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Within Mets, Yankees' Derek Jeter draws an audience

Derek Jeter of the Yankees runs past David

Derek Jeter of the Yankees runs past David Wright of the Mets after the final out of the first inning at Citi Field on Wednesday, May 14, 2014. Credit: Jim McIsaac

WASHINGTON -- They looked like boys as they huddled around the phone, looking at the unmistakable image of Yankee Stadium and its departing legend, Derek Jeter.

Minutes earlier, the Mets had just dropped the nightcap of a doubleheader, 3-0, to the Nationals. And the clubhouse functioned with the rhythm of a typical getaway day. Attendants moved equipment into a waiting truck. Players readied themselves for the charter.

The shortstops -- Ruben Tejada and Wilmer Flores -- barely looked up enough to notice all the fuss. They were too transfixed on history.

Just as the Mets were coming off the field, the Orioles’ Steve Pearce launched the tying homer that set the stage for Jeter’s walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth.

Moments later, Tejada and Flores sat side-by-side before a bank of lockers. Intent on seeing the spectacle for themselves, Tejada held up the phone and took one earbud. Flores claimed the other. They were locked in.

When the image of Jeter saluting the fans popped up on the screen, both leaned in for a better look.

"Every Friday or Saturday the Yankees games would be on, so I would watch every game,” Tejada once told ESPN's Jerry Crasnick. “That was my favorite thing when I was a little kid."

His favorite player? Jeter.

It was a scene that would be easy to envision in other clubhouses in other ballparks -- Jeter seizing the spotlight by rising to the occasion, dazzling peers who watched him with the same awe as fans.

This draw of such a moment proved powerful enough for Mets ace Matt Harvey to watch the game in person. He grew up a Yankees fan and didn’t pass up a chance to see a  childhood idol play just one more time -- even if it came at the expense of not watching his own team play.

Back in the clubhouse, not long after Tejada and Flores soaked in the moment, former Yankee Curtis Granderson recalled perhaps the last time Jeter had inspired such energy in the Bronx.

It happened in July of 2011. Granderson stood on deck in the third inning as Jeter came to the plate with 2,999 career hits. No. 3,000 came when he drilled a David Price pitch into the stands for a homer.

Years later, Granderson remembered that the historic home run was one of five hits that day for Jeter. So, it came as no surprise Jeter displayed his characteristic flair for the dramatic.

"He's had some magical moments," Granderson said. "So, to have one tonight just adds to the list of the ones he's had.”

New York Sports