Jeter encourages Twins’ Dozier
Minnesota Twins second baseman Brian Dozier has been slumping for several weeks, and he knows it could cost him a spot on the American League all-star team.
However, the lifelong Derek Jeter fan might have received an even greater honor when the Twins were at Yankee Stadium a month ago.
Talking on the field with the retiring Yankees shortstop before a May 31 game, Dozier was stunned at how graciously Jeter treated him.
“We talked for a while,” Dozier recalled in advance of the Yankees visit to Target Field this weekend. “We were joking around about some stuff out there, and then all of a sudden, he says, ‘Doz, keep doing what you’re doing. It’s pretty impressive.’ ”
Dozier shook his head at the memory.
“To have a guy that I think is the best player ever and I grew up wanting to be like,” Dozier said, “for him to tell me, ‘That’s pretty impressive,’ was pretty cool. Nothing to do with me. Just to hear that from him, I enjoyed that.”
As soon as he returned to the visiting clubhouse, Dozier grabbed his cell phone and started to notify his loved ones.
“I told my parents right after that,” he said. “I couldn’t wait to tell my brother, too.”
Dozier, who wears No. 2 in Jeter’s honor and grew up idolizing him in tiny Fulton, Miss., is looking forward to Saturday’s pregame ceremony in which the Twins will honor the future hall of famer.
Dozier hopes to be part of the Twins’ contingent that will make a gift presentation similar to the one in which ex-Yankees closer Mariano Rivera was given a rocking chair made out of broken bats last July at Target Field.
“I know they had a couple ideas floating around,” Dozier said. “I had no input on the gift. Maybe I’ll get to do something at home plate with him.”
That, too, would be pretty impressive for a 27-year-old in his third full season in the majors.