The Major League Baseball All-Star Game represents many things. It's an exhibition showcasing the most talented players in the league, but it's also a for-real game that decides home-field advantage in the World Series. It's a chance for casual fans to get a close-up introduction to the game's future, but also an opportunity to honor a future Hall of Famer who is bidding farewell to the game at the end of this season.
The American League defeated the National League 5-3 at Target Field in Minnesota on Tuesday night. Mike Trout won the MVP. But no matter what, it was Derek Jeter's night.
"Now batting for the New York Yankees, number two, Derek Jeter, number two..."
In his 20th and final season, the 40-year-old Yankees icon played in his final All-Star Game last night. Jeter stepped to the plate to lead off the bottom of the first inning with an opposite-field double off St. Louis Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright (who may or may not have "grooved" a couple pitches for Jeter to hit, depending on when you interviewed him last night).
He scored the game's first run, went 2-for-2, and was removed in the top of the fourth inning so the crowd and players could give him a proper sendoff:
Jeter's accomplishments are well known. He's a five-time World Series champion, a 14-time All-Star, he won the Rookie of the Year in 1996 and the World Series MVP in 2000. As part of the "Core Four" along with Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera, Jeter will go down in Yankees lore as one of the best to put on the uniform.
Baseball may be American's national pastime, but these days it's the only reason you're still up past your bedtime. Ratings are declining and the sport is losing the younger demographic. But what MLB will always have is its appreciation for history, and that's more important to infrastructure of baseball than anything else. On Tuesday, it was on full display as they bid farewell to number two, Derek Jeter. #RE2PECT:
Of course, we can't bid farewell to Jeter without tipping our cap to The Captain for his dominance off the field:
Here's a look at Derek Jeter's dating diamond. pic.twitter.com/jB3lPsvhQk— SportsNation (@SportsNation) February 13, 2014
There's still a few months left before he retires for good. Here's hoping he eventually uses this walk-up music courtesy of The Roots: