Mariano Rivera receives standing ovation at All Star Game, wins MVP award

Last night's All-Star Game was all about Mariano Rivera, and deservedly so

7/17/13 in MLB   |   Pat   |   5234 respect

Blog Photo - Mariano Rivera receives standing ovation at All Star Game, wins MVP awardIf you've ever met me (or read a few things I've written) you know that I'm a huge Red Sox fan. Not surprisingly, I also hate the Yankees. It also comes with the territory.

When Roger Clemens put on the pinstripes, he was dead to me, despite the fact that he was arguably the best Red Sox pitcher in my lifetime up to that point.

When Johnny Damon cut his hair, shaved his beard and joined the Evil Empire, he was public enemy number one, despite his pivotal role in the Red Sox' incredible 2004 World Series run.

Once Kevin Youkilis started playing his home games in the Bronx, his unorthodox batting stance went from quirky and unique to deplorable and laughable.

No matter how great or well-respected a Yankees player is, I can find a way to hate him. Even the great Derek Jeter, whom everyone seems to adore, is just a punch line to me. If he weren't a Yankee, I probably wouldn't mind him. But he's a Yankee, so I'll argue to the death that he's one of the most overrated players in baseball. And I'm sincere.

But there's one Yankee that I just can't bring myself to hate. No matter how hard I tried, it's simply impossible to dislike anything about Mariano Rivera.

Blog Photo - Mariano Rivera receives standing ovation at All Star Game, wins MVP awardFrom his demeanor on the mound to his interaction with fans, media and team personnel, there's nothing that anyone could possibly dislike about him.

Also, he's the greatest closer that has ever toed the rubber.

Last night's All-Star game in Citi Field was one of the great moments in baseball history.

Most people expected Rivera to take the mound in the 9th to pick up the save in what will be the final All-Star game of his career. AL manager Jim Leyland didn't want to take the chance of a potential NL rally in the 8th negating the bottom of the 9th, so he had Rivera pitch the 8th instead.

In the end, it was the most fitting sendoff possible for a man who will go down as not only one of the greatest players, but also the greatest humans ever to play the game.

Rivera took the field to his classic intro music, Metallica's "Enter Sandman," a nod to his nickname. The ovation was immediate and sustained, as every single fan and player stood and cheered for Rivera as he took the mound. Every seat was empty, from the stands to the dugouts, where even the players rose to acknowledge one of the greatest players of all time. The scene was truly surreal.

Rivera took the time to tip his cap to every corner of the ballpark, and then set to work. Rivera set down Jean Segura, Allen Craig and Carlos Gomez in 16 pitches, exhibiting his legendary cut fastball that has confounded hitters for almost two decades now.

Blog Photo - Mariano Rivera receives standing ovation at All Star Game, wins MVP awardIt was fitting that Rivera pitched the 8th, getting the hold before Rangers closer Joe Nathan came in for the save. The first time most of us ever saw Rivera, he was a masterful setup man for John Wetteland, who would later become the Rangers closer. At that time, much like Tuesday night, the 8th inning was taken care of once Rivera took the hill.

The respect that Rivera gets from his fellow players is all the evidence that anyone needs that he truly is a once-in-a-lifetime talent. After years of being handcuffed by his devastating cutter, the entire American League All-Star team filed out of the dugout to stand and applaud him as he took the mound.

After the game, he won the MVP award. Could that award have been given to someone else? Probably. Would anyone have accepted it? I would think not.

Last night was Rivera's night. While it will be his last All-Star game, there are still 67 games left on the Yankees' schedule. Appreciate it while you can, baseball fans. We'll never see another Mariano Rivera.
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7/18/13   |   Scott   |   54574 respect

The respect warranted from his stats obviously speaks for itself but for me, the thing that separates Rivera from the rest of the Yankees is his ability to fly under the radar.  The guy showed up for work for almost 20 years, 99.9% of the time he dominated the opposition and then went home for the night.  You didn't hear of any controversy and you read no page 6 tabloid stories.  By all accounts, he was the consummate professional, ultimate team player and perfect teammate.  

7/17/13   |   gobluespartyon   |   1525 respect

It was fitting end for Mo to get All-Star MVP he earned it plus it's his final All-Star Game. I have always liked Mo would be great if there were more Mo's sports. Derek Jeter isn't overrated I went to Kalamazoo Central Jeter's high school he was class of 92 I was class of 99. 

7/17/13   |   Dan_B   |   1067 respect

I wish I could pinpoint what exactly it is about Rivera that is so likable. And I wish more players would mimic the way he went about his career. 

7/17/13   |   Jess   |   35086 respect

Nice. Not gonna lie...I teared up a little.

(Also, I don't adore Jeter; quite the opposite actually. Although, I'm a Mariners fan and Mariners fans aren't too fond of the Yankees either, so there's that.)