Newly retired New York Yankees captain Derek Jeter said he avoided scandal and controversy during his storied career because he did not want to humiliate his parents.
“I’ve always had tried to treat people with respect, the way I wanted to be treated,” the 14-time All Star said in a “Today” show interview that aired Wednesday. “I’ve always been very cautious with what I do. I started at a young age and I’ve always had the mentality that I never wanted to embarrass my parents. That fear is still there.”
The final player to wear a single-digit number for the Yankees, Jeter spoke with "Today's" Matt Lauer less than 24 hours after he played his last game at the stadium, which he won with a walk-off single.
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“Fifty thousand people. I’ve never been an actor on Broadway, but it feels like you’re on a stage when you play at Yankee stadium,” Jeter said. “And that’s the feeling I’ve always had. To have everyone there standing up, cheering for you and saying thank you, just never want to play another game out there.”
The 40-year-old star shortstop, who received gifts from other ballclubs on his way out, said he was most surprised at the send-off he got from the Yankees' arch rivals at Fenway Park on the last day of his career.
A pregame ceremony honoring the retiring captain produced numerous standing ovations from the Boston crowd. Jeter told Lauer that there were plenty of times when Red Sox fans would “stand and say some things" during his 20-season career. "But it was never an ovation.”
Jeter hit an RBI single at his last at bat at Fenway. The final hit left him with a .310 career batting average, raising it from .30945 to .30951.
The baseball star already has some post-retirement plans. He has launched Jeter Publishing, his imprint with Simon & Schuster and The Players' Tribune, a publishing portal where athletes will be able to share their stories without having to deal with reporters.
"I realize I’ve been guarded. I learned early on in New York, the toughest media environment in sports, that just because a reporter asks you a question doesn’t mean you have to answer," Jeter said in a statement on the site that posted Wednesday. "I attribute much of my success in New York to my ability to understand and avoid unnecessary distractions."
Jeter told Lauer it feels good so far to be retired.
“It’s funny, because someone had mentioned to me I went from an old man in baseball to a young man in life. And I liked how that sounded. So, I consider myself young again," he said.
One thing he rules out is coming out of retirement.
“I played my last game. That’s one hundred percent,” he assured Lauer.