Results tagged ‘ All-Star Game ’

Derek Jeter goes 2-for-2 in his final All-Star Game

Derek JeterThe afternoon of Derek Jeter’s final All-Star Game started with a ride in the back of a slow-moving pickup truck, waving to the crowds along the red-carpeted streets of Minneapolis as the vehicle rolled toward the players’ entrance of Target Field.

It concluded with the retiring Yankees captain doffing his cap to a standing ovation that lasted nearly three minutes, finishing 2-for-2 with a double and a run scored as the American League’s leadoff hitter before being replaced at shortstop for the fourth inning.

“Any player that says they don’t want to go to an All-Star Game is lying to you,” Jeter said. “It’s something everyone wants to be a part of. I’ve been fortunate to be a part of a few of them and I’m happy that I had a chance to do it one last time.”

In February, when Jeter announced his intention to walk away at the conclusion of the season, he thought that it would be great to attend one last Midsummer Classic. Credited with his 14th selection and ninth fan-voted election, the Yankees captain rose to the occasion.

“You know what? He has a flair for the dramatic, as we know,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell, who piloted the AL squad in its 5-3 victory. “Two base hits and scores the first run; it worked out pretty well.”

Hearing some of the loudest ovations during pregame introductions, Jeter dirtied his uniform diving for Andrew McCutchen’s first-inning infield hit, then walked to the plate as the AL’s leadoff hitter in the home half of the frame.

As Jeter dug into the box, accompanied by a recording of the late Yankee Stadium legend Bob Sheppard, pitcher Adam Wainwright set his glove on top of the mound and stepped back. His hands bare, Wainwright led the rest of the NL squad in applauding.

“I just felt like that was what he deserved,” Wainwright said. “I wasn’t going near it. I’d still be standing there if the crowd kept cheering.”

Jeter tried to urge Wainwright to pick up his glove and start the game, but the Cardinals hurler refused, allowing the fans a few extra moments to cheer.

“I’ll always remember it,” Jeter said. “I have never faced Adam before, I haven’t really talked to him, and he’s one of the best pitchers in all of baseball. For him to do that during tonight’s game, it says a lot about him and how much of a class act he is.”

After a brief conversation with Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy, Jeter jumped on Wainwright’s second pitch — a 90-mph cutter — for a double down the right field line, then scored the game’s first run on Mike Trout’s triple.

“He said congrats, and then, ‘What does this guy have? I’ve never faced him,'” Lucroy said. “It’s not like he needed to know. He hit a double right down the line.”

Wainwright later created a stir by saying that he’d intended to give Jeter “a couple pipe shots” down the middle to hit, a remark that he later backed away from.

“I should probably hush up,” Wainwright said. “I completely was trying to throw a strike. I was fine with him putting it in play. I did not think he was going to get a hit.”

The double was Jeter’s first extra-base hit in the All-Star Game since he homered in the 2001 contest at Safeco Field, and Jeter defused the controversy with a splash of humor.

“If he grooved it, thank you,” Jeter said. “You still have to hit it. I appreciate it, if that’s what he did.”

Jeter’s second at-bat came in the third inning against the Reds’ Alfredo Simon, working the count full before dunking a 3-2 pitch into right field for a soft opposite-field single, advancing to second base on a wild pitch before being stranded there.

“I tried to get him out, but if he got a base hit, it’s no big deal,” Simon said. “It’s the All-Star Game. I’m happy for him.”

Farrell had planned to have Jeter take two at-bats and then replace him defensively in the fourth, something that Farrell said he conferred with Joe Torre about over the last week.

Former teammate Robinson Cano brought Jeter’s glove and cap out to the field, and Jeter went through the motions of pre-inning tosses to first base until Farrell sent Alexei Ramirez of the White Sox out to take over.

“I wasn’t expecting it, but the manager came up to me and asked me to go into the game in the fourth inning,” Ramirez said. “It’s such a great honor to have that moment with an a legend of American baseball. I’m really proud to have had that moment.”

Derek Jeter The strains of Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York” began to play over the PA system, and during an ovation of more than three minutes, Jeter tipped his cap numerous times — a uniform piece he’d later donate to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

“I thought it was great. I didn’t know what was going to happen,” Jeter said. “My back was turned and I heard Cano yelling, but usually when he yells I ignore him. Then I saw Ramirez coming out. It was a wonderful moment that I’m always going to remember. I appreciate John doing that for me.”

“When you’ve witnessed a guy have such a great career, there’s a moment of celebration, but I think we as fans know that every career can’t go on to infinity,” Farrell said. “There’s a point and time where things start to close out. He’s able to do things in such a class way that tonight was another example of that.”

