Mariano Rivera won the MVP award at Tuesday night’s All-Star Game — a no-brainer for fans and participants in baseball’s iconic game. Rivera pitched a flawless eighth inning, helping the American League win 3-0.
The Yankees closer is set to retire at the end of this year, making his final All-Star Game a perfect sendoff. And Rivera didn’t disappoint. AL manager Jim Leyland put him in for the eighth inning, allowing Rivera a 1-2-3.
But before that, Rivera walked onto the field before the rest of the American League team as the familiar “Enter Sandman” played through the speakers of the New York Mets’ stadium.
Rivera reached the mound and tipped his cap as the crowd and both dugouts gave him a standing ovation. Other relievers then came onto the warning track to show their appreciation for Mariano Rivera. He stated later, “Nothing is better than this. I appreciate all of it. From the fans. From the peers.”
And Mariano Rivera has certainly won his respect from both. He continued his streak during his ninth All-Star Game, leaving Tuesday night’s with a combined 0.0 ERA. The only run allowed was an unearned one in 2000.
And Rivera was also the night’s MVP. Chicago White Sox left-hander Chris Sale explained, “There was no other MVP in this stadium than Rivera.”
Rivera also helped end a three-game National League winning streak, along with the night’s three scorers, Miguel Cabrera, Adam Jones, and Jason Kipnis. Leyland initially told Rivera he would be the closer in the ninth inning, as long as the AL had a big lead. If not, he’d be put in for the eighth.
Afterward, it was revealed that Mariano Rivera’s entrance was not orchestrated and the pitcher apparently didn’t know it would happen. Rather, the players wanted it that way, so Rivera could have his moment all on his own. For veteran players, Rivera’s entrance reminded them of the 2001 All-Star game, when Cal Ripken Jr. played shortstop during his final season.
Did you get to witness Mariano Rivera’s final All-Star Game?
[Image by Keith Allison via WIkimedia Commons]