Friday, July 8, 2011
Updated: July 9, 11:10 AM ET
Derek Jeter's quest postponed by rain
By Mike Mazzeo and Ian Begley
Special to ESPNNewYork.com
NEW YORK -- Thanks in part to Mother Nature, Derek Jeter will have just two more games before the All-Star break to get his milestone 3,000th hit at home.
Friday night's New York Yankees-Tampa Bay Rays game was postponed because of rain. The Yankees hoped to make it up as part of a split doubleheader Saturday, but Tampa Bay declined.
Instead, Friday night's game will be made up on Sept. 22.
"Both teams have to agree," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "That's the bottom line. We voted to play. They voted not to play. I'm not sure why, but you've gotta move forward, so we're gonna play later on."
According to general manager Brian Cashman, the Yankees could have forced Tampa Bay to play a single-admission doubleheader on Saturday, which would have given Jeter three home games before the All-Star break to get to 3,000.
But Cashman said the organization decided against the single-admission doubleheader because it did not want to lose the revenue associated with having two separate crowds.
"We're not interested in ... going from 81 home games to 80," Cashman said.
Jeter will now only have two games before Monday's All-Star break to get the two hits he needs to become the 28th player in major league baseball history to reach the 3,000-hit plateau.
If Jeter doesn't get two knocks before Monday, he will likely reach 3,000 on the road. The Yankees' first eight games after the All-Star break are on the road.
"It's important to our fans. A lot of people have made arrangements to try to see this happen on the day that they pick, and it's unfortunate that we lose a game here and it takes a day away from (what could've happened), but that was important to us," Girardi said. "It's important to our fans because of what our fans have meant to this organization."
Fans paid prices significantly above market value to see Jeter potentially reach the 3,000-hit plateau on Friday night.
As of July 6, tickets on the secondary market were averaging $158.62 for Friday night's game. The Yankees average ticket price per game on the secondary market was $92.37, according to Tiqiq.com.
Yankees president Randy Levine was upset that fans lost a chance to see Jeter make baseball history.
"We tried to do it (Saturday) night," Levine said. "We figured all of our fans would be very disappointed. A lot of people were excited about it. We thought, 'Do it tomorrow night.' Our players voted for it. I don't know their reason. I assume they get it. Why Tampa voted no, you'd have to ask Tampa. I haven't the foggiest idea. I just don't know."
Rays third baseman Evan Longoria said Tampa Bay preferred not to play a doubleheader so it could rest injured players. Longoria, who is Tampa Bay's player representative for the MLBPA, added that he was surprised by the final outcome.
"If we didn't have those off days and opportunities to get those games in, then we probably would have had to play a doubleheader," Longoria said. "Seeing as there (were) opportunities, it didn't really make sense for either team to have a doubleheader."
The Tampa Bay third baseman added that Jeter's pursuit of 3,000 did not affect his team's thinking.
"He's got (2,998) or whatever he's got," Longoria said. "He's going to get another hit at some point or another. The consideration is what's best for our club in here."
The Yankees and Rays will play day games on Saturday and Sunday. A.J. Burnett will face David Price on Saturday and CC Sabathia will face James Shields on Sunday.
Sept. 22 represented the Yankees' last off day before the end of the regular season. But because they'll have to play on that date, they will end the regular season by playing 13 consecutive games in a row.
"The initial thought was we were going to play (Saturday), as soon as we could, to get it out of the way," said Curtis Granderson, who added that the Yankees did not want to lose an off day late in the season.
Cashman said he wasn't annoyed with Tampa Bay's decision because he didn't want to get upset over things out of his control. But the GM added, "our preference would have been to play (Saturday) night."
Cashman insisted that Jeter's pursuit of 3,000 was not the main reason the Yankees wanted to play a split doubleheader Saturday. It had more to do with the Yankees' bottom line and the upcoming schedule.
"The decision for us to go to a split had nothing to do with Derek Jeter. It had to do with business reasons, it had to do with the All-Star break," Cashman said. "From the baseball operations standpoint, it would be best to (do it) tomorrow night. It's fan friendly, it's team friendly, it's Jeter friendly."
Mike Mazzeo and Ian Begley are regular contributors to ESPNNewYork.com. ESPNNewYork.com's Wallace Matthews, Andrew Marchand and Matthew Ehalt contributed to this story.