The 84th MLB All-Star game came and went with very few wow moments. The American League was trying to get back to the winning ways after losing three straight to the National League, including an 8-0 shutout last year. Prior the three straight losses, the AL had rattled off 13 straight victories. On Tuesday night the AL broke the streak as they returned the favor and shut out the NL 3-0.
One moment will live forever in the hearts and minds of those watching the game. With the AL up 3-0 in the eighth inning, New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera came in to the game to pitch. Even though the game was played at Citi Field, the home of the New York Mets, fans knew what was happening. Rivera came in from the bullpen and nobody was on the field.
Teammates stayed in the dugout so he could stand there alone on the mound while the whole baseball world watched. The greatest closer the game has ever known was about to pitch in his 13th and final All-Star game. Fans along with the players gave Rivera a standing ovation. The all-time leader in saves had earned the respect of everyone in the stadium. Chances are really good that, unless it’s a Yankees fan, that Rivera has made everyone in the stadium mad at some point in time as he closed the door on their favorite team.
Rivera didn’t get the save because he pitched the eighth inning and Joe Nathan of the Texas Rangers pitched the ninth, but he did steal the show. Rivera was named the All-Star MVP and rightfully so. Nobody else in the game had done anything remotely close to deserve winning. With the MVP win, Rivera becomes the first relief pitcher to ever win the MVP and the first pitcher to win the honors since Pedro Martinez did it in 1999. With the win, the American League will have home-field advantage in the World Series. For now, though, let’s savor the efforts and the moment that one pitcher created for the entire baseball universe. Rivera may not be the greatest pitcher of all time, but he’s pretty darn close.