07/11/05 7:29 PM ET
All-Star Game goes on without Jeter
Captain not at Midsummer Classic for second time since '97
By Mark Feinsand / MLB.com
He leads the American League with 69 runs scored, is hitting .308, ranks among the league leaders with a .393 on-base percentage and is the AL's reigning Gold Glove winner at shortstop.
So why isn't Derek Jeter at the All-Star Game?
That's a question that was on everybody's mind on Monday, as players from both leagues met the media during All-Star Monday.
"He's the face of baseball. If you're trying to promote the game in a positive way, he's supposed to be here," said Gary Sheffield. "He has All-Star numbers. What's happened to this game when Derek Jeter isn't here?"
Sheffield also called it a "black eye" to the sport to have an All-Star Game without Jeter, whose .700 career batting average in the Midsummer Classic is a record.
Jeter finished second to Baltimore's Miguel Tejada in the fan voting for the starters, then came in second to Chicago's Scott Podsednik in the Ameriquest 2005 All-Star Final Vote.
The players elected Texas' Michael Young to serve as the backup shortstop on the team, leaving Jeter off the team for just the second time since 1997. Young said he wasn't insulted that people want to see Jeter in the game, but made no apologies for occupying the second shortstop spot.
"I don't take it as a slap to me. I'm a huge fan of Derek's; he's an incredible player," Young said. "I have a ton of respect for him. He's a great guy. It's unfortunate, because Derek is very deserving."
Another one of Jeter's teammates was among the most outspoken when it came to their captain's absence from the festivities in Detroit.
"Wherever Derek is right now, he's probably enjoying himself," said Alex Rodriguez. "We miss him here, and I think the game misses him. That's how it goes. I wish he was here. If it was up to me, he'd be here every year."
But it wasn't only the Yankees' players that felt the game was missing something without Jeter. Even the rival Red Sox were surprised not to see Jeter on the AL squad, though they'll get to see him on Thursday when the Yanks and Sox kick off a four-game set at Fenway Park.
"He's on that list of the best players in the game," said Johnny Damon. "Derek finally gets to have three days off, so he may be happy, but the All-Star Game is definitely strange without Derek Jeter."
Mark Feinsand is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.