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Derek Jeter talks final game, new career on 'Tonight Show'

Derek Jeter on 'The Tonight Show'

The name Derek Jeter comes with many accolades and descriptive phrases. Five-time World Series champion. All-Star. Rookie of the Year. Most eligible bachelor.

But the recently retired Yankees shortstop was introduced on Thursday’s edition of “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” in a way fans have never heard.

“We are joined right now by a media entrepreneur with a series of very interesting new projects in the works,” Fallon said. "He also used to play baseball.”

Such an introduction references Jeter Publishing, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, and, of course, Jeter’s new website for athletes, “The Players’ Tribune,” announced Wednesday.

“We want the athletes to be able to share their own stories, and really from a first-person perspective,” Jeter said. "This is not trying to eliminate the sportswriters. The sportswriters are what make sports great and fun to watch, and people’s difference of opinion.

"This is just another avenue for the athletes to use, to express themselves. In this day and age, I think athletes, they really like to share with the people everything about them.  I personally have not done that. I personally will not do that. This is not about me. This is about an avenue for the players."

Jeter continued by addressing an old stand-by used by many athletes and celebrities.

"You always hear people say, ‘Well this was taken out of context,’” Jeter said. "But now it gives them the opportunity to say exactly what they want to say.”

Much of the interview was Fallon and Jeter talking about his final days in baseball, including the last game at Yankee Stadium on Sept. 25. The Yankees led, 5-2, going into the top of the ninth inning against Baltimore after Jeter hit the go-ahead infield single. Going into the bottom of the ninth, the Yankees were tied at 5 with Jeter due up third.

Fallon, who was at Yankee Stadium that night, said he thought what many were thinking — Brett Gardner better not hit a home run here with Jeter in the on-deck circle.

"People will hate him for the rest of his life,” Fallon said.

Gardner didn’t homer. He put down a sacrifice bunt to move Antoan Richardson to second base and set the stage for Jeter. A stage he’s very familiar with — Yankee Stadium, baseball field, high drama, batter’s box, clutch moment, game on the line.

"Before I went up for my last at-bat, I knelt down and I said, 'God if you have any more magical moments left in you, can it please be right now?’”

Indeed it was as Jeter singled in the winning run on the first pitch of his final at-bat at Yankee Stadium before adding another two hits to his career total in Boston over the weekend. He finished sixth in MLB history with 3,465 hits.

Among Jeter’s other post-career endeavors is his publishing company, the first book of which was released last month. “The Contract” is a book aimed at children 8-12 and is loosely based on his experiences when he was younger.

There also is “Jeter Unfiltered,” a photo book with images from behind the scenes of life as Derek Jeter.

“I’ve tried to stay out of the spotlight as much as possible when it comes to my personal life throughout the years,” Jeter said. “But I understand that people are interested in content. I’m interested in content.”
 

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