The AL snapped a two-game losing streak to the NL tonight with a 3-0 win in the 2013 MLB All-Star Game at Citi field. This result, however, was rightfully overshadowed by one player making the final All-Star appearance of his illustrious career.
That player is New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera.
Not much else can be said about Rivera. He’s simply the best closer to ever play the game by a long shot. His consistency and dominance is unparalleled. Since 1997, he has been one of the best, if not the best closer year in and year out.
While players like Eric Gagne, Billy Wagner and Brian Wilson have come and gone, Rivera has remained consistently dominant in amassing 638 saves, the most in MLB history. Now at 43, Rivera has successfully recovered from a torn ACL to post 30 saves before the All-Star Game. Simply remarkable.
Everyone present at the All-Star game was aware of the great moment they were living in witnessing Rivera’s final All-Star game. During player introductions, Rivera got the loudest cheers of any player not named David Wright, despite the fact that he has always played for the cross-town rival Yankees.
Then, in the eight inning, the best moment of the game came. Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” blasted through the speakers as Rivera made the slow trot from the bullpen to the mound. He received a long standing ovation from the crowd and players in one of the greatest moments in All-Star game history.
As remarkable as Rivera has been on the field, he remains the classiest player in all of baseball off of it.
Think about it. Unlike most superstars, you have never heard anyone criticize Rivera for anything. That is because nothing negative can be said of him. He has dedicated much of his time to bettering the lives of those in his native Panama and is tremendously humble.
We could all learn a lot from Rivera, and need to appreciate the last season of his career, just as the fans and players at Citi field did tonight.