3 in the Kee: Derek Jeter moments at The K that Royals fans might finally forgive
JUN 09, 2014 11:26a ET
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- It's like Wes Mantooth said in the original "Anchorman" movie: Deep down in your stomach, you may pure, straight HATE Derek Jeter, but (expletive deleted) it, do you respect him.
Going into the wraparound series finale Monday night, the New York Yankees' 39-year-old shortstop totes a career .319 batting average and an .814 OPS in 65 lifetime games at Kauffman Stadium, where he'll appear for the final time in a regular-season game; that's the ninth-highest average in The Captain's career for a park in which he has played at least 20 contests. It's also, strangely enough, the place he has the fourth-most sacrifice bunts in his career (four), tied with Angel Stadium, Fenway Park and Camden Yards.
More often than not, The K has been awfully kind to Jeter. We'll find out tonight, during a pregame ceremony honoring No. 2, whether Kansas City Royals fans return the favor in kind, if they can forgive after two decades of competitive abuse ....
THREE MEMORABLE DEREK JETER MOMENTS AT THE K
:03 ... LOCKED IN (AND LOADED): AUG. 15, 2011
Jeter came into town on a hot streak, coming off a three-game stretch in which he was 6 for 12 at home versus the Angels and Rays. No. 2 didn't waste any time picking up where he left off in the Bronx, posting a 3-for-4 night in which he knocked in three runs -- including a two-run triple to deep right field in the sixth inning that snapped a 3-3 tie -- while also stealing a base.
The Yanks won, 7-4, and would take two of three from the Royals in the series -- one of, as it turns out, the best ever three-game sets in Jeter's stellar career: The Michigan native was 9 for 15 with three runs scored, two doubles, a triple and five RBI.
:02 ... THE FIRST INSIDE-THE-PARKER: AUG. 2, 1996
Jeter's first serious Kauffman Stadium moment drags current FOX Sports Kansas City analyst Jeff Montgomery into the picture, much to Monty's chagrin. The former Royals closer gave up the first inside-the-park homer of No. 2's career, and it happened at The K during the dog days of 1996. The inside job happened in the top of the 10th to blow open a 1-0 contest, one that had been, up to that point, dominated by the contest's two starting pitchers -- Kevin Appier for the Royals and Dwight Gooden for the Yankees.
As crazy as the Yankees' three-run 10th frame was, the bottom of the inning was even loopier. The Royals rallied for four runs of their own, as closer Mariano Rivera retired only two of the seven hitters he faced. A Keith Lockhart doubled capped a wild, walkoff 4-3 victory. Montgomery got the W, too, in an extra inning that saw seven runs scored, combined, over one frame after none had come across over the previous nine.
:01 ... THE SOGGY JUMBOTRON SHOT: SEPT. 15, 2004
On a soggy getaway Wednesday, the Bronx Bombers were en route to another postseason trip; the Royals were playing out the string. Jeter led off the contest with a double and came around to score on a Gary Sheffield groundout to extend his hitting and scoring streaks to 11 games each.
No. 2 doubled again in the third inning, but the big shot -- the most memorable shot -- was yet to come.
Jeter was supposed to bat in the top of the fifth, but the frame wound up getting delayed because of rain for 25 minutes. When play resumed, Yankees second baseman Miguel Cairo was caught off second base on a stolen-base attempt to end the inning.
Leading off the sixth, Jeter drilled a 423-foot home run over the fountains in left-enter, a blast that cleared the water entirely and reportedly doinked off the base of the Jumbotron beyond the center-field fence.
"I hit it pretty good," Jeter told the Associated Press after the tilt.
The Yanks won that one, too, by a count of 3-0. You forgive, all right. But you never, ever, truly forget.