Jeter's last visit to the 'Big A' is one to remember
MAY 08, 2014 1:56a ET
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- With the music roaring, and bags being packed as the team prepared to head to Milwaukee for the next stop on its six-game road trip, there stood in the Yankees clubhouse Mr. October and Mr. November exchanging a few words.
The topic of discussion?
Derek Jeter, aka Mr. November's, paddleboard.
Before the start of the Angels series finale with the Yankees, Mike Trout, Howie Kendrick, Albert Pujols, and Jered Weaver, on behalf of the Angels organization, presented Jeter with a paddleboard decked out with the No. 2 and Yankees pinstripes.
It was the talk of the clubhouse following the Yankees' 9-2 win, taking the rubber match from the Angels.
Reggie Jackson, Mr. October, asked Jeter if he needed somewhere to store the paddleboard. If so, Jackson, with a smile, said had a place locally that could hold it.
Jeter wasn't buying it, saying that he would have it shipped.
"That was a cool gift," Jeter said of the paddleboard. "I thought that was awesome.
"In my backyard, I can use it."
What happened before the game was a huge topic of discussion, but during the game, Jeter provided more fodder.
As the flash bulbs popped in the top of the second inning, Jeter calmly walked to the plate.
On the second pitch of his second at-bat he drove a Hector Santiago pitch over the wall in left field.
He rounded the bases to a roaring ovation from the sellout crowd of 44,083 at Angel Stadium that had more than its fair share of Yankees fans.
It was, simply, Jeteresque.
"It's Jeter," Santiago said. "You expect great things out of him. He hasn't had a home run all year. I don't think I've ever thrown a cutter to him, he hits his 400 (feet) for a home run, so it's like tip your cap."
It was officially measured 394 feet but the Yankees captain left the yard for the first time this season, putting the visitors up 6-0 and he did so in what could possibly be his final appearance as the Yankees shortstop ever at Angel Stadium -- a place he's had success throughout his career hitting, .334 lifetime which is the highest of any ballpark he's played in with at least 300 at-bats.
"It's good to get one," Jeter said of the home run. "You'd, at least like to get one but I'm not catching Babe Ruth or anything."
Added Santiago: "I feel like I made a good pitch right there. It was probably one of my better cutters I've thrown this last seven starts and he got me."
The home run he gave up to Jeter came after a nightmare first inning for Santiago. The Yankees scored five runs on three hits. The Angels committed two errors in the inning. One of those errors was charged to Santiago, who fell to 0-6 after lasting just 2 1/3 innings Wednesday. He also had a wild pitch and two walks in the inning.
With the loss, the Angels once again found themselves below .500. If that was tough to deal with, sharing the field with his childhood hero for the last time made it tougher, still, for Trout.
"I've looked up to him since I was a little kid," Trout said of Jeter. "A part of me is, kind of, sad -- the little kid in me, today, seeing a childhood hero for the last time, at least in my playing career."
The conversation in the Yankees clubhouse between Mr. October and Mr. November didn't last long. Jackson didn't pry too much. Jeter made his plans clear. He was leaving Angel Stadium for the last time and when the time came, he would be using his paddleboard.