All-Stars reflect on Jeter's final Midsummer Classic
Players, managers share thoughts on Yankees captain's 14th All-Star Game
MINNEAPOLIS -- Derek Jeter's final All-Star Game went better than anyone could have anticipated.
The Yankees shortstop and captain had two hits -- a double and a single -- and scored the game's first run in his two at-bats. And when Jeter was pulled off the field to the strains of "New York, New York" and replaced in the top of the fourth inning, he was given a rousing ovation that included numerous tips of his own cap to the sellout crowd of 41,098 at Target Field.
"I thought it was great," Jeter said after his American League squad defeated the National League, 5-3. "I didn't know what was going to happen. My back was turned and I heard [Robinson] Cano yelling. Usually when he, yells I ignore him. And then I saw [Alexei] Ramirez come out. So it was a wonderful moment that I am always going to remember. I appreciate [manager] John [Farrell] doing that for me.
"But it was a special moment and it was unscripted, and like I said, I was unaware of it. The way the fans treated me, these are fans from all different teams, and fans have always been respectful of me my entire career, both at home and on the road. It was great for them to have that kind of reaction, especially in an All-Star Game."
Here's a sampling of what some his teammates and opposing players thought about playing with or against Jeter in his 14th and final All-Star Game.
From the AL
White Sox shortstop Ramirez on replacing Jeter in the game: "I wasn't expecting it, but the manager came up to me and asked me to go into the game in the fourth inning. It's such a great honor to have that moment with a legend of American baseball. I'm really proud to have had that moment. I was really nervous, because I'm replacing a person who is a superstar and has spent all of his life in baseball. For me, it was an honor. I took it as a sign of respect."
Farrell on how the decision was made to pull Jeter out: "It went back about a week ago. In talking with Joe Torre and others, they just kind of got my thoughts on how we looked to highlight Derek when he came out of the game, where he might hit in the lineup. We tried to get at least two at-bats for him. Pick either the fourth or the fifth inning when we went on the field for defense to highlight his replacement. You know what? He has a flare for the dramatic. As we know, he had two base hits and scored the first run. It worked out pretty well."
Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler: "It was funny to see him. The second round of applause, he wanted to play. He wasn't comfortable standing out there. Other than that, he did what he always does. He drives the ball to right field. He gets himself into position. He's a good player. Right off the bat, the first hitter of the game, he makes a diving play."
White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu: "It's an incredible moment, but it's also a difficult moment to see his last All-Star Game, his last time coming off the field. But for me, for all of us in the dugout, it's a proud moment, a proud moment to share with him. Understanding what his career has been, what he has meant to the game of baseball, I have to thank God for giving me that moment with him, such a legend."
Tigers right-hander Max Scherzer: "It's just the icing on the cake. The All-Star Game is such a huge event and such a special moment for all of us. I had the opportunity last year to be a part of Mariano Rivera's last All-Star Game, and it was a special moment. It was the same with this year. Saying farewell to Derek is something that we'll all remember as well."
Angels left fielder and All-Star Game MVP Mike Trout on what he said to Jeter: "I can't even remember, it's been a whole blur these past couple of days just being a part of this moment. It's very special to me and my family."
Orioles center fielder Adam Jones: "It's sad to see him in his last All-Star Game. It's sad to see him go, that he's not going to be around in 2015. But the 20 years he gave baseball were unbelievable."
From the NL
NL manager Mike Matheny on the way the crowd reacted: "Yeah, it was the right thing. I think the people here in Minneapolis and the fans from all over the world that came here showed the kind of respect that he deserves. And once again, I can't think of many people who have taken the opportunity and the platform that Derek has and has done as much with it as what he's done. And the guys on our side have the utmost respect for him and would like to have been standing out there for a little while longer. I think Derek was the one that was uncomfortable with it. But everybody else knew that as long as we stood there and applauded him, it was right."
Phillies second baseman Chase Utley: "He deserves that if not more for all he has done for the game of baseball. He's going to be missed next year."
Marlins right fielder Giancarlo Stanton: "He stayed inside the ball just like he's done for 20-something years and he got that double, just classic Jeter. He deserves everything we did and more. His career stands for itself. It's the least we could do for him. It's unbelievable. There won't be another player like him forever, if not for 50-something years"
D-backs catcher Miguel Montero: "It was great to be in the last one Jeter played in. That was something special. It was awesome. It was an unforgettable experience. I can tell my kids, and they actually were in the stadium when daddy played against Jeter in his last All-Star Game."
Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy on being behind the plate for Jeter's first at-bat: "It was pretty awesome. I think that having a guy like Derek Jeter come up in that situation, it definitely was an honor for me to be a part of and neat to see. You kind of appreciate what it means to be a guy like that, who has played as long as he has and been successful as long as he has. He plays the game the right way and has always been a clean, hard-working, hard-playing guy, and I think everyone appreciates that."
Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki on the big ovation: "I was trying to take it all in, a special moment, something I will remember forever. It was cool. You really can't put it into words, but it was awesome out there. It's Derek Jeter, the face of baseball. Hall of Famer, great guy on top of everything he does well on the field. I expected he'd get a special ovation."
Reds third baseman Todd Frazier: "That was cool. That was awesome. I liked the Bob Sheppard announcement: 'Now batting, No. 2…' I used to mimic him all the time. They did it up right. I was happy for him. He got two hits, unfortunately for the National League. He's a great athlete. He's a Hall of Famer. I'm very happy for the sendoff he had."
Barry M. Bloom is national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.