Believe it or not, a great New York Yankee is not honored at every All-Star game, even though it’s happened in each of the last two years – first with Mariano Rivera in 2013 and second with Derek Jeter on Tuesday in Minnesota.
“They were certainly done differently,” New York Daily News Yankees writer Mark Feinsand said on The Morning Show. “You think about Mariano coming in from the bullpen and taking that mound by himself with nobody else on the field – that was something you just don’t ever see. We’ve seen players come off the field for defense and get the big ovation, (just as) Jeter did last night.”
“But the fans at Target Field were all about Jeter from the second he went out there for BP,” Feinsand continued. “Every time he was visible on the field, they were just showering him with love and applause and ovations. You heard the ‘Der-ek Jet-er’ chants that you hear in Yankee Stadium – except we were in Minnesota. It was pretty cool having him go through the dugout and take a moment with every one of his teammates on the All-Star team, and they’re playing ‘New York, New York.’ (The game) wasn’t in New York, (but) you probably wouldn’t have known it . . . based on the reaction that he got.”
Jeter, however, seemed a bit uncomfortable with the praise he received. When he led off the bottom of the first inning, fans and players gave him a rousing ovation, but Jeter just wanted to play baseball.
“Yes, and he’s been that way all year long,” Feinsand said. “Every time that we go to a city for the final time, that team honors him with a pre-game ceremony, they present him with a gift (and) they play a little video. He always seems a little uncomfortable with it because for 20 years, this guy’s been preaching, ‘Team, team, team. It’s not about one person.’ And all of a sudden, these ceremonies come, and it’s about one person.”
Jeter might have been especially uncomfortable at the All-Star Game because he was surrounded by the best players in the world.
“He spoke to the team before the game last night, and he told them, ‘This isn’t about one person. This is about enjoying your experience. You don’t know when you’re going to be back,’” Feinsand said. “And he tried to stress to the younger guys, ‘Enjoy this. Don’t take it for granted.’ He treated every All-Star game like it was his last one – even though he ended up at 14 of them. I think having that healthy approach – knowing you’re a part of something bigger – that’s what’s made him who he is.”
But is Jeter actually enjoying his retirement tour? Even a little bit?
“Well, I think he is – although, when you call it a ‘retirement tour’ or a ‘farewell tour,’ he (doesn’t like it),” Feinsand said. “(He says), ‘I’m still playing for something. This isn’t a ceremonial tour through the major leagues. This is me trying to get my team back to the playoffs.’ And he’s very clear about that. Anytime the words ‘farewell tour’ come up, he corrects people and says, ‘Final season. Not farewell tour.’”
“But I do think he’s enjoying it. I do think he’s a lot looser this year. He’s been a lot looser with the media. He’s enjoying the fans. I think he’s gotten a great reaction from the crowd in just about every place he’s been.”
Interestingly enough, the final regular-season game of Jeter’s career will be at Fenway Park.
“If there’s one place where fans haven’t necessarily always been kind to him, it’s there,” Feinsand said. “But even in places like Toronto and Baltimore, you’ve heard cheers for him – and I don’t think it’ll be any different anywhere else we go.”