Derek Jeter has memorable night at final All-Star Game; AL wins 5-3
BY JOE COWLEY Staff Reporter July 15, 2014 10:36PM
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Updated: July 16, 2014 12:19AM
MINNEAPOLIS — Derek Jeter’s final season, his farewell tour, his night.
‘‘The Captain’’ has shined for 18-plus years on the big stage, so the final All-Star Game in a storybook career was, of course, going to end perfectly for him Tuesday.
So what if National League starting pitcher Adam Wainwright had to help a little bit in an eventual 5-3 victory for the American League?
First there was the introduction for Jeter, the New York Yankees legend — a standing ovation from the 41,048 at Target Field that was topped when Jeter led off the bottom of the first inning.
‘‘The way the fans treated me, these are fans from all different teams, and fans have always been respectful of me my entire career,’’ Jeter said of the reception. ‘‘To have that in the All-Star Game is special.’’
So was Jeter tipping his batting helmet over and over as the crowd wouldn’t let the send-off end.
Wainwright stepped as far back from the mound as he could to let Jeter have the spotlight to himself.
‘‘I just wanted him to enjoy it,’’ Wainwright said. ‘‘The attention should have been on him. I wanted to give it enough time for the fans to applaud him. I didn’t even want to get near that mound. I put my glove up and backed off as far . . . almost to second base, just saying, ‘Dude, I’m not going anywhere until this ovation is starting to die down.’ ’’
Wainwright even had a plan of attack for Jeter in his last Midsummer Classic. As he put it, he would ‘‘pipe one’’ down the middle on his first pitch, let Jeter have a chance to take a nice cut and be in a win-win situation for doing the right thing.
‘‘I was hoping it would be the first pitch and he would take it,’’ Wainwright said. ‘‘Then I could say, ‘OK, I piped him one, he didn’t swing, so I can go to it.’ But I spiked it in the dirt, so I gave him one more shot, and unfortunately he didn’t miss it.’’
Jeter deposited the ball in right field and got those 40-year-old legs to motor out a double.
‘‘I didn’t know he was going to hit a double or I would have changed my mind on that,’’ Wainwright said with a laugh.
Not everyone thought it was funny. NL manager Mike Matheny downplayed Wainright’s remarks.
‘‘Adam Wainwright went out there to compete,’’ Matheny said. ‘‘Unfortunately, people couldn’t pick up the tone [of Wainwright’s comments about the at-bat], pick up the humor, and ran with it in the exact opposite direction.’’
Jeter seemed to get it.
‘‘If he grooved it, thank you,’’ Jeter said. ‘‘You’ve still got to hit it. I appreciate it if that’s what he did. Thank you.’’
Jeter’s other highlights were a diving stop in the top of the first as the AL’s starting shortstop and drilling a single to right in the third.
The other special moment involved White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez, who went 1-for-2 with a run scored. He replaced Jeter in the fourth with a hug on the field.
‘‘It was an honor to replace a legend,’’ Ramirez said afterward.
Mike Trout earned MVP honors for his 2-for-3 performance — fitting since he’s the player to whom Jeter seems to be passing the torch. But this was Jeter’s night with his 2-for-2 showing.
‘‘He talked to us before the game and thanked us,’’ Trout said of Jeter’s pregame speech. ‘‘We should have been thanking him.’’