Derek Jeter still focused on baseball as final homestand begins

Derek Jeter has effectively hid his emotions for 20 years in the Bronx.

Derek Jeter Derek Jeter signs autographs before his final homestand.
Credit: Getty Images

 

Derek Jeter has effectively hid his emotions for 20 years in the Bronx.

 

And as the final eight home games of his illustrious career started Thursday night, the Yankee captain maintained that vibe.

 

It’s all part of the routine for Jeter, who might be among the best in the game at keeping a consistent routine, especially with the media.

 

“It’s all anyone’s been talking about,” Jeter said. “I’d like to enjoy it. I’d like to get out there, but nothing has changed from what I spoke in Tampa to when I spoke today because I haven’t even been outside yet.”

All along manager Joe Girardi has maintained this is not a farewell tour and as remote as the Yankees’ playoff chances are, he still is keeping that mindset.

“I don’t want to look at it like that because we still have a chance,” Girardi said. “I know our chances aren’t great, but as long as there’s a chance, we have to keep doing what we need to do to win, and that’s what [Jeter] would want too.”

Jeter might get a game off this home set, though it is tough to see when exactly. The Yankees play a day game at 4:05 p.m. on Saturday following a night game, but the reality is the fans are here to see Jeter, even if he is a designated hitter in some of those games.

The Yankees could be officially eliminated from playoff contention for the second year in a row during the homestand. Last year, the Yankees were eliminated the night before Mariano Rivera’s emotional last appearance on Sept. 26.

“I think that’s probably really strange for Derek, and as hard as last year was for him, this will probably be harder,” Girardi said.

Though Jeter’s emotions and the mindset of Girardi are popular topics, so was the latest Jeter commercial which was released Thursday.

After NIKE’s Respect Campaign with numerous people within baseball and outside of it saluting him with a hat tip, Gatorade rolled out a 90-second black-and-white commercial.

The commercial was filmed in late July and featured Jeter’s usual routine of being driven to the Bronx in an SUV. Instead of stopping at Yankee Stadium, Jeter got out on River Avenue, walked down the street, met fans and went into Stan’s Bar.

Then Jeter walks up the stairs to the Stadium on 161st Street with fans shrieking and screaming for him.

The ad is scored to “My Way” by Frank Sinatra.

“It was an opportunity for me ... to thank people which I’ve been pretty consistent with every time I spoke,” Jeter said. “I know what the fans have meant throughout my career. So it was sort of a way for me to thank them for what they’ve meant to me. It was a fun experience.”

Follow Yankees beat writer Larry Fleisher on Twitter @LarryFleisher.

 
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