Farewell to Jeter: Dugout tour edition
* After Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter exited his 14th and final all-star game Tuesday night, the future Hall of Famer walked the length of the dugout and received hugs all around before emerging for a curtain call at Target Field. .... 2014 Canadians drafted … Canadians in the Minors … Canadians in College 2015 Canadian draft list Letters of Intent
By Bob Elliott
MINNEAPOLIS -- Jeff Samardzija was in the National League clubhouse before the 85th all-star game at Target Field Tuesday night.
And when the game began he was in the AL dugout.
Because Samardzija was elected to the all-star team by winning the NL player’s vote, he could not pitch for the AL.
Since he now pitches for the Oakland A’s, he was not allowed to pitch for the NL.
And so he mingled.
“I was all over the place, I played it low key, but I was making sure I was getting plenty of lovin’ from everyone,” said Samardzija. “Everyone was as confused as I was, it had never happened before.
He was in the proper dugout in the fourth when New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter made his exit and then went the length of the dugout hugging players after his final all-star game appearance.
“He’d seen me play football at Notre Dame and told me that his mother had wanted him to go there,” said Samardzija, who received a hug from Jeter. “He’s head and shoulders above everybody, but talking to him was like talking to a buddy.
“Ultimately, I was kind of lucky because I got to meet two teams of all-stars, which I don’t think many people get to do.”
Every player on both the NL and AL squads wore caps with logos of their teams. Samardzija’s cap read All-Star Game. Samardzija threw a bullpen before the game in preparation for his start Friday against the Baltimore Orioles in Oakland's first game following the break.
His new team, the A’s, do some unusual things in the dugout, including players forming a gauntlet as a home run hitter enters the dugout and runs underneath outstretched arms.
The Jeter walk was more like a receiving line ... more presidential after eight years in office as he said goodbye to his staff.
The game was delayed roughly three minutes as Jeter went the length of the bench and was pushed out of the dugout to take a curtain call.
“He smells so good,” Brandon Moss said.
Cleveland manager Tito Francona gave Jeter a hug and whispered in Jeter’s ear. What did he tell the future Hall of Famer?
“Ah ...” said Francona, “You know what. I’d rather keep that private. That’s the way he likes it.”
Houston Astros infielder Jose Altuve, all 5-foot-6 of him, said he “couldn’t stop applauding,” until it was time for the hug from Jeter.
Boston Red Sox Jon Lester was in the dugout and was hugged by Jeter as the Boston-Yankee rivalry hit a different level, and likely few in Back Bay or the Bronx cared.
“Guys appreciate what he’s done, how he’s gone about it, it’s awesome,” Lester said. “It’s an honor to be a part of it and get to see it firsthand.”
The Red Sox host the Yankees the final three games of the regular season at Fenway Park Sept. 26-28.
Jeter has the ability to turn big leaguers into giddy autograph hunters. Kansas City Royals closer Greg Holland approached Jeter to sign, seeking a baseball on Monday. Salvador Perez handed a clubhouse attendant a bat, a ball and a jersey for Jeter to sign. Alex Gordon didn’t ask. He had Jeter sign a jersey earlier in the season and he'll frame it to hang beside those of George Brett, Nolan Ryan, Mike Schmidt and Ken Griffey, according to the Kansas City Star.
Jeter has never won an MVP, a batting title, led the league in homers or RBIs and was never considered the best defensive shortstop of his time.
Nope, all No. 2 ever did was compete with a desire to be No. 1 and win.
As Yankee manager Joe Girardi said earlier this season: “his life ... is like a movie.”
And Tuesday, the Minnesota Twins, their Minnesota nice fans and Jeter’s other all-stars were part of a memorable scene as another one of Jeter’s teams went out and won.