The 2014 All-Star Game was always going to be about one man. From the minute Derek Jeter announced his retirement, the All-Star Game was designed to be the big halfway point of his farewell tour. The only question was how big of a sendoff Jeter would provide in his last Midsummer Classic on July 15, and it turned out to be fairly big -- although it could have been bigger -- in the American League's 5-3 win.
The standard for final All-Star Game appearances is that of Cal Ripken Jr. in 2001, when he had a home run and won MVP honors. Jeter didn't hit Adam Wainwright's first-inning pitch out of the park, but he did get a double and would shortly be brought home on Mike Trout's triple.
However, that hit later became a topic of controversy when Wainwright suggested he gave Jeter "a pipe shot" on the pitch. Chan Ho Park similarly took it easy on Ripken in 2001 when he hit his famous home run, in a final gift to the retiring legend. This gift wasn't quite as huge, but it did set up a three-run first inning capped off by Miguel Cabrera's home run.
The National League worked its way back into the game with a two-run second, before Jeter's last at-bat came in the third. This time around, he merely got a single and was left stranded, qualifying as his last action in an All-Star Game. When he was removed before the top of the fourth, he got his last standing ovation of the night -- but hardly his last of the season.
From the very first at-bat of the night, when Jeter dove to field an Andrew McCutchen grounder and came within an inch of throwing him out, the spectacle was all about the Yankee captain. However, Trout threatened that when he hit an RBI double that gave the American League the lead for good. While both Jeter and Trout had two hits, Trout's two RBI's landed him MVP honors in the end.
Ripken still holds the standard for All-Star Game goodbyes, despite how Jeter is the only player in the last 13 years to come close, in more ways than one. It might be the most impactful part of his farewell tour left, given how the Yankees are at .500 and may be too injury-riddled to give Jeter one last October sendoff.