When I saw Mariano Rivera warm up in the seventh inning of last night’s All-Star Game, I couldn’t believe it. I kept thinking: “how could Jim Leyland put a man with 638 saves in his Hall of Fame career in for the eighth? Why with a three-run lead would you play it so safe? I know he wanted to make sure Rivera pitched, but the man deserved the ninth!”
I was almost upset that this would become one of those wacky trivia questions in 20 years. “Who recorded a save in Mo’s final All-Star Game?” But then I thought about it. And it all made sense.
Being 24-years-old and a spoiled Yankee fan (having seen five World Championships in my life) I realized that I was seeing Rivera at age 43 in 2013 the same way I saw him when he was 26 in 1996 – as a setup man. The more I thought about this, the more I kind of liked it. It was as a setup man that Rivera really established himself, and it was how he introduced all of us to himself and his greatness.
As the “Core Four” dwindled down to two, and th...