With a TV cameraman capturing his movements for the home audience, Jeter hugged every person wearing an AL uniform, then took one final curtain call and watched the remainder of the game from the top step of the dugout.

“It makes me feel good. The All-Star Game is about everyone that’s here, not one particular person,” Jeter said. “I’ve always been uncomfortable, so to speak, when the focus is on me. I felt as though the focus should be on everyone that’s in this game.

“For the players to do what they did, you play this game and try to have respect for the game, for the players – both your teammates and your opponents – and for them to do that, that would be much better than if there was something that was scripted.”

Jeter finished his All-Star career with a .481 (13-for-27) batting average, which ranks fifth all time among players with at least 10 at-bats. At age 40, Jeter became the oldest player to have two or more hits in an All-Star Game. The previous oldest was Carl Yastrzemski, who was 39 when he had a pair of singles in the 1979 All-Star Game.

“You’ve got to be blessed,” Cano said. “Not everyone gets that kind of ovation. Seeing it, I played with him a long time, and I know what kind of person he is and what kind of player he is. He deserves it and I’m happy for him.”

Lauded on Tuesday by Commissioner Bud Selig as “the face of baseball,” Jeter said that he has appreciated everything in his career to this point. Nike aired a tribute commercial before Jeter’s first at-bat, with many celebrities and sports luminaries offering Jeter a literal tip of the cap.

“I’ll try not to mess it up over the next couple months,” Jeter said, with a smile.

The lights may be dark on Jeter’s All-Star career, but there are even more important games that Jeter wants to participate in. He will be back on the field with the Yankees on Friday in the Bronx, where he hopes they can begin a second-half surge toward October baseball.

“Even today, you try to enjoy it because it’s your last All-Star Game, but we have another game in two days,” Jeter said. “It’s kind of hard to juggle the two. I’m going to enjoy it, savor it, but the season still continues.”

 

Welcome to the Derek Jeter All-Star Game

You can sense a shift in the excitement level when Derek Jeter approaches, walking up the tunnel to the dugout, spikes clacking on concrete. The photographers begin throwing elbows and jockeying for position, reporters ready their microphones, and even some of the players seem to jerk their heads around and pay closer attention.

It’s still the American League and the National League, playing for home field advantage in the World Series, which is a big deal. Yet this sure feels a lot like a midsummer celebration that is going to revolve around Jeter, something that he still doesn’t seem sure about. To Jeter, they’ve all been special.

“I’ve always enjoyed All-Star Games,” Jeter said. “This is a game that I truly have always looked forward to. I’ve appreciated the time that I’ve had here. It’s kind of difficult to say I’ll try to enjoy it more because I don’t know how much more I can enjoy it.”

The media crush around Jeter’s table this afternoon made Dellin Betances shake his head and laugh. A first-time All-Star, this is all new to Betances, but even someone in their first hours on the floor can tell that there’s a different energy here.

“Oh man. Watching him in his last year, this is amazing,” Betances said, with a laugh. “I’m honored to be here. It’s a great experience getting to meet these guys and know them a little bit. For me, just being here with Jeet’s last year, I’m honored to be here.”

This Midsummer Classic, marking Jeter’s 14th All-Star selection and his ninth fan-elected start, figures to be different than those that preceded it. Jeter will be in the spotlight from the first pitch on, with Red Sox manager John Farrell slotting Jeter to lead off for the American League.

“It’s a rare and unique opportunity,” Farrell said. “At the same time, we are able to celebrate a player who is not only a champion, but a guy that sets the bar that I think all players should aspire to.”

Here are some assorted reactions from All-Stars in both leagues about Jeter’s final trip to the Midsummer Classic:

Mike Trout, Angels: “I would just turn on the TV and knew he was the best player. Just the way he carried himself; he isn’t out there talking smack, he’s just letting the championships speak for him.”

Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies: “It’ll be neat. Jeter’s been my role model, watching him as a kid, competing against him, seeing him from a young player, to now an older player playing in his last All-Star game, it’s going to be an honor. It’s something I’ll always remember, taking the field and playing against him.”

Johnny Cueto, Reds: “It’s amazing actually seeing him right now. I think he can still play. He wants to go home and be with his family. He deserves to retire. I think he’s one of the greats of all time.”
 
Victor Martinez, Tigers: “You know what, I think I’m going to cross the line a little bit, but I think Major League Baseball needs to do something with those kind of players like him. They don’t come around often, and he should go to the Hall of Fame as soon as the season’s over. I have a great amount of respect. He’s a guy I always looked up to. He plays the game the right way.”

