Save The Best For Last: All-Star Game To Be Remembered For Mariano Rivera's Farewell
Last night's MLB All-Star Game was "devoid of memorable plays," but it will "resonate for one indelible moment" -- Yankees P Mariano Rivera's entrance in the 8th inning, according to Larry Stone of the SEATTLE TIMES. Players from both teams "remained in their dugouts as Rivera trotted onto an empty field," then stood "in front of their dugouts applauding, the relievers in the bullpen out on the warning track doing the same." Rivera "stood on the mound for a long standing ovation, his emotions visible." It was a moment as "heartfelt as Cal Ripken Jr. taking one last trot to shortstop in his final All-Star appearance" in '01 (SEATTLE TIMES, 7/17). In N.Y., David Waldstein notes Rivera "stood alone on the mound and saluted both dugouts and everyone in the stands." Rivera said, “It almost made me cry, too. I was close. It was amazing, a scene that I will never forget" (N.Y. TIMES, 7/17). In L.A., Bill Shaikin writes that was "not an orchestrated plan," more of a "spontaneous reaction to let Rivera have his moment, all by himself" (L.A. TIMES, 7/17). Tigers RF Torii Hunter said that it was AL manager Jim Leyland's idea for "everyone else to stay in the dugout" (N.Y. POST, 7/17). In N.Y., Anthony McCarron writes Rivera's entrance was the "signature moment" of the game (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 7/17). CBSSPORTS.com's Scott Miller: "It was the perfect Mo-ment, beautiful and memorable. Storybook. Mark it down right now as one of the greatest in All-Star history" (CBSSPORTS.com, 7/16). SPORTS ON EARTH's Emma Span: "We now have 'The Mariano Rivera All Star Game'" (SPORTSONEARTH.com, 7/17). In Boston, Nick Cafardo: "It wasn’t Ted Williams and the 1999 All-Star Game at Fenway Park, but it was pretty close" (BOSTON GLOBE, 7/17).
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).