Derek Jeter celebrates his walk-off single Thursday night at Yankee Stadium. (Getty Images)

Derek Jeter: 'If it was anywhere [but Boston], I don't know if I'd play'

September 26, 2014 - 4:01 pm
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Derek Jeter acknowledged that he managed to claim little sleep on Thursday night, after he punctuated his career in New York with a ninth-inning walkoff single to right. The game -- which he declared to be the last one he'll play at shortstop -- was a singularly emotional, draining experience, in which the Yankees captain found himself fighting back tears both in the clubhouse prior to the game and then again while on the field during the game. "I can'€™t think of a better way to end my career at Yankee Stadium," said Jeter. "You couldn't have scripted it any better." He was so emotionally exhausted, and simply fatigued from the lack of sleep, that Jeter said that Friday marked the first time in his career that he asked for the night off. Yet he does not want his final, singular Yankee Stadium moment to be his last ever on a baseball field. Though Jeter has Friday night off, he plans to play as either a pinch-hitter or designated hitter during the series. Had the Yankees been playing somewhere other than Boston, Jeter suggested, he might have called it a career after New York. But under the circumstances, he wanted to have a last chance to play at Fenway Park. "If there'€™s anywhere to play besides New York, I guess it'€™s only fitting that it'€™s here in Boston because of all the games that I'€™ve played here, the rivalry between the Red Sox and Yankees. If you can'€™t do it in New York, this is the next-best place, I guess. ... I'€™m playing here because I have respect for this rivalry, for Boston, and the fans. If it was anywhere else I don'€™t know if I'€™d play," said Jeter. "My plan was always to play here. I wanted to take something from New York, that'€™s why I said it was my last time playing shortstop. I have the utmost respect for the Red Sox organization and their fans here. I would love to come and play here one last time." Jeter said that he had lunch and spent a bit of time outside in Boston on Friday, and that his reception was pleasant, welcoming. That, he noted, represented a dramatic change in his history in the city. "People were just saying congratulations on the career and that I'm a Red Sox fan, I hate the Yankees but I respect you. It was brief. I wasn't outside much because I hadn't slept much. I tried to stay in. When I was walking here through the stands, there were fans cheering, which was kind of different," said Jeter. "I remember coming here in the All-Star Game in '99 and the car that was dropping us off went to the wrong entrance. I was out of the car walking to the stadium and I thought they were going to kill me, they were all over me. So it's funny how things have changed. ... I think after they won, it sort of -- I don't want to say they softened up, so don't say they softened up, but I think they've become a little bit kinder. And thank you for that."

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