Sunday, May 14, 2017

Alicia Keys – "Like You'll Never See Me Again" (2007)

If I had no more time
No more time left to be here
Would you cherish what we had?
Was it everything that you were looking for?

We haven’t heard much from Derek Jeter since he retired in 2014 after playing 2905 games for the New York Yankees.

But we heard from him tonight, when the New York Yankees retired his number 2 in a letter-perfect ceremony at Yankee Stadium.

Jeter speaking to Yankee Stadium crowd
Jeter spoke for just over three minutes – without notes.  He began by wishing a happy Mother’s Day to his grandmother, his mother, his sister, and his very pregnant wife – all of whom stood nearby as he spoke.

Click here to watch his speech.

As wonderful as it would have been to be Derek Jeter tonight, I think it would have been even better to be his father, Charles Jeter.  

Derek Jeter with his father, mother, wife,
grandmother, sister, and nephew
Mr. Jeter was no doubt filled with pride and joy tonight.  But his son has filled him with pride and joy many other times in his life.  

Many of those proud and joyous moments were the result of something Jeter did while wearing his Yankees uniform.  But many of them had nothing to do with baseball.

I’m guessing that his feelings tonight will pale in comparison to what he will feel when he sees Derek in the role of father to his newborn daughter. 

*     *     *     *     *

I have to admit that I didn’t get Derek Jeter at first.  It took me several years to realize he was a one-of-a-kind figure – the ne plus ultra of all the legends who played for the New York Yankees.  (Don’t misunderstand me.  I’m not saying he was the best player who ever wore pinstripes.  But he is the greatest Yankee . . . which is something entirely different.)

Jeter was overcome with emotion after
his last Yankee Stadium game
To say that he was everything that Yankees fans were looking for in a player is an understatement.  He was much more than that.

On the field and off, Jeter not only exceeded your expectations, he exceeded your wildest imaginings.  

Twenty years ago, it was absolutely inconceivable to me that I would ever feel about an athlete – or about anyone other than a member of my family – the way I came to feel about Derek Jeter.

I can’t explain those feelings in words.  But I don’t need to.  You either get what made Derek Jeter so special, or you don’t.  Either way, nothing I write here is going to change that.

*     *     *     *     *

Tonight’s Yankee Stadium ceremony – which lasted almost an hour – was perfect.  (ESPN paid Jeter the ultimate tribute by broadcasting the whole thing without commercial interruption.)  

The Yankees have retired more numbers than any other major-league baseball team.  That is exactly as it should be, of course – they’ve had many more players who deserve that honor than any other team.  (I’m sorry if you’re a Cardinals fan, or a Dodgers fan, or a Red Sox fan, or a fan of some other team and you don’t want to hear that BUT YOU KNOW IN YOUR HEART THAT IT’S TRUE!)

Jeter is a member of an even more select group.  He’s one of the 14 Yankees with retired numbers who spent their entire major-league careers as Yankees.  

Jeter mural outside Yankee Stadium
(The others are Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Bill Dickey, Yogi Berra, Phil Rizzuto, Thurman Munson, Whitey Ford, Jorge Posada, Don Mattingly, Mariano Rivera, Ron Guidry, and Bernie Williams.  Most of those players are in the Baseball Hall of Fame, and every single one of them deserves to be there.)

*     *     *     *     *

“Like You’ll Never See Me Again” was released in 2007 on Alicia Keys’ As I Am album.

I’ll never forget seeing Keys and Jay-Z perform “Empire State of Mind” live at Yankee Stadium before the second game of the 2009 World Series:

The good guys eventually prevailed in six games.  Jeter played every inning and hit .407 in what turned out to be his final World Series.

Here’s “Like You’ll Never See Me Again”:

Click below to buy the song from Amazon:

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