One second, he was out there, taking warmup flips from first baseman Miguel Cabrera. The next, he heard the crowd buzzing and turned to find Alexei Ramirez trotting out to short to ease him out of the All-Star amphitheater for the final time.
And what made that scene extra moving, Jeter said, was that he had no idea it was coming.
"It was a wonderful moment that I am always going to remember," Jeter said. "I appreciate John doing that for me. But it was a special moment, and it was unscripted. And like I said, I was unaware of it."
Every player on both teams froze in place and applauded. Sinatra sang "New York, New York" on the PA. The thunder rocked down from the seats for well more than a minute. Giancarlo Stanton, the next hitter, refused to go anywhere near the batter's box.
And as Jeter jogged off, waving his cap, the emotion swept through one player on that field in particular:
A 22-year-old Jeter fan named Mike Trout.
It was a moment that gave him "chills," Trout said. And "goosebumps." And a torrent of thoughts and feelings he was still trying to digest hours later.
"Just the emotions, everything going through your head," he said. "Seeing him running off, just thinking about, 'You're not going to see him play anymore.'"
This was the guy Mike Trout grew up watching, telling himself that "if I ever get the chance to get to the big leagues, that's how I want to play." And then there he was, on this field, as That Guy was trotting, almost literally, into the sunset. On a night when Trout was on the road to becoming the second-youngest All-Star MVP of all time (barely trailing the then-22-year-old Junior Griffey, 1992 edition). Who writes these scripts?
But two decades from now, Trout said, it won't be his first-inning RBI triple that he will remember about this night. And it won't be the double he chopped past Aramis Ramirez's glove in the fifth, to drive in what turned out to be the winning run.
And it may not even be his prize for winning the All-Star MVP award -- that new Corvette he'll be tooling in around the streets of Millville, New Jersey, when the offseason rolls around.
Nope, the memory, Trout said, "is just being part of something special, Jeter's last All-Star Game. It means a lot to me, watching him growing up and now being a part of it."
Jeter tried his best to lobby against the way-too-convenient plot line that this was the night when he passed the Face of Baseball torch to the Next Jeter, saying: "Let Mike be Mike. I don't think people have to necessarily appoint someone to a particular position."
But The Captain will have to lobby harder than that. And especially on this night. When a baseball game in Minnesota summed up, in three entertaining hours, not just what Derek Jeter has meant to this sport for all these years, but where Mike Trout is about to propel it.