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Derek Jeter’s farewell tour off to ‘odd’ start thanks to Astros (photos/video)

In a scene that will be replayed again and again and again as Derek Jeter puts an exclamation point on his storied and successful career at season’s end with his announced retirement, the Houston Astros paid tribute to the New York Yankees captain during a pregame ceremony, during which Jeter was honored and presented with “retirement” gifts.

The Astros presented with a set of golf clubs which includes golf lessons from famed coach Butch Harmon, a Stetson cowboy hat and a pair custom No. 2 Yankee cowboy boots.

Fancy. Obviously, the gifts that will be bestowed upon Jeter during his farewell tour are given with a deliberate sense of whimsy, as odds are Jeter owns a pretty nice set of golf clubs already and there’s no chance in hell that he’ll ever don that cowboy hat or strap on those boots. Maybe he’ll donate them to charity or something.

Now, to the “odd” part. As Jeter was stepping into the batter’s box, Astros manager Bo Porter stepped out of the dugout and led Astros players and the fans inside Minute Maid Park in a standing ovation (video here) for the shortstop.

“It was nice that they took the time to honor me, and it kind of caught me off guard when the Astros guys came out my first at bat,” Jeter said after the game, a 4-2 loss, via ESPN.com. “It’s kind of odd, the second game of the season. So that one caught me off guard. It was much appreciated.”

Jeter presumably is referring to the timing of the ovation rather than the ovation itself: The second game of a three-game series during the first inning following a pregame ceremony.

Jeter, a player notoriously rigid in his dedication to routines, simply will have to get used to these kind of sideshows as the season progresses. In every city the Yankees visit this season, each team can’t wait for a crack at some kind of pregame ceremony where silly gifts are given to the retiring legend.  Perhaps Jeter is second-guessing his decision to announce his impending retirement before the season began instead of just announcing it when it’s all said and done. Then again, Jeter, known as a class act, is doing this just as much for the fans than he is doing it for himself. Perhaps even more.

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