Now that Chicago White Sox manager Robin Ventura has witnessed a Derek Jeter farewell event in person, he said what others probably have felt — and Jeter himself has said — about all of the spectacle: It's kind of morbid.
"He's not dying, he's just retiring," Ventura said. "It's weird. I'm sure it's uncomfortable for him going through all of it, but he's a great player."
The team-by-team tributes to Jeter are not unlike what clubs did in 2013 for Mariano Rivera in his final season with the New York Yankees. Those, from time to time, also seemed like 28 individual wakes. After being told of Ventura's comments about him, Jeter acknowledged that he's pretty much on the button:
"I've said the same thing before," Jeter said. "It's kind of an awkward feeling because everyone is wishing you well like you're [about] to fall off the face of the Earth. I'd like to think that I'd be around for a while after this. But everything that people have said, and everything they've done, is very much appreciated."
The White Sox did not come to bury Jeter on Sunday afternoon, but they did give him dirt — old dirt, from the U.S. Cellular Field Infield, which was created after the 1990 season using dirt from Comiskey Park's infield across the street. Jeter also received a Yankees-themed bench made of baseball bats and balls made by former major leaguer Ron Kittle, plus a $5,000 donation to his Turn 2 foundation. White Sox star Paul Konerko, who also is retiring at season's end, made the presentation amid a video tribute.
Nice stuff, if it matters beyond the gesture, but the best part of Jeter's day probably was going 4 for 4, including a triple, and the Yankees winning 7-1.
The sellout crowd, not all but still mostly White Sox fans, gave Jeter a nice ovation. It was his first triple since 2011 and — who knows? — perhaps his last.
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