Wonderfully scripted All-Star moment


MINNEAPOLIS -- They stood next to each other in the on-deck circle at 7:28 p.m., on a Tuesday evening that neither of them will ever forget.

Derek Jeter and Mike Trout. This was their night. This was their moment. This would be an evening when baseball's past, present and future were about to collide -- and plop directly into their laps.

But at 7:28 p.m., Central Daylight Time, neither of them could possibly have known the spectacle that was about to unfold at Target Field. So they stood there, watching Adam Wainwright throw his final warmup pitches, and began plotting out their own script for the first inning of the 85th All-Star Game.

"He told me he was going to get a hit," Trout told ESPN.com, more than three hours later. "Well, he didn't exactly tell me he was going to get a hit. He just said that if it was there, first pitch, he was going to be swinging."

Instead, shockingly, it would take Derek Jeter two pitches, not one, to slice a leadoff double into the right-field corner -- off an Adam Wainwright fastball that either was or wasn't grooved, pipe-shot or hand-delivered down the middle of the plate, depending on which conspiracy theory you buy into most.

But whatever. As Jeter pulled into second base and soaked in the cheers, Trout could only gaze and shake his head over his idol's never-ending ability to keep turning his life into a major motion picture.

And as this unreal scene unfolded before him, just one thought could possibly have popped into Trout's head. Yep. That one:

"I had to drive him in," he said.

Which Trout then did -- c'mon, of course he did -- by splattering an RBI triple off the right-field fence. To kick off a three-run first inning. And to jump-start the American League toward a 5-3 victory that would forever be remembered as the Jeter & Trout Show. Or was that the Trout & Jeter Show?

It was Jeter who would go 2-for-2, in three memorable innings, making him the oldest player ever to get two hits or more in any All-Star Game ever played.

It was Trout who would win an All-Star MVP award, by tripling in the first, doubling in the fifth and joining two luminaries named Ted Williams and Ken Griffey Jr. as the only men ever to get two extra-base hits in an All-Star Game before their 23rd birthday.

But by doing what they did, on the same stage, on the same night, they also sent us a message.

These are the gifts sports gives us -- when past meets present meets future, almost all in the same instant.

We get Jeter's can-you-believe-this All-Star farewell, mildly tainted as it may have been by Wainwright's groove-gate scandal, to remind us of why we spent this night celebrating one of the greatest shortstops who ever lived.

And we get to behold the burgeoning greatness of The Next Big Thing, with a Trout-ian performance that just whet our appetite for whatever it is this guy has planned for us for about the next 20 years.

And it happens exactly where nights like this are supposed to happen. In an All-Star Game that exists, when you get right down to it, not to decide home field in the last week of October, but to stage these sorts of shows. And to preview where this sport is going at the same time it's giving you goosebumps as you savor where it has been.

  • 1
  • |
  • 2
  • |
  • 3
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...