Derek Jeter gets a day off, and some fans at Yankee Stadium were unhappy about it

The Yankees' Derek Jeter looks on from the The Yankees' Derek Jeter looks on from the dugout during a game against the Detroit Tigers at Yankee Stadium on Aug. 7, 2014. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Jim McIsaac

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Anthony Rieber Newsday columnist Anthony Rieber

Anthony Rieber has been at Newsday since Aug. 31, 1998 and in his current position since July 4, ...

"Of course I finally go to a Yankee game this year & Jeter isn't playing. #heartbroken" -- @ambaabaybeee

On the seventh day, Derek Jeter rested. And some people at Yankee Stadium Thursday afternoon were unhappy about it.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi made the extremely reasonable decision to sit Jeter after the retiring 40-year-old captain had played six days in a row, including Wednesday night.

A day game off after a night game is quite common in baseball. Brian McCann also didn't start. Nor did Tigers star Miguel Cabrera. It's a long season.

But it's getting short for those who want to squeeze one more day of memories out of Jeter's Hall of Fame career. One more chance to hear Bob Sheppard's taped voice say, "Now batting, No. 2, Derek Jeter, No. 2.'' One more chance to cheer, to snap far-away photos, to chant "Der-ek Je-ter.'' To maybe see him inside-out a line-drive single to right or make a jump-throw from short.

To see him just be Derek Jeter.

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"Just an off day,'' Girardi said. "Day game after a night game. Another long stretch. Six in a row for him. Just a day off.''

Not for some folks.

 

"I know there's no crying in baseball, but that rule doesn't apply when your favorite player takes a day off.'' -- @GabbyxFarley

 

How many Jeter shirts were worn in the sellout crowd of 47,013? How many fans brought hand-made Jeter tribute signs? How many parents had to explain that baseball players sometimes take a day off?

Just to be clear: We're not saying the Yankees did anything wrong here. Jeter is not going to play in every game.

As is the custom these days, some who had tickets took to Twitter to express their disappointment. They still got to see a good game on a beautiful day, and if they are Yankees fans, they enjoyed a 1-0 win over the Tigers.

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Still . . .

Anyone who can get to only one game a season couldn't have been happy when word from inside the Yankees' clubhouse revealed no Jeter in the lineup and Stephen Drew starting at shortstop. Drew drove in the game's only run with a fourth-inning double.

Those who follow the Yankee closely knew Jeter's day off was a distinct possibility. But for those not inside the day-to-day bubble, it must have come as somewhat of a shock. Why does he need a day off when he's going to have them all off soon? But that's not how baseball works.

If you're really inside the bubble, you knew Girardi couldn't even use Jeter as the designated hitter unless he sat down Carlos Beltran, who can't play the outfield because of an elbow injury.

And if you thought maybe Girardi would put sentimentality first, remember his quote from April 12, when Jeter didn't start a home game against the Red Sox: "I wasn't hired to put on a farewell tour.''

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So Jeter sat.

 

"Aw, man, no Jeter today. Dang.'' -- @Mikey_Baseball

 

The Yankees have 26 regular-season home games left, with the final one coming on Sept. 25. Jeter will be honored in a ceremony on Sept. 7, the early date chosen so the goodbyes won't be a distraction for what the Yankees hope is a successful run to the postseason.

If they don't make it, it all will end on Sept. 28. At Fenway Park, of all places.

Jeter has handled his farewell tour with grace, as usual. But it's possible the final month will be more difficult for him than it was for Mariano Rivera, who seemed to soak in all of the love last season.

Jeter just wants to play. Every day.

"Did I need the day off?'' Jeter said when asked just that. "I always like to play.''

He didn't Thursday, not even as a pinch hitter. The Yankees didn't need one. When Drew came up in the seventh, a faint chant of "Der-ek Je-ter'' was heard. And then it was gone.

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