The series against Houston wasn’t memorable. The Yankees lost all but one game. Tanaka’s start last night was disastrous, and Chapman is off to the DL. Having had a rotator cuff tear with tendinitis in my shoulder (both shoulders, actually), I don’t expect to see our closer any time soon. Which leaves those duties to Betances. Is he up to the challenge that Randy Levine so publicly declared he wasn’t up to? Will Levine’s words and the bad blood from arbitration get inside Betances’ head? I really hope not. (Andrew Miller, please come back. All is forgiven.)
Early in the weekend, the Yankees offense seemed to have petered out against the Astros’ top-notch pitchers, and while they came alive yesterday, in the lone victory of the doubleheader and in the nightcap in a losing effort, they were facing a better team. Houston is the real deal. It’s now up to the Yanks to bounce back. (A minor gripe: must the players wear pink on Mother’s Day? It’s annoying.)
But baseball games were beside the point. This was Jeter weekend and last night was Jeter Night. All his friends and family members came out to honor Jeet for the ceremony to retire his number and add his plaque to the other greats in Monument Park, even his grandmother. All the Steinbrenners were there too (except Hank; where oh where is Hank these days?). It’s always fun to see Mo, Andy and the gang, and A-Rod knew enough to stay in Miami. Hannah Jeter’s water looked like it was about to break, but she hung in there, managing to look beautiful in full pregnancy mode.
Do the Yankees know how to do ceremonies? You bet they do. They always manage to make them wonderfully, over-the-top cheesy. I’m talking about wheeling Jeter in from centerfield as if the golf cart were a chariot, the presentation of gifts from the Steinbrenners (does he really need another diamond ring?), the sounds of Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” wafting through the Stadium. Jeter’s speech felt like the only authentic, non-cheesy part of the proceedings. It was off-the-cuff, sincere, plain-spoken, pure Jeter. He was grateful, he was humble, he was on point: he’d always wanted to be a Yankee and he’d loved every minute of his career.
And now he’s moved on, trying to buy the Marlins. For the moment, it looks like MLB prefers the investment group led by Mitt Romney’s son – a head-scratcher. Apparently, Bob Manfred wants his money up front and the Romney group can provide. But I’m sure the Bush-Jeter group can scrounge up enough dough if given a chance. And wouldn’t you want the sport’s greatest ambassador to be an owner, MLB? I would and I do. Sure, I’d rather Jeter buy the Yankees, but the Marlins are for sale. If Jeter has shown us anything, it’s that we should never count him out.