Found July 17, 2013 on
Forget home-field advantage in the World Series. The 2013 All-Star Game was about one thing: Mariano Rivera.
Rivera tips his cap to the crowd at Citi Field.
In that sense, the script was beautifully written.
A.L. manager Jim Leyland took some authorial license and called on Rivera in the 8th – admittedly to “get out of there alive” – but as far as endings go, this one was storybook.
Rivera, of course, still has the second-half ahead of him. But if the Yankees don’t surge down the stretch and reach October – a totally realistic possibility – then last night was the last time we’ll see the Greatest Closer of All Time on the grand stage.
What a stage it was.
As Rivera ran onto the field for the 13th time at an All-Star Game, something unusual – indeed, something theatrical – happened. Except this was real: the players stayed in their dugouts. The diamond, kindled and roused all night long by the game’s greatest players, was empty. But the lights shined bright. The audience stood. For the evening’s lead act, accompanied as always by Metallica’s Enter Sandman, had entered stage right.
It didn’t matter that it was the 8th inning, and not the customary 9th. It wouldn’t have mattered if it was the top of the first. The scenario was peripheral to the moment. With The Great Mariano in the national spotlight for possibly the final time, nothing else mattered.
That’s why the National League All-Stars, trailing 3-0 and on the brink of defeat, rose to their dugout’s top step and cheered. That’s why the fans at Citi Field, the majority of whom would rather swallow nails than applaud a Yankee, came to their feet and did the same. And that’s why Joe Buck and Tim McCarver, for maybe the first time ever, didn’t say a word.
When Rivera reached the mound, he almost looked overwhelmed. Afterward, he would admit to being on the verge of tears. Imagine that: a man who has pitched in the 9th inning of seven World Series, who has dulled the sharpest teeth of pressure, undone by a smiling moment.
That’s Mariano Rivera, for you. His heart is bigger than the Home Run Apple at Citi Field. He loves indiscriminately. He thanks endlessly. To see his own way reciprocated by 45,186 people – and 70 of the game’s brightest players – struck a chord in him that many have never heard before.
He has never been about himself. In fact, baseball’s most beloved star resists personal attention. He shies away from it. When asked about his own achievements, Rivera has always first thanked the Lord and then credited his teammates. Baseball is a team sport, and he treats it as such.
But he knows this is his final lap. He is cognizant of the fact that many of the things he does this year he will do for the final time. So he has taken a step back. He has opened himself up, the way left-handed batters do when facing his cuarter. Against his own disposition, Rivera has welcomed the spotlight.
So last night, with all eyes on number 42, he broke from his normal routine and indulged for a moment. Atop the mound, Rivera spun around to take everything in, and like a king from a castle balcony, doffed his cap to the adoring fans and players. It was quite the climax to an unforgettable Broadway show.
A minute later, the players rejoined him on the field and Mariano went to work. He was there, after all, to get outs. And that’s exactly what he did. With just 16 pitches, the ever-economical Rivera retired the side in order, throwing exclusively the one pitch he has built his career on.
In the end, maybe Leyland made the best decision without knowing it. For by bringing on Rivera in the 8th, Leyland gave him the opportunity to return to the dugout and share the moment with the men he loves most: his teammates. He is so honored to play alongside them, Mariano will say, almost unaware that the honor is theirs.
And as any good show writer knows, the climax is never the final scene.
BEST OF MAXIM
Baseball has been honoring Mariano Rivera all year long after the player most regard as the greatest closer of all time announced that this year would be his last. The lovefest continued at Tuesday night’s All-Star Game.
Rivera was called on for the eighth inning, and Citi Field pumped the usual strains of his entrance music, “Enter Sandman,” as he ran in from the bullpen....
Widely acclaimed as the greatest reliever in baseball history, Mariano Rivera of the New York Yankees has been making a farewell tour in his last season before his announced retirement.
''I enjoy every bit of it,'' he said Monday during All-Star festivities at Citi Field.
