On September 28, 2014, Derek Jeter, the legendary Yankee shortstop, played his final game of Major League Baseball. In the third inning, his second at-bat for the game, Jeter knocked an infield hit over the reach of third-baseman Garin Cecchini for an RBI single. After a moment on base to consider the weight of the moment, Jeter signaled to his manager that it was time, and then he walked off the field and into retirement...and undoubtedly into the Hall of Fame.
Everyone present at Fenway Park that day understood the significance of the moment. They witnessed the curtain call of one of greatest and most respected baseball players of this generation. And that's when it happened. As ESPN writer J.R. Moehringer describes, "that familiar chant, which has become his theme song, his war cry. Two descending musical notes, G-sharp, F, G-sharp, F, a downward sloping cadence that sounds almost like a playground taunt. DER-ek JE-ter! Nyah-nyah, nyah-nyah."
For the next two minutes, there were no Red Sox fans, no Yankees fans; just baseball fans. More than that, they were sport fans. Culture fans. America fans. Fans of life itself, experiencing in that moment both greatness and sadness that is familiar to all of us. There in Fenway park, for one night only, a fierce sporting rivalry more than 100 years in the making was cast aside to honor the career, the memories, the man, the name of Derek Jeter. And it was beautiful.