Sunday, August 14, 2011

Posada steals pal Jeter's day in the sun

It started off as Derek Jeter's day, but quickly became Jorge Posada's day.

I was at the ballpark in the Bronx yesterday because I refused to miss the celebration of Jeter's 3,000th hit. It was a lovely ceremony, filled with gifts for not just Derek, but for the entire Jeter family, which I loved seeing. Jeter always says his successful career is a family effort so it was nice to see Mom, Dad and Sharlee Jeter get the recognition they deserve. And all the acrimony between Jeter and the New York Yankees was completely forgotten, at least for a day, as the Steinbrenner family was a big part of the pre-game ceremony. I got a little choked up when Mariano Rivera twice declared his love for his friend and long-time teammate. Pretty soon, Jeter will return the favor and deliver a similarly moving speech when the Yankees celebrate Rivera’s ascension to the top of the all-time saves list.

But from the pre-game announcement of the Yankees starting lineup, it was clear that this would be Posada’s day in the sun. We all cheered when Posada was announced as the designated hitter, but that roar grew louder when Posada delivered a clutch 2-ribbie single and was deafening when he hit that Grand Slam. I’m not psychic, but before Jorge strode to the plate I predicted that home run. I could just tell it was coming because of the love and support Jorge was feeling from the fans in the ballpark and Jorge’s intense desire to make the most of his starting opportunity and show why he still deserves a place on this team. Watching Jorge circle the bases, I teared up for the second time that day. It was truly one of those magical moments that can only happen in baseball.

So Jorge stole his good friend's spotlight and judging from the smile on Jeter's face, he didn't mind at all. They've been friends for a long time and it's a very real friendship as detailed in Jorge and Laura Posada's book The Beauty of Love, not one of those media fantasies. Jeter knew how much his buddy needed a day like yesterday after the public humiliation he endured last weekend and couldn’t have been happier at the way his pal stepped up for the Yankees and for himself.

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