a 4-seam fastball for a single, the opposite way down the first base line, and the crowd erupted. Cameras flashed, people cheered, there were high-fives all around and Derek's teammates led by Alex Rodriguez all came out to congratulate him.
This time, I think Derek seemed to soak it all in. He flashed that smile that brings back all that is good and right about baseball. On a night like last night, one can forget about the Steroid era. Derek dreamt of this night long ago. He wanted to be a Yankee growing up as a kid. His parents were there in his Little League games, and they were here tonight.
It was not a juiced up mammoth blast. It was a single. A Jeterian single.
Lou Gehrig and Derek Jeter are now forever connected in Yankee lore. The Iron man and The Captain. My son asked if Lou Gehrig was there last night. I believe he was standing at first base and guided that ball fair and was waiting to congratulate Derek.
On a night when NY recalled September 11th, when the lights shone again in the cloudy sky above the site of the World Trade Center. In some small way, it was yet another moment to have us rise above that day.
Derek Jeter, who embodied the dream of anyone who ever played Little League baseball, illustrated that we all can have dreams, and live those dreams. Tonight Derek lived his dream, yet again. He emblazoned his signature on the walls of Monument Park.
Yes, Tonight I was the luckiest fan on the face of the Earth!!