He steps to the plate for the beginning of the end. Yankees captain Derek Jeter, in his final season, is hitting No. 2 — how fitting — in the lineup on Opening Day against the Astros at Minute Maid Park. After taking the first pitch for a strike — he did say he wanted to take it all in this year, after all — Jeter digs in. Astros starter Scott Feldman rears back, unleashes an 88-mph fastball and …
Is this how it’s going to be for Jeter during his farewell tour? Mariano Rivera was honored in opposing ballparks all of last year while he wrapped up his career, but is this a sign that it’s going to be different for the Kalamazoo Kid? Tuesday in Houston was just an HBP, but could things escalate in other road ballparks?
Rogers Centre (Friday-Sunday): Blue Jays invite the Ultimate Warrior to return to the site of his greatest victory and throw out the first pitch/gorilla press slam Jeter.
Tropicana Field (April 17-20): Rays invite Jeter to a private tour of the Rays Touch Tank. Push him in Rays Touch Tank.
Fenway Park (April 22-24): For every Jeter at-bat, the Red Sox play Bronson Arroyo’s rendition of “Dirty Water” for his walk-up music.
And that’s only April.
The main questions people were asking entering Jeter’s final year were: Can he stay healthy? Can he still perform on the field? Are the Yankees good enough to send him out with one last World Series title?
But maybe we ignored the major question: Will Jeter get no respect?