On a night when the best in baseball are supposed to show off their skills, some have an issue with a guy like Derek Jeter not only starting, but leading off in the contest. I’m not one of those. Who cares if Jeter has been less productive this year than any other All-Star on the rosters? In my opinion, players like Jeter have earned the right to stand on any field, among the best, at any time.
Years ago the same people were complaining when Cal Ripken, Jr. was voted an All-Star in his final year. Just like Ripken did in 2001, Jeter proved to be a star among stars last night.
I was a big Ripken fan, despite my Red Sox allegiance. We felt connected to his greatness somehow as my uncle played little league in West Asheville with Cal back in the day. I will never forget watching Ripken’s first-pitch homerun in his last Midsummer Classic. I felt similar last night watching Jeter at the plate and I got a little misty-eyed seeing Jeter wave his cap in the 4th inning.
Today Jeter’s two hits last night were atop every All-Star game headline. Did he get served up a fat one to pelt by the opposing pitchers? Maybe. Again, who cares? Despite the home-field advantage rule, the All-Star game doesn’t mean much. Who is going to go out there and try to show-up one of the greatest to ever play the game in a well-deserved swan song moment? If Adam Wainwright served that game-opening double to Jeter on a platter, good for him. It’s moments like that that make baseball seem magical again for adult fans.
Even as a die-hard Red Sox fan, I can’t deny what Jeter has meant to the game of baseball. If ever there was a Yankee that I’d be proud to see in a Red Sox uniform, it’d be the Captain. Much RE2PECT.