MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Derek Jeter was an elite shortstop winning World Series championships not long after many of baseball's current greats were born.
With the captain of the New York Yankees set to retire after the season, Jeter's 14th All-Star game will be his last. His first one as a starter in 2000 was special, as was the 2008 version at Yankee Stadium. So don't expect him to declare his final appearance his favorite, or an experience he'll find himself savoring any more than usual.
"This is a game that I've truly always looked forward to. I've appreciate the time that I've had here. So it's kind of difficult to say that I'll try to enjoy it more," Jeter said on Monday amid a predictably large crowd of cameras and reporters during the media interview session for the American League players.
Though the Yankees have been hovering around the .500 mark, Jeter has said many times he's only focused on chasing another championship, not gathering farewell gifts or reflecting nostalgically on his exceptional career. That part has been left up to everyone else around the game.
Tampa Bay Rays pitcher David Price said Jeter's final presence was what excited him the most about this year's event.
"I know the All-Star game isn't about a certain player or a certain team, but I feel like it is. This is about Derek Jeter. And the National League guys, they understand that as well," Price said.
For Minnesota Twins closer Glen Perkins, Jeter has been one of those "guys you can tell your grandkids about" pitching to.
St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright, who'll start the All-Star game for the National League on Tuesday night at Target Field, will throw his first pitch to Jeter when the 40-year-old steps to the plate as the AL leadoff man.
"I'm very excited about it, just to say I faced the best," Wainwright said. "And he is undoubtedly one of the best to ever play his position."
To Jeter's left will be second baseman Robinson Cano, who left the Yankees in the offseason and signed with the Seattle Mariners.
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