The crowd sat on the edge of its collective seat, chanting Derek Jeter’s name in unison. All 54,279 could sense the Captain was on the verge of leaving yet another mark on Yankee history.
The images of that day – Sept. 14, 2008 – are just as vivid and frustrating
for Tampa Bay’s David Price after all these years. The lefthander, who made his Major League debut in relief of Edwin Jackson that afternoon, watched as Jeter trotted around the bases and tied Lou Gehrig for the most hits (1,269) at Yankee Stadium with a solo homer in the fifth inning of an 8-4 Yankees win.
Now, three years later, Price could end up being a part of Yankee lore for a second time.
“I have no intentions of giving up any hits tomorrow. To him or anybody else,” said the Rays starter, who had been scheduled to face A.J. Burnett on Saturday before tonight’s game was called off.
Price, 25, waffled between wanting to witness history and wanting the Rays to throw consecutive perfect games to close out the series. But in the end, he said he’d be OK with giving up No. 3,000 – as long as the Yankees don’t capitalize on Jeter’s historic base hit.
“I’m fine with being that piece of history,” said Price, who is 3-1 with a 3.88 ERA in eight career starts versus the Yankees. “But if he gets an RBI on it, I’m going to be mad. If he gets a home run, if he scores a run (I’m going to be mad). If he gets on and the inning’s over, I’m fine with that.
“As long as he doesn’t put a mark on that scoreboard, honestly I’m cool with that.”
Asked what he’ll do if Jeter reaches the milestone against him, Price said: “Stand out there and wait for everybody to stop clapping like I did last time.”
The Yankees shortstop soured a potentially promising relief appearance for the youngster, who gave up two earned runs on two hits in 5 1/3 innings on that September day. And “I didn’t get anything,” Price joked. “I got nothing from him so that was cool. Nothing. Not even some dirt.”
But Price, who lives not too far from Jeter’s palatial 31,000-square foot mansion in St. Petersburg, couldn’t resist taking another shot at the Yankee great.
“I’ll be hitting golf balls at his place in the offseason, don’t worry,” Price said with a smile. “In two shots I could (reach it) for sure. …I’m higher up than him so I got that on him.”