"We lost the first game, and it was almost the end of the world," Jeter said heading into his final Subway Series over the next four days.
Since that memorable 1997 loss to Mlicki, Jeter has defined the Subway Series on his and the Yankees' terms. In 2000, when the Yankees played the Mets in the World Series, the "end of the world" matchup picked up even more pressure.
"It doesn’t get any bigger than playing them in the World Series," Jeter said.
Even with the Yankees in the midst of a dynasty, no one knows how George Steinbrenner would have erupted if the Yankees had lost that 2000 Subway Series. Jeter recalled how the Boss would order two or three rotation starting pitchers to throw in spring training games against the Mets.
With the intensity the greatest, Jeter produced one of his most clutch moments. After the Mets took Game 3 to cut the Yankees' lead to 2-1 in the best-of-seven, they had Fresno Bobby Jones on the mound and the Shea Stadium crowd pumped. Jones had pitched a one-hitter in the NLDS, so there was a feeling he could handle the scene. The Mets and their fans were beginning to believe they had a chance.
In classic form, Jeter swiped the momentum from Jones and the Mets with a solo shot to lead off Game 4. Just like that, the Flushing crowd was quiet -- and soon were the Mets, who would fail to win another game in the Series.
Not only has Jeter tortured Mets fans with his sheer consistency day in and day out, but he throws in an extra scoop of greatness for his friends from Flushing.
His .368 average is the third best of any player ever against the Mets. Only Rico Carty (.380) and Don Slaught (.376) have hit better than Jeter among players with at least 100 at-bats.
Like everything else, a new Subway Series era will begin in 2015 without Jeter, even if he doesn't pay attention to all that stuff.
"Am I the only one around?" Jeter asked reporters, referring to the 2000 World Series rosters.
Nope, Alfonso Soriano is still playing.
But besides Soriano, there is no other active player among the 2000 Yankees and Mets World Series rosters. By the end of the week, the man who has been at the center of the Subway Series will have played his final game against the Mets*.
He has gone from the "end of the world," to ending an era.
When asked if there was any extra excitement, Beltran simply said, "No."
*Mets: The two teams could play in the 2014 World Series, of course, but that would be the most unbelievable tale in baseball history, if it were to happen.