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Save The Best For Last: All-Star Game To Be Remembered For Mariano Rivera's Farewell
Published July 17, 2013
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ENTER SANDMAN, ONE LAST TIME: White Sox P Chris Sale said of Rivera, "He stole the show. Watching him was probably the coolest sports experience I've ever had" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 7/17). Red Sox 2B Dustin Pedroia: "I had goose bumps the whole time and I'm sure a lot of people did" (BOSTON HERALD, 7/17). A's P Grant Balfour: "We were all playing for one guy. It's a team game, but we all want to see this guy go out on a high" (CSNNE.com, 7/17). Red Sox P Clay Buchholz: "I don't think anybody will forget it. It was a great moment for baseball" (BOSTON GLOBE, 7/17). In Toronto, Bob Elliott writes All-Star Games "can provide chills once in a while" (TORONTO SUN, 7/17). The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Daniel Barbarisi writes the "on-field adulation capped an All Star week that has been all about Rivera." He addressed "both his team and the crowd before the game started." In his final All-Star Game "before retiring, Rivera has gone from elite pitcher and future Hall of Famer to something of a baseball treasure -- a living legend" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 7/17).
ENJOYING THE MOMENT: YAHOO SPORTS' Jeff Passan writes Leyland giving Rivera the moment may have been "contrived," but the whole situation "could've been as phony as a street-vendor Rolex, and it would've mattered not a bit." Everyone involved "swore it was real, an impeccable bit of spontaneity, and there's no sense in questioning that because it felt real" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 7/17). ESPN N.Y.'s Jayson Stark wrote, "The emotion, the ovation, the memories will always feel real and special. No denying that." But there is "also no denying it was, frankly, kind of weird" (ESPNNY.com, 7/16). Meanwhile, CBSSPORTS.com's Jon Heyman wrote the game was "supposed to be a Mets night, the night of their season." Everything was "set to celebrate the Mets' gorgeous and (relatively) new stadium and their two mega stars -- the kid fireballer and the beloved primetime positional star." But it "turned out to be a Yankee's night." Heyman: "Such is life as a Met" (CBSSPORTS.com, 7/16).
TOM'S STILL TERRIFIC: Baseball HOFer Tom Seaver threw out the first pitch of the game to Mets 3B David Wright and the N.Y. TIMES' Kepner notes the Mets "handled Seaver just right -- he did not enter on a convertible, and there were no sappy tributes on the scoreboard." It was "just Seaver in an All-Star jersey, hamming it up on the mound for a moment and getting it there on the fly." There was "no contrived effort to make the night all about Seaver." Recent All-Star Games have "featured overwrought tributes to franchise icons by teams trying to replicate the magic of Ted Williams at Fenway Park in 1999; think Willie Mays in San Francisco in 2007, George Steinbrenner in the Bronx in 2008, Stan Musial in St. Louis in 2009." Meanwhile, the night "went just about perfectly for the Mets and the Wilpons' dream ballpark." The game "offered a glimpse of how the place could feel with every seat filled on a warm summer night with something at stake." Cardinals RF Carlos Beltran, who played for the Mets from '05-11, said, “It was a great atmosphere, a great vibe. It was beautiful to see, honestly. The fans were really excited” (N.Y. TIMES, 7/17).