Todd Frazier, Reds, on standing next to Jeter as a 12-year-old in 1998: “I’m just looking around like a kid in a candy store. I talked to him three years ago. We worked out together in Florida for a little bit. I said, ‘Do you remember that?’ He started laughing. He said ‘Holy cow, don’t tell anybody.’ That’s just the way he is. He’s a happy-go-lucky guy and I can’t wait to see his final All-Star game playing against him.”
 
Terry Francona, Indians manager: “That’s one of the things I’m looking forward to the most the next couple of days, to see how he is received. He embodies so much about what is good about game. To be able to watch him in person, I’m really looking forward to that. It’s kind of an honor to compete against him and his team because of the way he goes about things.”

Jon Lester, Red Sox: “It will be pretty cool. I don’t want to age him too much but watching him grow up, obviously the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry and having to deal with him all the time … I’m just glad he’s finally done so I don’t have to face him anymore. It will be a cool experience to be a part of this and he deserves everything that he gets and hopefully he won’t get hounded too much and he can actually enjoy it and have fun and really take away some memories from this for him.”

Max Scherzer, Tigers: “It’s going to be awesome. Last year I got the experience of being here with Mariano for his last All-Star Game, and that was an unbelievable experience. The All-Star Game is already cool enough, but to have a legend go out just made it even better. When that happens on Tuesday with Jeter, what he’s meant to this game is only going to make it that much more special for everybody involved – fans, players, everybody. We’ll always remember this.”

Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers: “He’s kind of been the face of the game for the past 18 or 20 years. It’s always good when you have a guy like that; LeBron in the NBA, we had Brett Favre, now there’s Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers (in the NFL). To have a guy like Jeter, he embodies all that baseball is. He’s a winner, he’s a great player. I can’t have any more respect for a guy. We’re going to miss him and it’s exciting to be here for his last All-Star Game.”

Robinson Cano, Mariners: “I can’t wait for that. He’s a guy I love. The way he was with me when I was in New York, he was a great teammate; one of the best, maybe the best ever that I’ve had. I can’t wait to be able to spend time with him today.”

Miguel Cabrera, Tigers: “It’s going to be great. I had the chance to do it last year with Mariano. It’s going to be a great experience. I look forward to today and tomorrow to talk to him, try to steal something from him so I can be a better baseball player.”

Ron Gardenhire, Twins manager: “He’s one of these guys who is what baseball is all about. He’s the probably the most professional guy. He’s in the community and has always handled himself really well. And also, he’s a winner. He’s brought championships to that baseball team over there and the whole package. He’s just a guy who makes everyone around him feel good. That’s what leaders do. We’ve had guys like that like Puckett. They always make everybody feel good around you.”

Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins: “It will be very special, his last one is going to be awesome. Hopefully there is something dedicated to him and acknowledging him. I was able to play against him in Panama and see that whole atmosphere and just the respect. It’s unmatched. It will be cool to be on the same field again and be a part of it.”

Tyler Clippard, Nationals: “I was in the Minor Leagues at the complex there in Tampa, and as a young kid, probably about 18 or 19 years old — watching him walk around, very much in awe just because it’s Derek Jeter. I think I asked him for his autograph and he was very cordial, very nice about it. It made me feel like I was part of the team, even though I was just a Minor League kid.”


Henderson Alvarez, Marlins: “The fact that I get to be on the same field as Derek Jeter who is here for his last is something that makes me overjoyed, something that is important to me. I just anticipate enjoying it and soaking it all in.”

Mark Buehrle, Blue Jays: “It’s been cool. He’s owned me over his career, so I’m not too sad to see him go and get out of the game because it’s a hard at-bat.  Obviously what he has done for baseball over the course of his career, he’s the top guy in Major League Baseball on and off the field. So it’s going to be sad to see him go.”

 

Going behind the scenes with Mariano Rivera

If the following clips are any indication, you’re going to want to set your DVR right now or make sure that you’re parked in front of the TV this weekend.

MLB Productions’ new film “BEING: Mariano Rivera” is debuting this Sunday at 2:30 pm ET on FOX. Rivera granted MLB Productions cameras significant access throughout the past year, allowing behind the scenes access through every memorable moment in and around his final season.

