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Buyers in frenzy for Jeter memorabilia

Fans hold up signs before New York Yankees'

Fans hold up signs before New York Yankees' Derek Jeter hits a home run for his 3,000 career hit during the third inning of a baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays. (July 9, 2011) Credit: AP

Outside, the line was orderly. Inside, mayhem. Chaos. A Bronx zoo.

So went life at the Yankees team store yesterday in the minutes after Derek Jeter collected his 3,000th career hit -- a home run to leftfield in the third inning off Tampa Bay starter David Price.

"It's Kieran's birthday in a couple of days so we have to get him a DJ3K hat and shirt," said Long Beach's Al Lent, Kieran's father, before heading into the wild scene. "It's a special day."

Workers stood in the middle of the madness, with tables of Jeter merchandise surrounding them. They reached in, grabbed an item, held it up and yelled out what it was.

"Towel." "Bat." "T-shirt, adult small."

Fans responded.

"Towel? I'll take the towel." "I need a large. Get me a large!"

Welcome to the carnival.

"This is as exciting as when I went to the Olympics in 1996," said Judy Byrne of Wallkill, N.Y.

Chris Santiago, from San Diego by way of Brooklyn, emerged from the scrum two shirts richer and $65 poorer, he said.

Santiago, who is visiting family in New York, bought a ticket online for Friday night's game, which wound up being rained out. He came to the Stadium yesterday to cash in his Friday ticket for its $25 face value because he will be back in California when the Yankees and Rays play the Sept. 22 makeup game.

While Santiago was outside, Jeter got his first-inning single, No 2,999, and he decided he had to get into the ballpark.

"So I dropped another $125 and got another ticket. I was here, baby. DJ3K!"

Around the Stadium, lines numbered in the hundreds from the third inning on, with fans lining up to buy anything Jeter-related to commemorate the historic moment.

Boxes of pre-printed keepsake Yankees Magazine issues couldn't get hauled out of elevators fast enough. By the time Jeter had 3,001 hits, many vendors were sold out.

Yankees president Randy Levine said he won't know the financial windfall until Sunday or Monday.

"It's unbelievable. I've never seen anything like this," Levine said. "So far, just on one day, this is exceeding World Series sales."


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