Wednesday, July 17, 2013

A Moment of Respect for Mariano Rivera

I missed most of the All-Star Game due to Youth Group. It's something I've come to expect most of my life and the only times I actually watched most of the game was from 2007-2010 when I spent Tuesday nights at my newspaper proofreading stories and finishing up things before we went to press.

I happened to check Twitter after we wrapped up and I saw Rob Parker send this tweet.
Soon as I got home, I watched the footage. "Enter Sandman" blaring loud and Mariano Rivera coming out to do his job like he's done every year. Except he was alone. No teammates. Just him on that mound and soaking up the praise of his last All-Star game from the fans, both teams and many viewers.

I give baseball credit. They do All-Star moments really well. In 2001, I remember how they said farewell to Cal Ripken Jr. and Tony Gwynn in the All-Star Game. I remember the 1999 All-Star Game where the All-Century Team nominees were announced and Ted Williams came out to be surrounded by everyone.

This moment for Rivera felt completely organic, spontaneous and befitting a man who has exemplified class, doing your job and being great at it. Rivera's career has spanned most of my life as a sports fan and I've watched him go from setup man to dominant closer to wily veteran who still locks down a game in the 9th.

He's got 30 saves this year, the 2nd-most he's had at an All-Star break. I got to listen to him save a game when the Yankees beat my Dodgers. He may be retiring this year but he's going out at the top of his game and his All-Star performance was a reminder why he's the best at his craft.

There will be proper time to memorialize him but for one night, it was great to see the baseball community and sports fans pay him respect as Rivera's career ends this fall. I'll remember this the most about this game besides the American League throwing a three-hit shutout.

Also, I tuned in just in time after church to see Tim McCarver get his tribute by Joe Buck and Major League Baseball. McCarver will too be retiring at season's end and it was beautiful to see Buck surprise his longtime broadcast partner by asking him to sign his scorecard that was going to the Hall of Fame. Peace to him as well.

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