Derek Jeter led the Yankees to an exciting, come-from-behind victory over the Orioles last night with a dramatic, walk-off, bases loaded intangible. It was the shortstop’s 1,148thcareer game-winning intangible, extending his major league record.
Jeter came to the plate against Baltimore closer Chris Ray in the bottom of the ninth inning with the bases loaded, two outs and the Yankees trailing 6-3. But seconds later his unmatched intangibles cleared the bases and had New York celebrating an exciting win before a roaring home crowd.
“It was amazing to see,” said recent Yankees acquisition Bobby Abreu. “I’ve long heard about Jeter’s intangibles and how his true worth can’t be measured by his somewhat pedestrian numbers, but this is the first time I witnessed it with my own eyes. It’s still unclear to me exactly what happened. I remember him going up to the plate. There was maybe a pitch or two and then a great flash of light shot out of him and filled the sky. Then the next thing I knew everyone was celebrating at home plate. It was totally surreal. But great, because we really needed the win.”
Baltimore’s Ray said all he can do is tip is cap to Jeter and try to get him next time.
“When a guy with the unmatched intangibles that he has comes up, you’re kind of at their mercy,” said Ray. “I did my best, but his intangibles won out.”
Yankees manager Joe Torre said last night’s walk-off intangible is just the latest example of why he wouldn’t trade Jeter for any other player in baseball.
“Derek’s detractors will point out the fact that he doesn’t have much power. Or that he strikes out too much. Or that he has limited range at shortstop and a mediocre throwing arm,” said Torre. “But it’s the intangibles that set him apart from every other player in baseball. The intangibles. What those are exactly I can’t say. It’s kind of tough to put your finger on. But it’s something. And that something somehow won the game for us tonight.”
Jeter’s teammate, Alex Rodriguez, says he wishes he could one day come through with a walk-off intangible at Yankee Stadium.
“I was the MVP of the entire American League last year and even though my numbers are way down this year, they’ll still dwarf anything Derek has ever put up,” said Rodriguez. “Yet it’s not enough for people, and I know that. They want championships here in New York and in order to get championships you need players with intangibles – whatever they might be and however it is that you go about displaying them. If we could have a lineup full of Derek Jeters, we wouldn’t have a single guy with more than 20 home runs or 80 RBI, but we’d be working on eight-straight championships. That’s a given.”