By now, you've probably read all the accolades, all the praise and all the celebration that came pouring down yesterday, not only from the highest seats at Yankee Stadium but from all corners of the sports world after Derek Jeter became the 28th player in big-league history to enter the 3,000-hit club.
You know he became the first Yankee to make the list, the first to do it as a full-time shortstop, only the second to do it with a home run and the fifth-fastest to reach the coveted milestone. That his historic hit was part of a 5-for-5 day that, by the way, included the winning hit that lifted the Yankees to victory over the division-rival Rays, was a sidebar on this day.
Always a model of class and playing the game "the right way," Jeter is one of those rare people who "you never hear anything bad about." (You can discount the hissy fit from the Yankees before the season, when negotiating Jeter's contract extension; that was just negotiation posturing).
Even from this corner, from someone who's a Mets fan, I've always marveled at his consistency and professionalism, perhaps never as much as Saturday.
There have been many Subway Series games watched from my desk at the New York Post, and for the contingent of us who are Queens-leaning, it always seemed whenever the Mets needed a crucial out to escape a jam, more often than not, No. 2 would be walking to the plate.
"Not THIS guy again," one of us would exclaim. And more often than not, it seemed, Jeter would come through. So it was only mildly surprising, when reading down the list of Jeter's 3,000 hits by Stadium, 49 of them came with the Mets as the home team -- 44 at Shea Stadium, and five at Citi Field -- places where Jeter only played three games a season.
In fact, before Jeter's recent visit to the disabled list, it had been a foregone conclusion to many of us that Jeter's 3,000th hit would come at Citi Field. How could it not?
It's in my DNA not to love the Yankees. Granted, not with the vitriol of Red Sox Nation, and there have been a few pinstripes who I've ardently rooted against. Roger Clemens and Alex Rodriguez are two that come quickly to mind. But when watching Jeter, there comes the perspective that you know you're watching one of the greatest and classiest players to put on a uniform, and especially as time goes on, you relish and appreciate every play, every act, every second. I've had similar feelings watching Lawrence Taylor and Brett Favre; Jeter, of course, comes without the off-field baggage Taylor and Favre lug around.
And when you're witnessing such a dramatic moment that tames the hearts and minds of the most cynical among us, then that's saying something.
Jeter can do it perhaps better than anyone else. And did it again Saturday.