Butterfield thrilled to be reunited with Jeter
Red Sox's third-base coach worked on fundamentals of game with shortstop
MINNEAPOLIS -- As if going to his first All-Star Game wasn't a big enough thrill for Red Sox third-base coach Brian Butterfield, consider who he got to be reunited with.
Long before Derek Jeter became a legendary figure, he toiled on the backfields with Butterfield, who hit him one fungo after another and peppered him on the fundamentals of the game.
Butterfield was a coach in the Yankees' farm system during Jeter's time in the Minors.
Monday marked the first time in more than a decade that Butterfield got to slap Jeter some grounders again.
"I hit him a couple yesterday. I was nervous," said Butterfield. "I didn't want to hit him a backspin one where it ends up eating him up. I was saying, 'Come on, come on, center this baby, give him a little top spin, give him the top of the hop.' It was unbelievable. It was fun though."
Jeter has long been complimentary of the tutelage he received from Butterfield. For Butterfield, it is a bit surreal being part of Jeter's last All-Star Game.
"Part of me wants to go and just hang around with him all day long, just to talk to him, but he's got an awful lot on his plate," Butterfield said. "Just watching yesterday during batting practice, all the people following him and all the cameras. I can't wait to see that first at-bat. I can't wait to see him take the field for his last All-Star Game. I know it's a great moment for him, but it's a great moment for a lot of other people, including a lot of other players in this room that have idolized him their entire lives. It's really special."
From their time together, Butterfield remembers how much Jeter's desire and work ethic played a role in the player he evolved into.
"I think early on, he learned how to become a good baseball player. He wanted to be a complete player," said Butterfield. "He runs the bases, he backs up the bases diligently, he does the effort-required thing in this game, other than being a great hitter and a great defender. Every little thing, the way he carries himself and the type of teammate he is, I think it stands out."