Only Yankees games made their way to the Dominican Republic, and Aybar grew up idolizing Jeter, who's playing in his final regular-season series at Angel Stadium before retiring after the 2014 campaign. And for the last seven years, Aybar has proudly worn the Yankees captain's number.
"He was the guy who motivated me, always," the Angels' switch-hitting shortstop said of Jeter.
"His style of play, the kind of person he is. He's a good person," Aybar added. "You never see him upset. He's the ultimate professional. And that's what people admire, when you're a professional and you're a good person and get along with other players."
The fans at Angel Stadium -- a lot of them Yankees fans -- greeted Jeter with a standing ovation before his first plate appearance on Monday, eventually breaking out some "DE-REK JE-TER" chants. Afterward, Jeter called it "probably one of the coolest things that's happened in my career, to be quite honest with you."
The Angels will honor Jeter with a special gift before Wednesday's series finale.
And Aybar still can't believe he's retiring.
"He can keep playing, too," Aybar said. "He's retiring because he decided to, but he can still play defense, still runs well. He's the same as before. But that's his decision. You can't do anything about it. I wish him the best."
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less