This time A-Rod isn't the only one wearing the horns, as Looie Carnesecca used to say. This time the shortstop, the captain of the team, hurt the Yankees every bit as much as the third baseman did. It goes on his record with all the winning.
This one goes on him, really for the first time.
After all the hits he has gotten at this time of year, after all the plays he has made - The Flip against Oakland in 2001 is the greatest play in Yankee postseason history, which means all the Octobers - this time Jeter left even more runners on base than A-Rod did.
...There is more. For the first time - and maybe this was because of a sore knee that we kept hearing about but Jeter never discussed because it is never his way to make excuses - his range in the field seemed to decline, sometimes dramatically. That got no better against the Indians. Only a scoring call more generous than the Salvation Army got him out of a bad error in the first inning of Game 3.
You kept thinking he would do something. He was Jeter, after all. This was the postseason. Another notion out of the past. He let the team down as much as A-Rod did, as much as Jorge Posada. He wasn't supposed to carry the team the way A-Rod did during the regular season. He was still supposed to give it something. Instead he was another Yankee who hit about as well as Chien-Ming Wang pitched.
...Jeter came to the plate with runners on first and third, one out, the score at 6-2 now. If he hits the ball hard someplace, produces another Jeter moment, the place would have exploded. Maybe the Indians would have done the same. As he walked to the plate, the 55,000 stood and asked him to make this one of those nights out of the past.
He hit a harmless ground ball to second, perfect double play ball, the Indians were out of what could have been a real bad inning. When he came up to lead off the bottom of the ninth, trying to get on ahead of Bobby Abreu and A-Rod, he popped out. All he had.
Gotta love it!