FORT MYERS, Fla. – Finally a jeter that Boston can love.
Jeter Downs got his name from Derek Jeter, but he's one of the latest Red Sox after coming over from the Dodgers on Monday in blockbuster trading for Mookie Betts. The 21-year-old midfielder received an invitation to a major league for spring training, and while it is not expected to be included in the Red Sox's plans this season, it won't be long before he defeats his namesake's old team.
"[My mom] I just loved Jeter and how he was and how he played the game so she gave me the name, ”Downs said in Fenway South on Wednesday morning. "I loved him, the way he played, how he made the game and what he did, how he was respected by every team. It was pretty cool as a kid – I don't care which team you are [root for]It was just cool to see how a guy plays the game. "
Downs had only met Jeter last week, just days before he was sold to the Red Sox. He and his brother Jerry – a first baseman in the Red Sox organization – were out to train with former Yankee Raul Ibanez.
"We're in traffic and my brother sees this Range Rover pull up," said Downs. "He says," Oh my god, is that Jeter? " [Jerry] honk and I wave to him. So I wanted to train with Raul Ibanez, so I called Raul and said, "Yo, tell Jeter that the boy who waved to him is Jeter." Then he told him that and it was pretty cool that I met him , and now look. "
A few days later, the Marlins hosted an event at Topgolf and one of Down's friends came to Jeter for a few minutes.
"He got me on the phone with Jeter," said Downs. "[Jeter said] only that he was watching and something. Small nuances of baseball. … I've adored him all my life, so it was definitely something special to finally get to know him and talk to him a bit. "