Jeter reflects on first Opening Day in Cleveland

Jeter reflects on first Opening Day in Cleveland

CLEVELAND -- Derek Jeter will always have fond memories of Cleveland. Players often can recall with vivid detail their first Opening Day. For the long-time Yankees shortstop, his first season opener was spent on the shores of Lake Erie.

And it was cold.

"Your first Opening Day is pretty memorable, pretty special," Jeter said of his first game in Cleveland in 1996. "I was excited for that day. We got snowed out the day before, so we had to wait a while. It seemed like we had to wait forever to get that first one underway."

Prior to Monday's tilt at Progressive Field, the 40-year-old Jeter spent time reflecting on that game -- one in which he belted his first career home run -- due to it being his last career trip to Cleveland. The Indians plan on honoring Jeter's career during this four-game set and the club plans on presenting the shortstop with a gift on Thursday.

Indians first baseman Nick Swisher -- a teammate of Jeter's with the Yankees from 2009-12 -- said he has nothing but respect for the Yankees' captain.

"He was one of my favorite teammates," Swisher said. "He taught me a lot. Just to be able to be over there and be around a winner like that, I was able to take a lot of things I learned from there and bring them over here to a new organization. Any time you're losing a guy like that, you're talking about one of the best ambassadors that this game's ever had.

"All you've got to do is say, 'No. 2,' and everybody on the planet knows who you're talking about. For us, we're going to have a lot of fun with this. He definitely deserves everything he gets. We've got a little something up our sleeve for him."

Cleveland manager Terry Francona, who faced Jeter often as part of the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry during the manager's time in Boston, also praised the shortstop on Monday.

"Derek's been probably one of the very best faces of our game," Francona said. "But the game has a really good way of moving on. The younger guys grow up and, maybe nobody's able to take Derek Jeter's place, but they can represent the game kind of like the way he did. I think that's what's great about our game."

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.