The Iceman was melting Thursday night in front of a packed Yankee Stadium crowd that was showering him with love for the last time and had no idea it would witness the final colossal moment of Derek Jeter’s career.
There were times during the day that Jeter’s emotions tightened his throat and turned the edges of the eyes damp. The drive to the Stadium for the last time as a player almost produced tears. Jeter had to turn his back when teammates presented him with a painting and a watch before the game against the Orioles.
Yet, that was nothing compared to the fact Jeter, the man who only showed joy on a baseball field, was falling apart rapidly.
“There were a couple of times where I almost lost it,’’ said Jeter, whose storybook, game-winning RBI single in the bottom of the ninth lifted the Yankees to a 6-5 victory over the Orioles in front of 48,613 delirious customers, who witnessed a second-inning throwing error but saw their hero go 2-for-5 with three RBIs. “In the first inning I was thinking, ‘Please don’t hit it to me.’ In the last inning I almost lost it.