With hundreds of hours of footage shot for a 90-minute documentary, several fantastic moments were left on the cutting room floor. Here are four clips that DID NOT make the final cut, courtesy MLB Productions:

While visiting San Diego for the final time in early September, Rivera spends time with Trevor Hoffman, the only other man to save 600 games. The cameras and Rivera’s microphone also pick up his reaction along with his teammates to the gift the Padres give him (Robbie Cano makes a funny joke):

During All-Star Week in New York, Rivera takes some time to visit the U.S.S. Intrepid with his family, and talks about looking forward to spending more time with his kids after retirement:

Also during All-Star Week, more than a dozen of Rivera’s AL teammates gather for a photo with him in a private moment together on the field at Citi Field:

During Rivera’s last trip to Texas in July, current Rangers closer Joe Nathan gets a chance to interview Rivera:

Video: All-Stars talk about sharing the game with Mo

As we prepare for the second half of the season to begin, why not take one last look back at Mariano Rivera’s All-Star Game experience?

Check out this video from MLB.com featuring interviews with many of the American League and National League All-Stars, discussing their feelings on being a part of what turned out to be a very special event in New York, as well as their thoughts on Rivera’s illustrious career.

“You know what you’re going to get and you still can’t hit it. Think about that,” the Orioles’ Adam Jones said. “In life, if you know what you’re going to get and you still can’t do it — think about that. And he was great at it. Just one pitch, a cutter. You still don’t hit it. Still.”

And of course, we’ll never get tired of watching this:

“A scene that I will never forget” — reflections from ‘The Mo Game’

Mariano RiveraLast night’s All-Star Game at Citi Field will be remembered as the Mariano Rivera game, as the moment when Rivera was given his well-deserved and authentic outpouring of admiration.

Whether you were clutching a sweaty ticket in the field-level seats, wearing a uniform in either dugout, watching at home on television or hammering away on a MacBook in the left-field press box, your emotions were likely the same as Rivera reached the mound with Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” filling his ears — chills.

Rivera looked around, realized he was completely alone on the playing field, and doffed his cap to all corners of the ballpark. He later admitted that he was fighting back tears, choked up with emotion as every player and coach bathed the retiring great in applause.

“I wasn’t expecting that,” Rivera said. “I wanted to come and do my job. When I was crossing the field, I got to the mound, and then the song — I heard that song in another stadium, that was great.  And when I got to the mound, I saw both sides, both teams in the dugouts, and it was amazing. It almost made me cry, too.  I was close.  It was amazing, a scene that I will never forget.”

People will argue, of course, that it would have added to the moment if Rivera was entering for the ninth inning and not the eighth. Tigers manager Jim Leyland had his reasons, fearing a late lead change that would have made the bottom of the ninth impossible, and I’m sure it’ll be a great debate for years that Leyland could have changed his mind after the American League went up by three runs.

I also don’t believe it really matters in the grand scheme of things. The All-Star Game stopped, very appropriately, to honor and respect Rivera on one of the biggest stages imaginable. Once play resumed, Rivera set down the NL in a clean 16-pitch inning, the AL held on for a 3-0 victory and Rivera received the All-Star Game MVP award.

If the Yankees don’t make it to the World Series and it turns out that this was Rivera’s farewell to the national audience, it was a wonderful way to say goodbye.

Mariano Rivera

Here is how some of the players from both sides will remember the night:

Pedro Alvarez, Pirates: “Him coming in, I grew up watching the guy pitch, and he’s such an exemplary player and person. To be able to share that moment with everybody else here was pretty, it’s going to be unforgettable, that’s for sure. It takes a very special person for something like that to happen.”

Bruce Bochy, Giants manager: “It was moving.  What he’s accomplished in his career and the person that he is, I can’t say I know him, but I’ve heard enough about him that he’s such a class person and a great ambassador to the game.  For him to get honored like that was moving, a very special moment, and our players, you know, they showed their respect and appreciation and so it’s a really neat deal, which he richly, richly deserves.  So that was a neat moment.”

Allen Craig, Cardinals: “That’s one of the moments I’ll never forget. That was probably one of the coolest at-bats I’ve had in my career. I just thought it was extremely special that the stars kind of aligned for me to have a chance to face him. I respect him so much and the career that he has had. The more that I play in this game, the more I respect guys who have longevity and continue to produce like him. It’s just an amazing thing. I was honored to get the chance to hit against him. It was cool.”

Michael Cuddyer, Rockies: “No question. He’s the greatest of all time. Anytime you’re in the midst of history like that, you’ve got to appreciate it. Even if it is a competition, you appreciate what he’s done for this game, for this profession, the way he’s carried himself and handled himself and the way he’s dominated.”

Chris Davis, Orioles: “It was awesome. It was good to be on his side for once. Just knowing what he’s done in his career and what he means to the game, it was special to be a part of it. I was glad he really took his time and let it all sink in. Obviously it’s a tribute to what he’s done in his career, and what we all think about him.”

