Halfway through his final season, Derek Jeter is being lauded by the players, fans and coaches of Major League Baseball. He has received such gifts as a cowboy boots (Astros), a lego mosaic of The Captain (Indians), Jeter's number two in subway tiles (Mets), Wrigley Field scoreboard squares (Cubs) and a pinstriped paddleboard (Angels).
This week's All-Star Game festivities took that respect to another level. The week started with the launch of an emotional Jordan Brand ad featuring the tagline, "RE2PECT." During the game itself, Jeter was given a standing ovation in his first at-bat as the American League's leadoff hitter, and he could barely may a play without Target Field going bonkers.
In the midst of all the Minneapolis chaos, Jeter still found time to be the serious player that has earned him 14 All-Star nods and five World Series rings. While Joe Buck navigated the A.L. locker room before the game, he addressed Jeter and former teammate Robinson Cano, now a Mariner, who were chatting in a corner. Jeter did not take kindly to Buck's Fox pregame spot.
Perhaps it was a joke as Jeter did it with a smile. Or maybe Jeter is so classy that even his disses are friendly. But if Jeter really did embarrass a broadcaster who has spoken so highly of him and captured his best moments over the past two decade, remember this is still business. The All-Star Game decides home-field advantage in the World Series, and for a guy like Jeter who thinks championship or bust, getting in the zone for the exhibition was necessary.
Regardless of his motivation, it wasn't a distraction for Jeter. The 40-year-old shortstop went 2-2 with a single, a double and a run scored. He also made a diving play on the first batter of the game, although Andrew McCutchen beat Jeter's throw for an infield single. The American League prevailed 5-3 and Jeter was likely in the MVP conversation for an award he won in 2000.
While it is unknown what occurred after the camera cut away, the scene did not seem to disrupt the broadcast or Buck's perception of Jeter.
"Jeter" was spoken 100 times on last night's Fox broadcast. Here's all of them in one video: http://t.co/1ktrHkZGZO
— Deadspin (@Deadspin) July 16, 2014
Jeter, a career .311 hitter, is batting .272 this season with two home runs and 25 RBI. The Yankees are 47-47, five games behind the A.L. East-leading Orioles.
-- Follow Jeffrey Eisenband on Twitter @JeffEisenband.