It ended the only way it could have and, finally, the outward emotion missing much of Derek Jeter's iconic career, started to come out.
After David Robertson shockingly coughed up a three-run lead by allowing two homers in the top of the ninth inning, Jeter won it in the bottom half, swinging at the first pitch and sending a single to rightfield that brought in the winning run of a 6-5 victory over the Orioles Thursday night that had the Stadium shaking like it never has in his six-year existence.
Jeter, who brought in pinch runner Antoan Richardson, was mobbed by the Yankees dugout after rounding first.
With longtime Jeter teammates such as Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte, Bernie Williams and Tino Martinez emerging from the dugout and standing on the field, the shortstop hugged each of his current teammates before turning his attention to his former ones, as well as a former manager, Joe Torre.
Jeter then walked alone to first base, and made his way past second and finally to his shortstop position, doffing his cap to the crowd and the Orioles dugout, still packed with players who stood and applauded.
Jeter found his parents sitting behind home plate.
"Don't cry," Jeter said during a YES interview on the field of his thoughts before the final at-bat. "This was a lot of fun. Thank you. Most importantly, I'm going to miss the fans."
After a few more on-field interviews, Jeter walked the field again, acknowledging fans who simply did not want to leave.
They serenaded Jeter all night, but most vociferously in the top of the eighth inning when the sellout Stadium crowd began chanting the shortstop's name and wouldn't stop.
It was the Bleacher Creature roll call, with all 48,613 in attendance standing and participating, directing it at one player.
Jeter, with TV cameras appearing to show him welling up maybe just a bit, doffed his cap several times in acknowledgment at the spontaneous display of affection.
It only continued in the top of the ninth when Robertson came on to close, but the celebration of Jeter quickly turned the Stadium mood sour.
Robertson allowed Adam Jones' two-run homer with one out to make it 5-4, then Steve Pearce's solo shot with two outs, tying the score at 5.
But even that turned out to be a perfect setup for the drama that followed.
Joe Girardi, who perfectly orchestrated Rivera's Yankee Stadium send-off last season, did not attempt to duplicate the moment with the 40-year-old Jeter, leaving him on the field for the entirety of the game.
It paid off in the ninth with Jeter's game-winning hit that made him 2-for-5 with three RBIs, including a run-scoring double in the first.
"I think it [keeping his emotions in] will be extremely difficult just because of what this has meant to him over the years," Girardi said before the game.
Rain pounded the city all day and was supposed to much of the night, but an hour before the scheduled start, it stopped, the sun even creeping through.
A few hours before that, Jeter said the weather occupied his mind, and not his final drive to the Stadium as a player, as he came to work.
"My feelings were I hope the rain stops," Jeter said. "That's basically it."
Indeed, if he had any pregame emotions, any deep thoughts about his final game in front of adoring Yankees fans, Jeter kept them to himself.
He was, a few hours before first-pitch, as he's always been: Focused on the game at hand.
"I want to play the game," Jeter said in a clubhouse packed with media to chronicle the event. "There's a lot of questions I can't answer until we play the game so I understand you have to ask them but I really can't tell you how I'm going to feel until I play. Afterward, I can tell you."