The ‘greatest closer of all time’, Mariano Rivera of the New York Yankees, entered in the 8th inning of last nights MLB All Star Game at Citi Field to a 2-minute standing ovation from the fans, but most notably his peers as well. As he jogged from the bullpen to the mound, players from each team stood on the top of the dugout and applauded to show their respects.
At first, I was very confused as to why AL All Star manager Jim Leyland decided to use ‘MO’ in the 8th, and not for a save situation in the 9th. Leyland said that he brought Rivera in the 8th to assure the fact he would have a chance to pitch. With the AL leading 3-0 in the 8th, Leyland thought if he brought in a different pitcher and they blew the lead, Rivera would not have the chance to pitch in his final All Star Game. Although Leyland was playing it on the safe side, all Yankee fans would have rather seen him used in the 9th and record the final out.
As things worked out, Rivera went on to win the 2013 MLB All Star Game MVP award. Rivera retired the side 1-2-3, and became the first pitcher since Pedro Martinez in 1999 to win the MVP award, and the first Yankee since Derek Jeter took the honor in 2000. Rivera also became the first relief pitcher since 1975 to win the award, when New York Mets relief pitcher Jon Matlack was named co-MVP.
Justin Lerner: PureSportsNY