Tyler Clippard may face old teammate Derek Jeter at the All-Star Game


Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

At some point in the All-Star Game on Tuesday night, Tyler Clippard may find himself staring at home plate and looking at Derek Jeter. It has happened before, and Clippard can recall what happened in exact detail. Clippard cannot remember the complete details of many at-bats in his career. His meeting with at Nationals Park in 2012 is one of them.

“It was first and second, one out,” Clippard said back in spring training, on the day Jeter announced he would retire after this season. “I fell behind him 2-0 and I threw a changeup 2-0, and I thought the umpire called it a ball, but he called it a strike. So in my mind, it was 3-0 and the catcher called a changeup. And I’m like, ‘OK. Jeter. I mean, why not.’ So I threw a 3-0 changeup and I think it was a called strike. And I’m like, ‘OK. 3-1.’ And I threw a fastball a little up in the zone and he swung and missed at it. And he started walking back to the dugout and I’m like, ‘OK, I struck him out! What the heck happened there?’ So that’s why I wanted to talk to him about it. He was like, ‘I don’t even remember.’ But that was one of the few times I didn’t hear the umpire call a strike, so I didn’t know the count. I just threw the pitch anyway, and it worked out.”

The 2014 all-star game has become very much about Jeter. This will be last Midsummer Classic. Clippard met Jeter at the start of his career, when Clippard had just been drafted by the Yankees and Jeter was in his prime.

“I was in the Yankees organization, probably Gulf Coast League or rookie ball and at the complex,” Clippard said. “And just when I first met him, he was probably walking by and made eye contact with me and was like, ‘Hey man, nice to meet you. I’m Derek.’ ‘Yeah, I know. Tyler. Nice to meet you.’ And he talked to me for, it was probably like 30 seconds, but it seemed like 10 minutes. And that’s kind of what he does with everyone, and I think that’s kind of a special … it’s something I’ll never forget. And he just kind of leaves his trail behind everywhere he goes. I don’t know if he does it on purpose or not, but it’s a beautiful thing.”

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Adam Kilgore covers the Nationals for The Washington Post.
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Adam Kilgore · July 14

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