The stars were out for the Fourth of July home stand, led by the biggest star of all, Derek Jeter. The Yankees Captain was on a two-game injury rehab assignment at Waterfront Park, in hopes that he could resume his quest for 3,000 hits once he was cleared to play for the New York club. I had the opportunity to be front and center for all the action while ushering between 3rd base and home for both games. The buzz was electrifying as Jeter approached the batting cage on Saturday as he was welcomed by the thunderous applause of the Trenton faithful. Jeter tipped his batting helmet and smiled at the adoring fans, which had arrived two hours earlier to see their hero bat. After batting practice, he generously signed autographs for those who had gathered along the 1st base line. Jeter did not disappoint the 9,000+ fans that came to see him play in Trenton for the first time since 2003. He led off the game with a single between third and short and played magnificently in the field. On Sunday, Jeter who was adorned in a flag-draped stars and stripes ensemble, went 2-for-4 as the Thunder set an all time attendance record for the day (9,212) and for the weekend (18,214). Also in attendance to see Jeter’s performance both days was Brian Cashman, Yankees General Manager.
Derek Jeter was not the only Yankee who was rehabbing an injury during this home stand; Phil Hughes also thrilled the fans earlier in the week with a gem of a pitching performance, pitching 6 1/3 innings, giving up only 3 hits and 1 earned run while striking out 8. For his dominating performance he was called up to the Yankees the following day.
On the first day of this festive home stand, as I was cleaning seats, I spotted behind the batting cage none other than Mr. October himself, Reggie Jackson! The Yankee Hall of Famer was chatting with Harold Reynolds the former Seattle Mariner’s all-star 2ndbaseman and broadcaster. Reynolds was in attendance for the Thunder’s MLB Network Night where he signed autographs for the fans who had turned out for the ballgame.
The MLB star sightings for the week didn’t end there. I also had the opportunity to meetand chat with Major League Baseball scouts Mike Cubbage, former Twins 3rd baseman,and Bill Singer, 2 time all-star and 20 game winner for the Dodgers and Angels. Singer’s claim to fame is that he is pitched in the same rotation as the all-time great Sandy Koufax.
What a star-studded week for a first year usher at a minor league park!