Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Derek Jeter Thankful for 'Special' KC Sendoff

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Derek Jeter Thankful for 'Special' KC Sendoff

Article excerpt

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- It's not often Kansas City Royals fans cheer Derek Jeter. But for one night only, why not?

On Monday, Jeter, who is retiring after this season, played his final regular-season game against the Royals at Kauffman Stadium, and the crowd of 31,758 bid him farewell with a standing ovation after his last at-bat in the top of the ninth inning.

"To have opposing fans cheering for you is a pretty awesome feeling," Jeter said. "I never expect anything like that, but it's something that I'll remember. I've enjoyed coming here and playing here during my career. And for them to show appreciation was pretty special."

The legendary shortstop grounded out to his counterpart, Alcides Escobar, in his last at-bat, finishing the night 1 for 5 with two RBIs in the Yankees' 8-1 victory. Jeter then headed back to the dugout to the loud sound of cheers and applause.

It was perhaps a fitting sendoff to one of the game's all-time greats who will someday be in the Hall of Fame.

"I'm sure there was probably some Yankee fans cheering and maybe some Royals fans that have enjoyed booing me over the years that are happy to see me go," Jeter said with a smile. "But they've shown respect for me, and that's why you play. You try to respect the game, and when you get it in return it feels really good."

The Royals honored Jeter throughout the night, first with a pregame tribute showing highlights of his storied career and video presentations from Royals manager Ned Yost and several KC players. Royals president Dan Glass and general manager Dayton Moore even presented Jeter with a $10,000 check to his Turn 2 Foundation.

"I think he's one of the greatest ambassadors and players the game's ever had," Royals pitcher Jeremy Guthrie said. "He's been a true champion in every sense of the word both on and off the field. And to have had a chance to compete against him is one of those things I consider a great blessing in my career."

Former Royal Carlos Beltran has seen Jeter from both sides, first as an opponent and now as his teammate.

"He's been fun to watch all his career," Beltran said. …

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