VIERA, Fla. -- Reliever Tyler Clippard had mixed emotions after learning that Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter will retire after the 2014 season. The two were teammates in 2007.
"I'm happy that he is doing it on his own terms and feels like this is the right time for him," Clippard said. "At the same time, from a fan's perspective, being a part of the game, a teammate and the whole thing, it going to be sad to have baseball without him. It's an end of an era, and I think everyone realizes it. In that sense, it's sad."
Clippard remembers the first time he met Jeter. It was in 2003, at the Yankees' Spring Training complex in Tampa, Fla. As Clippard was walking toward Jeter, the two made eye contact, and Jeter said, 'Hey, man, nice to meet you. I'm Derek."
Excited, Clippard replied, "I know."
"He talked to me for 30 seconds, but it seemed like 10 minutes. I was in awe of him," Clippard said. "That's what he does with everyone. It's special. It's something I will never forget. He just kind of leaves his trail behind everywhere he goes. I don't know if he does that on purpose. It's a beautiful thing."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.