[Unlike Lou Gerhig’s Disease, Jeter’s Disease is not fatal, and rumored to be treatable with Valtrex.]

Yankee fans soiled themselves tonight over Derek Jeter’s tying the career hits record of Bronx legend Lou Gehrig, a Bomber whose career was tragically cut short by terminal illness.  Congrats, Captain!  Special thanks to Yahoo! Sports commenter Clint W of Leawood, Kansas, who put Jeter’s accomplishment into perspective for me by noting: “Jeter now has 6 more hits than Bill Buckner.”   The NY Times’ Tyler Kepner breathlessly reports the 53rd ranked hit king’s Historic Moment here:

As Jorge Posada circled the bases in the eighth inning at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday night, the fans naturally erupted in cheers. The hard part was telling their motivation. Were they saluting Posada for his three-run, go-ahead homer, or reacting with glee to another chance to see Derek Jeter hit?

Jeter greeted Posada at the mouth of the Yankees™ dugout with a pat on the head. Posada is Jeter™s best friend on the team, his partner in the Yankees™ lineup for most of the last 15 years. Posada™s pinch-hit blast had sent the Yankees on their way to a 4-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays, and brought Jeter to the edge of history.

He did not quite get there, drawing a walk against Grant Balfour with two outs. But Jeter tied Lou Gehrig™s franchise record for hits, going 3 for 4 against Tampa Bay starter Jeff Niemann. Jeter matched Gehrig at 2,721 hits, and he gets another chance on Friday against Baltimore.

œThe fans have been great this whole homestand, Jeter said on the field after the game. œI™ve been trying to do it for them. That™s why I bunted in the first inning, because I needed to get at least one hit.