Derek Jeter's home-run trot off base at final Yankee Stadium opener

Newsday's Jim Baumbach talks about Derek Jeter's final home opener and wonders who could possibly replace this generation's iconic Yankee, on April 7, 2014 at Yankee Stadium. (Credit: Newsday / Chris Ware, Robert Cassidy) (Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac, Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.)

On a day of lasts, Derek Jeter had what may have been a first on Monday.

Jeter didn't run hard to first base after hitting a long fly ball to leftfield in the fifth inning. You read that right: Derek Jeter didn't run hard to first base.

Jeter thought his drive was going to be a home run. But it banged high off the wall, and he had to hustle to just make it into second with a headfirst dive.



MORE: Derek Jeter career appreciation special section



"When I hit it, I thought it was a home run," Jeter said after going 1-for-4 in the Yankees' 4-2 victory over the Orioles. "I hit it pretty good. I think the wind played some tricks on it. Played some tricks on a few balls today.

"I thought it was a home run, then I thought it was going to be foul. And the next thing you know, it ricocheted right to the leftfielder, so I had to pick up the pace a little bit.

"There were some guys laughing. Until a couple of them hit some balls and the wind got them, too."

Jeter, who scored the Yankees' third run on a single by Jacoby Ellsbury, recognized how odd it was for him to be the one who could be accused of not giving 100 percent on the field.

"Maybe you get caught up in Opening Day and I thought it was a home run," he said. "I hit it good enough to be one. It just wasn't. It didn't go out.

"Yeah, you probably haven't seen it. You won't see it again. What can you do? I was safe. It would be a lot more embarrassing if I was out. I did make it, so I'm fine with it."

Said manager Joe Girardi: "Believe me, there was more than one person that got on him."

Before his final home opener, Jeter was not awash in tears as he spoke to the media. But that doesn't mean the Yankees' captain didn't expect it to be an emotional day.

"You're human," Jeter said. "Everyone's human. Everyone has emotions, everyone has feelings. Especially here when you've played in so many big games, so many special games throughout the course of my career.

"I'll be nervous. I'll have butterflies before this game starts. But I do that all the time. I've just been pretty good at trying to control my emotions and not get too high, not get too low.

"But yeah, you have feelings and there's a lot of 'wow' moments playing here in New York. But for me, I just felt it was always easier for me to play if I try to control my emotions."

After it was over, Jeter said: "It was a fun day. It was a fun day from the start."

Jeter said people who think he won't enjoy his retirement tour are "wrong." But that doesn't mean it will be his main focus.

"I still have a job to do," he said. "My job is to get ready to play every day, and that's what comes first."

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