NEW YORK -- All-Star Game, this city, impending retirement … um, yes. Barring some freak thunderstorm or monsoon, the closest thing to a guarantee tonight at the 84th All-Star Game is that legendary closer Mariano Rivera will pitch.
“I assume he is going to come in very healthy and you can rest assured, he will be on the mound at some point,” American League manager Jim Leyland says. “You will see him pitch. Whether it be to a hitter, an inning, depending on how the game goes, obviously.
“But you will see No. 42 pitch.”
And, no question, it should be a very emotional moment. Rivera's presence alone is a highlight to the players here this year.
“If I'm going to make one All-Star Game, this is the one you want to be in with him in the bullpen down there,” A's closer Grant Balfour, who will share the AL bullpen with Rivera, says. “It will be amazing to be around him and to stand down there with him and see the fans' reaction. And to watch how he goes about his business.
“I know it's different and not a regular-season game, but still.”
“It's always a great moment when you get a chance to see the best reliever there ever was,” Mets manager and NL coach Terry Collins says, noting that his Mets were fortunate enough to beat Rivera this season.