Wonderfully scripted All-Star moment

There was no holding back those goosebumps Tuesday night, by the way, whatever you thought of Wainwright's role in helping Jeter fill up the box score. Not when you had a man walking toward home plate to lead off the bottom of the first inning -- and found himself unable to step into the box and get this game moving, no matter how hard he tried.

That just wasn't possible -- seeing as how the starting pitcher (Wainwright) was standing behind the mound, without his glove, applauding. And the catcher ( Jonathan Lucroy) was refusing to get down in his crouch. And every defender standing behind them was too busy taking in the moment to actually play baseball.

"Adam had his glove on the mound," Jeter said. "I tried to tell him to pick it up, let's go. But he took a moment and let the fans give me an ovation, which I will always remember."

By the end of this night, Wainwright would somehow become a villain in some people's eyes, for not pretending this duel was happening on Oct. 15, not July 15. But he understood exactly what was happening as Jeter strode toward home plate -- and he was going to do his part to let it resonate for as long as possible.

"I just wanted him to enjoy it," Wainwright said. "I thought that was his moment, and I wanted to stay as far away from it as possible. I thought all the attention should be on him, and ... I didn't even want to get near that mound. I put my glove up and backed as far back as I could, almost to second base. I was saying, 'Dude, I'm not going anywhere until this ovation starts to die down.'"

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is just what he should have done. Now exactly what happened after that, between these two men, is something we may never fully know. But even if Wainwright was in fact making sure Jeter got a pitch he could put a Jeter-esque swing on in that first inning, one competitor who was not offended was Jeter himself.

"If he grooved it, thank you," Jeter said. "You still have to hit it. I appreciate it if that's what he did. Thank you."

It was only the third extra-base hit of Jeter's otherwise-illustrious All-Star career -- and his first since a 2001 home run off Jon Lieber. And you may have noticed that in this, his final season, he hasn't been what you'd call an extra-base-hit machine. He'd doubled precisely once, in fact, in his previous 102 plate appearances coming into this game.

But he wasn't giving back this one. And he seemed just as happy with his third-inning bloop single into the Bermuda Triangle in short right field, off the Reds' Alfredo Simon, who told earwitnesses later he was definitely trying to get the guy out.

It was Jeter's 13th hit in 27 All-Star at-bats through the years. And that, if you're calculating along at home, works out to a .481 batting average over 14 All-Star games -- the second-highest average in the history of this event, trailing only Charlie Gehringer (10-for-20, .500) among players who got at least 15 All-Star at-bats.

Asked, given all that, if he was sure he didn't have a few seasons left in him, Jeter laughed.

"I told you guys before," he said. "I'm not retiring at the end of the year because I don't think I can play. It's just, the time is right."

In a couple of months, he'll go trotting off the field forever. But on this night, we got a sneak preview, via his opening farewell in the top of the fourth inning.

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