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Baseball All-Stars congregate as pitchers dominate

Published on NewsOK Modified: July 14, 2014 at 11:00 pm •  Published: July 14, 2014
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In addition to pitchers, the spotlight will be on New York Yankees captain Derek Jeter. The shortstop, who turned 40 last month, is playing his final season and was selected for his 14th All-Star game.

Yankees closer Mariano Rivera got an emotional sendoff last year, the All-Stars giving him a solo bow. When Rivera entered in the eighth inning all other players left him the field to himself.

Cal Ripken Jr. was given a tribute at the start of the 2001 game at Seattle's Safeco Field when Alex Rodriguez told Ripken just before the first pitch to switch positions and move from third base to shortstop, where the Baltimore star spent most of his career. The 40-year-old Ripken then homered in the third inning.

And two years ago, Atlanta's Chipper Jones was feted with a standing ovation at Kauffman Stadium when he pinch hit in the sixth inning and singled.

What will Jeter's All-Star finale be like?

"I don't go into things with expectations," he said. "I'm looking forward to playing the game. I've pretty much stopped it right there."

The game is being played in Minneapolis for the third time, following the NL's 6-5 win at Metropolitan Stadium in 1965 and a dull 6-1 NL victory indoors at the Metrodome in 1985.

Oakland, a big league-best 59-36 at the break, has seven All-Stars for the first time since 1975. It got another win on Monday night when Yoenis Cespedes beat Cincinnati's Todd Frazier 9-1 in the final round to become the first repeat champion of the Home Run Derby since Ken Griffey Jr. in 1998 and '99.

The Athletics have some incentive for an AL victory in the All-Star game; since 2003, the winner's league gets to start the World Series at home, and 23 of the last 28 titles were won by teams scheduled to host four of a possible seven games.

"I don't think you can ever underestimate the home-field advantage in a postseason," said AL manager John Farrell, who led Boston to a six-game win over St. Louis last year. "To have that final game potentially in your home ballpark, that goes a long way to affecting the outcome."