With the 43-year-old closer set to pitch in his final All-Star game Tuesday night, a look at...
It’s a good thing Mariano Rivera was selected to play in the All-Star Game, because his appearance provided the only memorable moment in this season’s mid-summer classic. Taking the mound to start the bottom of the eighth inning, the New York Yankees‘ closer had the field all to himself–literally. As the sold-out Citi Field crowd [...]
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The great ones get the stage to themselves.
Mariano Rivera was held in the bullpen out in right-center field until Neil Diamond had sung the final words of ''Sweet Caroline'' in the middle of the eighth inning during Tuesday night's All-Star game.
And then the opening notes of Metallica's ''Enter Sandman'' - his Yankee Stadium theme song...
They say a photo is worth a thousand words. If that's the case, then enjoy several snapshots of Mariano Rivera's final MLB All-Star Game appearance.
Mariano Rivera stands alone as his AL teammates applaud
in front of their dugout (photo courtesy of New York Daily News).
During Tuesday night’s All-Star Game, fans across baseball experienced one of the classic moments this game has to offer.
Once again, Major League Baseball got it right.
When the bottom of the eighth inning rolled around...
Does it count or is it an exhibition? There was a time that the romance of baseball and the Midsummer Classic was enough for all of us. Whichever league your favorite team played in, you rooted for. I’ve always pulled for the AL because of the Yankees, even though I hate the DH. Major League Baseball didn’t think that was good enough motivation to get these teams to be competitive...
It wasn’t the shootouts that we’ve seen in years past but tonight’s All-Star Game was certainly a memorable one as the American League shout out the National League 3-0 from Citi Field in New York City. Chicago White Sox pitcher Chris Sale picked up the win as he helped AL limit the senior circuit to [...]
Mariano Rivera reported for work an inning early, and walked off to a fitting tribute.
Summoned in the eighth to make sure he would pitch in his final All-Star game, the New York Yankees' indomitable closer tossed a perfect inning and soaked up a pair of standing ovations while helping the American League to a 3-0 victory over the National League on Tuesday night at Citi Field...
NEW YORK (AP) -- Mariano Rivera reported for work an inning early, and walked off to a fitting tribute.
Summoned in the eighth to make sure he would pitch in his final All-Star game, the New York Yankees' indomitable closer tossed a perfect inning and soaked up a pair of standing ovations while helping the American League to a 3-0 victory over the National League on Tuesday...
Jason Kipnis was about to leave the American League dugout and jog out to second base when he felt a tug on his jersey.
"I didn't know what they were doing, because I didn't see anything happening," a smiling Kipnis recalled later. "Then you hear the music come on, and I was like, 'All right. That explains it.'"
Kipnis was only 8 years old when...
The Major League Baseball All-Star game's television rating is up slightly from last year's record low.
The American League's 3-0 victory Tuesday night on Fox earned a 6.9 rating and 12 share, up from a 6.8/12 in 2012.
Played at the Mets' Citi Field, the game's viewership got a boost from its trip to the big market of New York. The 11.3 rating there was up 16...
Well, Allen Craig will be able to tell his grandkids that he got to face Mariano Rivera in the final All-Star Game for the game's greatest closer. Craig made solid connection, too, lining out to left to lead off the eighth inning.
Right fielder and eight-time All-Star Carlos Beltran had one of the National League's three hits. His ground ball single off Felix Hernandez in...
Last night was a memorable All-Star Game to say the least. The night began with Matt Harvey, the 24 year old, Connecticut native and NY Mets budding superstar having a scoreless two-inning outing to kick off the game on his home turf. After a couple runs knocked in by the AL, the NL was left without the jumpstart they were in desperate need of, acquiring just 3 hits all night.
Wow, what a night the All Star game was. The atmosphere of New York, the star players in the spotlight, and Mariano Rivera making one last trek to the hill in the eighth while the stadium blasted Enter Sandman all made this a game to remember.
And, with a 3-0 triumph by the American League, the Seattle Mariners will have home field advantage in the World Series (I kid...