“All I know is Derek Jeter has been the main cog in sending my butt home a lot of times in the playoffs,” Gardenhire said. “Early exits. Let’s just call him Early Exit Man because he did that to us quite a bit.”
The Yankees met the Twins in the playoffs in 2002, 2003, 2009, and 2010. Each of those times, the Yankees, at the helm of the Captain, defeated the Twins. It’s safe to say New York owns Minnesota when it comes to October baseball.
“He’s led that team forever,” Gardenhire said. “One of the most professional baseball players I’ve ever seen. Class act. Everybody says it. He’s got all the accolades, but he lived it. He lived it every day on the field, and it looks like he’s having fun and enjoys the game of baseball. One of the more intelligent guys you’re ever going to see out there.”
If the shortstop is able to stay healthy, there is no doubt he could have a typical Jeter season. As long as he remains on the field, he should get a nice sendoff in not only the All-Star Game at Target Field but also the final series he plays in Minnesota.
Last year when Mariano Rivera passed through for the final time, the Twins presented him with a rocking chair of broken bats which Rivera loved. However, the Twins skipper feels they must out do themselves.
“We’ve got to figure out what we’re going to do for him on his tour,” he said. “We’ve got to top Mariano Rivera. How the heck am I going to do that? I’ve been thinking about that a lot.”
It’s unfortunate the 39-year-old will be calling it a career at the end of the season. With the way he plays the game and everything he has accomplished in the Bronx, it’s no wonder why he will be greatly missed.
“We’re going to miss seeing him out there on the field,” Gardenhire said. “He’ll stay in the game, I’m sure, like the Yankees always do. He’ll be around.”
The Yankees play in Minnesota for the final time this season on July 6th. The following week, July 15th, the Twins host the All-Star Game. The captain should get a nice send off on each occasion as he inches closer to the end of his Hall of Fame career.