Minneapolis, MN (Sports Network) - Derek Jeter fittingly led off the 2014 All- Star Game with a patented opposite-field double in what will prove to be the future Hall-of-Fame shortstop's 14th and final Midsummer Classic.
Shortly after Major League Baseball's poster boy for two decades running trotted into second base to the applause of the crowd at Target Field, his heir apparent, Mike Trout, stepped into the batter's box and delivered a line- drive triple off the wall in right field.
The notion of Jeter "passing the torch" to Trout seemed obvious in the moment, but really, Trout has been nudging Jeter off his pedestal since his meteoric rise two years ago.
The Angels slugger and Detroit's Miguel Cabrera have recently been battling for the unofficial title as the game's best player, but with all due respect to the two-time reigning AL MVP, the 22-year-old Trout has a better chance at sitting atop the baseball landscape for a long, long time.
The unprecedented production in his short career, coupled with a blue collar work ethic and unlimited potential has even Jeter becoming a fan.
"Mike has had a great few years at the Major League level. He's got a bright future ahead of him," Jeter said. "He's fun and exciting to watch."
On Tuesday, Trout continued his quest to reach that ceiling by becoming the second youngest All-Star Game MVP and the third AL player with a double and a triple in the game. His two-bagger in the fifth inning drove in the go-ahead run in the American League's 5-3 victory.
A terrific catch by Carlos Gomez along the warning track in the third prevented Trout from recording another extra-base hit, but a two-hit, two-RBI night was plenty enough to add more hardware to Trout's ever-growing trophy case.
Trout took a page out of Jeter's book by shining the spotlights elsewhere and making the night more about the Yankees shortstop.
"Growing up, watching him on TV...I set goals that if I ever got to the big leagues, that's how I want to play," Trout said of Jeter. "The way he carries himself on and off the field, the way he respects the game."
In the circle of life that is baseball, Trout is the beginning to Jeter's end, and every fan of the game is better off for it.