With the New York Yankees in town to face the Rangers, Derek Jeter will take the field for the last time of his career in Texas, as he is set to retire following the 2014 season.
Jeter will be honored prior to Wednesday night's series finale, but took the time to sit down with the Texas media one last time Monday afternoon. It was 93 degrees, felt like 100, and I was sausaged between two photographers for 45 minutes. But when the Captain comes to town, that's what you do.
To begin, Jeter walked through his fondest memory of Texas, which he says has to be the postseason. It makes sense that Jeter's postseason memories would be good ones, as he won three of the four he played against Texas. In 1996, Jeter played in, and won, his first postseason series in Arlington. In 1996, 1998, and 1999 series wins against the Rangers led the way to the Yankees winning the World Series. The only postseason series he lost to the Rangers? The 2010 American League Championship series.
'We've had some battles here in the postseason, there's been a few of them' said Jeter. 'Those are the things that stand out the most. Whether it was early in my career or a few years ago when we were playing here in the playoffs, we've played some tough Texas teams.'
For 19 seasons, Jeter has seen the best Texas has to offer. Additionally, Texas has seen the best of Jeter. The .912 OPS Jeter holds against the Rangers is the highest versus any American League team, and the 24 career home runs are the second highest.
Though Jeter had many nice things to say about different Rangers he has faced over the years, there was one player in particular he felt the need elaborate on. Yu Darvish it seems, has left a mark on Jeter that not many have, and interestingly enough, they will face off for the last time Monday night.
'Where do you want to start?' said Jeter. 'I mean, he's got 15 different pitches he can throw at any given time. He knows how to pitch, I think that pretty much sums it up. He's got a lot of different weapons.'
With fans decked out in Jeter jerseys lined up at the gates two hours before they open, and a swarm of navy blue in the stands for batting practice, Jeter's farewell to Texas is sure to be a memorable one. Sure, Jeter has been honored at every ballpark he's been to this year, but there's something special about that Texas hospitality.
'It makes you feel good to hear some good things, because I've heard some bad things too' said Jeter. The Yankees are usually either loved or hated. People have always been respectful of me, I've tried to be respectful of them as well.'
If you would like to say your own farewells to Jeter at Globe Life Park, both Tuesday and Wednesday night's games are slated to begin at 7:05 p.m. CT. Show up early on Wednesday to see what the Rangers gift the Captain, though my bet is on a gift basket full of Nolan Ryan beef.