Tuesday’s All-Star Game showed a trend that we have been seeing throughout the first half of the Major League Baseball season. Pitching dominated the All-Star Game, as it has for much of the season as whole. For Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, pitching in his final All-Star Game, a perfect night despite pitching in an inning foreign to him.
The American League defeated the National League by a score of 3-0 to earn the right to home field advantage in the World Series. Allowing only three hits, the pitching of the American Leaguers was especially baffling. Strikeouts seemingly were the end result of every at bat, and runs certainly were at a premium last night, despite the offensive talent on both rosters.
Mariano Rivera continued his farewell tour season with one last All-Star performance. He recorded the first hold of his All-Star game career, he had four saves previously.
His services were called for in the eighth inning, not his usual ninth, and when his music blared everyone was surprised. Metallica’s Enter Sandman blared through the speakers at Citi Field for about a minute before Rivera came out from the bullpen.
When he stepped out, the whole crowd seemed to realize the significance of the moment at hand. His AL teammates in the dugout looked more like fans than teammates, sitting back and cheering him on like any other baseball fan would rather than taking the field for the inning. The entire time Rivera warmed up the crowd cheered him on, as well as his teammates from the sidelines.
A pitcher perfect moment for Rivera and baseball, Mariano was taken aback by the warmth of his All-Star Game welcome. “When I got to the mound, I see both sides, both teams in the dugout, and it was amazing,” the closer said. “It almost made me cry, too. I was close. It was amazing, a scene that I will never forget.”
Following the touching moment his warm up provided, there was still a game to play. If Rivera was taken aback by the welcome he received, he didn’t show it once play was resumed. Taking just 16 pitches to shut down the NL batters 1-2-3, he successfully earned the hold and enabled his team to complete the shut out.
At 43 years old, Rivera is at the age where most players would already have hung up their glove, however Mariano just keeps on going. Playing in his 13th All-Star Game, he looks like he could very well keep going if he so desired. All-Star teammate and Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia agrees that Rivera could very well keep playing, saying “hey, I’m still not sold it’s his last year. He’s dealing.”
The last player to ever wear Jackie Robinson’s number 42 jersey, Rivera has been around the game for a long time. Playing in his 19th season, Rivera is still dominating the league. Already with 30 saves on the season, he stands a chance of setting a career high by the end of the season. His previous career high was 53 saves, which he set in 2004.
With 638 saves to his name, Mariano Rivera already owns the career record. His Yankees are in contention this year heading into the second half. It is beginning to look like the All-Star Game might not be the only pitcher perfect ending for Rivera by the end of his farewell season.
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Senior Sports Editor
The Guardian Express