Prince Fielder, Tigers: “It’s pretty cool, because ’96 I was there in the clubhouse for his first World Series.  So it’s pretty cool to give him the ball, especially since I was a kid when he won his first World Series.”

Carlos Gomez, Brewers: “It gave me [goosebumps]. When I see Mariano, I continue to clap. Because a guy like that, like a gentleman, like a great person and a fantastic ballplayer and real professional, it’s a guy that everywhere you see him, on the field and off the field, you’re going to tip your cap. He deserves it, now and when he’s retired.”

Torii Hunter, Tigers: “He deserved it. We understand, as players and competitors, what he’s done in this game. We know how hard this game is, and for everything that he’s done in this game, that was well-deserved. We’re looking at greatness. We can tell our grandkids, ‘Hey, I went to the All-Star Game with this guy, I played against him,’ and that’s the living proof right there before your eyes. It’s sad, but at the same time you’re happy for him.”

Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers: “It was cool, man. I’m glad I got to be here to see that. That was such an awesome thing for him to get to do and for us to be a part of. I was just happy to see it.”

Jim Leyland, Tigers manager: “The night was full of emotion, and to be honest with you, this is one of the toughest games I ever had to manage, because you have all these different scenarios that might happen. Really, the show tonight — even though we won the game, and a lot of guys did a very, very good job.  I don’t want to slight anybody — but this was really about trying to manipulate so we got Mariano at the right time.”

Joe Mauer, Twins: “I didn’t know that was going to happen. We were kind of like, what’s going on? Coming in the eighth, your initial reaction is like, why isn’t he pitching the ninth, but you understand the situation and that was a nice moment. … I got to close out an All-Star game with him in ’06, so that’s something I’ll always remember. We got some pictures and stuff like that. And it was my first All-Star Game, so that was pretty cool.”

Mark Melancon, Pirates: “I was actually getting loose while he was throwing, getting ready to go in. It was cool. In 2009, I came up with the Yankees and got to be in the bullpen with him. I got goosebumps as he was walking out the gate. Just a really special moment.”

Joe Nathan, Twins: “We definitely wanted to see him in the ninth, but you want to guarantee that he goes in and has his moment. Regardless of what inning he got to pitch tonight, that moment was pretty cool. Pretty cool for us as players, pretty cool for the fans, and I’m sure it was absolutely amazing for Mo. Obviously it would have probably been even better in the ninth for him, but we got him in the game, we got him his moment and we got a win.”

Salvador Perez, Royals: “Seriously, I got a little nervous. As soon as I saw him coming to the mound, I said, gosh, it’s unbelievable. Last All-Star Game that Mariano Rivera pitched, I will catch. That’s awesome.”

Sergio Romo, Giants: “Wow. Extremely humbling just to meet him. For me to shake his hand and let him know how much I respect him, then for him to come back and say, ‘Thank you, Romo.’ Wait. You know my name? Wow, what a feeling just to know that I’m visible to a person like that, someone I feel is a hero in the game, a guy who I personally look up to. Why not try to be like the best example, who is Mariano Rivera. I saw it live. Very special.”

Chris Sale, White Sox: “The bigger picture is just being a part of a game that Mariano was a part of. Mariano Rivera is the best in every aspect of pretty much everything. So just being a part of a game that he’s a part of meant the world to me and I’ll never forget it. … I don’t think I’ve ever had a baseball experience like that in my entire life. Being able to witness the greatest of all-time, ever, was a very humbling experience. It’s something I’ll never forget. Ever.”

Mike Trout, Angels: “It was probably the most memorable moment I had, besides playing and starting, just to see him come out to the field. It was pretty special.”

Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies: “Obviously he deserves everything he got, the MVP and all that, the standing ovation. But when you’re sitting there trying to score runs off the guy and you’re clapping for him, that makes it a little difficult. That was kind of a situation I’ve never been faced with.”

Justin Verlander, Tigers: “What a class act. Listening to him talk, it’s something I’ll never forget. I got a Rivera jersey signed. I got a Rivera All-Star jersey. I thought about a Yankee jersey, to give him that, but this is an opportunity that I’m a teammate of his, I’m here with him.”

Ben Zobrist, Rays: “Those moments, it’s hard to put into words. A guy like that who’s played as long as he has and had the impact that he’s had on the game. But you could just see in his face how genuine he is, how humble he is. We were able to share that moment with him, and that’s the last one that he’s going to have at the All-Star Game. It’s certainly a special thing for us to be able to be here with him.”

Mariano Rivera

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