Derek Jeter, if you’ve been paying attention lately, is on the verge of retiring from Major League Baseball. Some media members would have you believe the Yankees captain can both plunk singles into right field and walk on water. Something neither Jeter, nor any mere mortal, can control is the weather. As of Wednesday morning, the forecast for Jeter’s final scheduled home game at Yankee Stadium on Thursday night in the Bronx is rain. Lots of rain — 80 percent at night. Call it the biggest weather crisis to hit New York since the Farmer’s Almanac forecast a blizzard for the Super Bowl in February.
This presents a massive cluster you-know-what for all parties involved because you know baseball and the Yankees will do everything in their power to get the game played, if only so the YES Network can run another “Farewell to the Captain” package 84 times over the winter. Of course, if the Yankees were to lose Thurday night’s game to the Orioles would the Yankee-owned network ever even replay the game considering the team’s winning percentage is 1.000 in so-called “Yankees Classics”?
The problem here is if Thursday is unplayable, there isn’t a make-up date before the regular season is over. The Orioles clinched the American League East last week and have no reason to come back to New York on Monday (save for a slim chance of topping the Angels for best record in the AL) just so people who paid $300 to say a tearful goodbye to The Captain get their money’s worth. The Yankees did play 80 other home games this season, so fans had ample time to pay their proper respects to No. 2 other the last six months. (Or buy some of the official farewell Jeter memorabilia from Steiner Sports.)
If the game is rained out it would probably be the most unfair thing to ever happen, right? Ticket holders should probably refuse their refund in an act of civil disobedience.
Something to consider here, the Orioles would probably love nothing more than to drag their feet, hoping for a rainout and the game never being played. Maybe you don’t believe karma is real but this would be the perfect way for Baltimore to finally get revenge for the Jeffrey Maier play in 1996, which helped transform Derek Jeter into DEREK JETER.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter added this barb, via the Daily News on Tuesday:
"“What happens if we get rained out on Thursday? We got to come back here on Monday? Will we have another Jeter day? It will rain (Thursday), but we’ll play.”"
Odds are, the Yankees will make sure the game is played, even if it finishes at 2 a.m. The game is airing on MLB Network, not ESPN, so you can put aside those conspiracy theories that the Worldwide Leader would pull some strings to ensure it’s finished. Either way, the Yankees will have three games this weekend at Fenway Park to savor the final days of Jeter. Whatever your personal opinion of Jeter, let’s remember he played an important role on five World Series-winning teams and was a very good Major League shortstop for nearly two decades — no small accomplishment.
If Thursday’s game isn’t played, it does present one existential question worth pondering — would Derek Jeter’s career live on forever given he still has one unfinished game left to be played?