NY Daily News
April 6, 2001.
My first Yankee game was with my father. It was just the beginning of my fandom.
For those of you that have been to Yankee Stadium, old or new, you know of the trains that pass behind right field. It’s a constant glance over in right about every 10 minutes, you’re going to see those trains. On that night, my first Yankee game, it was all about the trains. I could not care less about what was happening on the field. Another constant over the course of my life when it comes to the Yankees is Derek Jeter.
I followed the game and the team more and more because of Jeter. As I grew older, the games became all about what poster sign I was going to make to catch my favorite player’s attention; my message was always the same for every game: “Derek Jeter #2.” How original. I could have been sitting in the last row, but you could bet I still had my mitt with me in hopes of catching one of Jeter’s foul balls or home runs.
In third grade I chose Derek Jeter as my “hero.”
I’m sitting here now laughing at the fact I would choose anyone but my parents to be my heroes. Sorry Mom and Dad, but Jeter was Superman in the life of a young kid like me.
Also, when I really think about it, I cannot think of anyone outside of my family that has influenced me more as I have grown up.
Jeter was my first baseball card. I had the Derek Jeter baseball glove in Little League. And even as a lefty, I modeled my batting stance after No. 2. I must have been Derek Jeter for Halloween about four times.
In middle school I wore ‘Driven’, the new Derek Jeter cologne.
As I have matured, and when I stopped playing baseball, I understood more clearly the kind of person Jeter was off the field.
He has been and continues to be a reminder to me of how every athlete should act. With all the scandals this sport has seen over the past 20 years, the Captain has always been there representing all that was right with baseball.
I have been to numerous games, and witnessed countless big moments. I have seen five world championships, all of them at the hands of my childhood idol.
But perhaps no memory will stick with me more than tonight’s.
September 25, 2014.
In what feels like the end of the Yankees altogether, at least for our generation, tonight represents the closing act of the most important dynasty era in New York sports history.
Tonight, besides saying goodbye to my childhood idol as he plays at Yankee Stadium for the final time, I will be saying thank you.
There really is not much else to say—those commercials say it all. This piece has become a eulogy more than anything.
So, thank you Derek Jeter for virtually being there for me for as long as I have followed the sport. Thank you for being a champion on the field and a winner off of it. You have been a hero to thousands of kids, not just me—but thank you for being mine. Thank you for all of the memories #2, Derek Jeter, #2.
David Heim is a junior journalism student from Roselle Park, N.J. He can be reached at email@example.com or on twitter @Davidheim12.