The final home game of Derek Jeter's career will be meaningful for that reason alone.
Any hopes of the Yankees making a late-week charge into the playoffs evaporated Wednesday afternoon with a 9-5 loss to the Orioles that officially eliminated the Bombers from postseason contention.
That leaves Thursday night at the Stadium as the final opportunity for Yankees fans to say goodbye to Jeter at home.
"It's tough, it's what you play for," Jeter said of the club missing the playoffs a second straight season. "It's a rough feeling, it should be a rough feeling for everyone in here. We didn't play well enough. You put a lot of work into it in the offseason so you have an opportunity to go to the playoffs and unfortunately we're not going. And this is something for the guys that are coming back and continuing to play, it's a feeling they shouldn't like and you shouldn't want to get used to."
The shortstop, who went 0-for-4, has been noncommittal on his weekend plans in Boston for a season-ending three-game series against the Red Sox, plans Joe Girardi said will be entirely up to Jeter.
"Respect the fact that we just lost, we're not going to the playoffs," Jeter said when asked about it postgame. "I can't think about Boston. Right now I'm disappointed. I can't tell you about Boston because I'm not thinking about Boston."
As for Girardi's club, which fell to 81-77, another dark October looms. The Yankees failed to get Mariano Rivera one more playoff run last season and the same fate befell Jeter.
"We wanted to take Mo out last year as a winner, we wanted to take Derek out as a winner but the fact is, very few players get to do that," said Mark Teixeira, whose two-run homer in the eighth, his 22nd of the season, pulled the Yankees within 9-5. "That's very tough to do. We tried our best."
But ultimately failed because of a combination of injuries, a bad defensive infield that improved only after the trade deadline and, most significantly, disappointing offensive seasons from virtually every regular, Teixeira included.
"At the end of the day," said Brian McCann, another underperformer offensively, "we just didn't get it done."
"Whenever you fail, you fail as a team," Girardi said. "Collectively, I don't think we scored enough runs during the course of the season to win enough games. At times we struggled in other areas, defensively. Pitching was pretty consistent."
Rookie righthander Shane Greene cruised into Wednesday's fourth inning with a 3-0 lead, part of that built by solo homers from Stephen Drew and Chase Headley. But Greene hit a wall in the fourth, watching the AL East champion Orioles (95-63) send 11 to the plate in a six-run frame. Greene, who came in 5-3 with a 3.24 ERA, allowed six runs and seven hits in 32/3 innings, the second shortest outing of his season.
Orioles righthander Bud Norris (15-8) allowed three runs, one apiece in each of the first three innings, and five hits in six innings. He walked one and struck out nine. The Orioles added three runs in the eighth against Chase Whitley and David Phelps to make it 9-3.
Much of the crowd dispersed after that and those who remained groaned in unison when Brett Gardner took a called third strike to end the game with Jeter on deck. "I know what the fans want, they want to see him hit again," Gardner said. "I know everybody that's here today not necessarily is going to be in the stands tomorrow, so for a lot of people today was their last chance to see Derek in person.Wish I could have gotten him to the plate one more time."