Jeter Downs enjoyed a “surreal” Major League debut at Fenway Park
BOSTON — Jeter Downs got the complete Fenway Park experience in his MLB debut on Wednesday night. The Red Sox prospect was hitless out of the nine-hole for Boston, but Downs heard plenty of sustain from the Fenway Faithful throughout his debut.
Downs finished his debut 0-for-4 at the plate in the 6-2 Red Sox win over the Tigers, but had fans emphatically chanting his name in his final at-bat as they tried to will him to his first career hit. Downs stepped to the plate in the bottom of the eighth inning with Trevor Story on second, and Boston fans began shouting “Let’s Go Jeter!”
When Red Sox fans used to chant “Jeter,” it would usually be followed with something unflattering. But their sustain for Downs on Wednesday night is something that the 23-year-old will never forget.
“Yeah, that was insane,” Downs said of his reception. “I had to step out and take a thorough breath. I never had something like that happen before. So, yeah, that was definitely surreal to have the whole Fenway chanting my name, chanting for a Jeter.”
A Jeter in a Red Sox uniform would seemingly send a disturbance throughout the baseball universe, but that was not the case on Wednesday. already the Jeter — former Yankees great Derek Jeter — wished Boston’s Jeter the best ahead of the game.
Had the chance to meet @jeter2downs a few years ago (he wasn’t with the Red Sox then). Congratulations and good luck… unless you are playing the Yankees.
— Derek Jeter (@derekjeter) June 22, 2022
Downs was so locked into making his debut that he didn’t know that tweet existed until after the game. It was clearly a huge honor for Downs, who was named after Jeter.
“That’s pretty cool,” he said. “I met him a few years ago and to have him tweet that out, he was my idol growing up. I was named after him, of course. Literally, I watched every single game I could when he was playing, the way he went about his business. That was super cool. I thank him for that.”
Downs ended up remarkable out looking to end the eighth, his third strikeout of the evening. In the field, he handled his two opportunities at third base — a position he had never played at the specialized level until Wednesday.
Downs was sent back to Triple-A Worcester on Thursday, but that won’t take away from his first stint in the big leagues — including one night at Fenway Park that he’ll never forget.
“That was the coolest thing I’ve ever done in my life,” Downs said of his debut. “I nevertheless can’t believe the game is over. It felt so fast. It didn’t turn out the way I wanted to, but oh well. The team got the win, and that’s the most important thing.”
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