NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. – Although his bid for his first All-Star Game Most Valuable Player award fell short on Tuesday night, New Rochelle baseball fans tipped their hats to Derek Jeter after his two-hit showing in his final Midsummer Classic.
The Yankees' captain went two-for-two with a run scored leading off for the American League as they topped the National League 5-3 to earn home field advantage in the World Series this October.
Jeter was the center of attention as he played in his 14th and final All-Star Game, earning several standing ovations from the crowd and fellow players. They included a third inning send-off that momentarily halted the game as he exited and Alexi Ramirez replaced him in the field.
“I never watch the All-Star Game, but with it being Jeter’s last one, I couldn’t wait to see what they did to honor him,” longtime Yankee fan Mark Columbano said in New Rochelle. “I got chills when he gave his curtain call and just about lost it when he hit that double.”
It wasn’t just on the field and in the clubhouse that Jeter was celebrated this year. As part of their #RE2PECT marketing campaign, the Jordan Brand put together a video of fans, celebrities, politicians and fellow athletes tipping their hats to honor the 40-year-old’s distinguished 19-year career.
“I’m a diehard Mets fan, but it’s impossible not to respect and enjoy watching (Jeter) play the game if you’re a fan of baseball,” said Bryan Fanburg, sporting a David Wright t-shirt at Flowers Park. “It’s not often you see someone with his ability stay in one city for his entire career.”
When Jeter – who gave an impassioned speech to his teammates before the game – retires at the conclusion of this season, it will mark the end of a Yankees era that produced five championships for the Bronx Bombers.
“I grew up with (Paul) O’Neil, Bernie (Williams), Mariano Rivera and Jeter leading the way. These new teams don’t have the same feel as those did,” said 28-year-old Joe Chen of New Rochelle. “I think it will be weird to not have any of those guys, but it’s time to build again with younger guys, stop wasting money on free agents and make another run.”
Jeter and the Yankees return to the field on Friday as they wrap up the All-Star Break and kick off a 10-game home stand against the Cincinnati Reds.