New York Yankees fans loved seeing Derek Jeter back in the Bronx Friday night during his Hall of Fame induction tribute before a game against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Fans, however, didn’t give owner Hal Steinbrenner the warmest welcome when he stepped on the field.
Presenting Jeter’s Turn 2 Foundation with a check for $222,222.22 and paying homage to The Captain’s retired No. 2, Steinbrenner was showered with boos from the crowd.
When mentioning the Steinbrenner family in his speech, Jeter even had to tell the crowd, “You better cheer.”
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But Steinbrenner wasn’t the only one booed. GM Brian Cashman also heard the resounding jeer. After his speech, Jeter jokingly said, “They boo because they want to cheer.”
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During Paul O’Neill’s number retirement ceremony Aug. 22, fans also booed Steinbrenner and Cashman.
There is no joke behind it for the fans. The reason is likely due to the Aaron Judge contract situation that has been a storyline all season, in addition to the team’s recent struggles.
The Yankees offered Judge the largest contract for any position player in franchise history at $213.5 million over seven years, or $30.5 million per season.
Instead, Judge bet on himself, and it has certainly worked out. He will be getting a lucrative deal once the season is over. Judge is leading MLB in multiple categories, including home runs (55), RBI (118) and OPS (1.092).
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The Yankees plan on being very engaged with Judge in free agency as they look to keep their next potential captain since Jeter in pinstripes.
The Yankees were 64-28 in the first half of the season, easily cementing themselves as the best team in MLB. But they have gone 19-27 since then, with injuries and poor hitting being the two main causes behind their skid. They still owned a 4 ½-game lead in the division facing the Rays, who are in second place.
Jeter was inducted into the Hall of Fame Sept. 8, 2021, though he was elected in 2020. The ceremony was canceled due to COVID-19 caution.