Mariano Rivera To Start The All Star Game? What A Dumb Idea
On old timers day, the Hammer Of God, aka Mariano Rivera addressed the idea floating around that he could get the starting assignment for this year's all star game being played in New York, at the cross town Mets ballpark, Citifield. This idea should be nipped in the bud right here and right now.
The greatest closer of all time, bar none, was flattered by the thought, calling it an honor, but he also said no thank you.
The thought is that AL manager Jim Leyland started this travesty of an idea. Then again Leyland hasn't had much luck with closers lately. See the now departed again Jose Valverde.
Why Leyland would float this idea hasn't been determined. My guess is that Leyland wants to honor Rivera and starting him would do that. However if the American League is leading going to the last half of the 9th, the better way is let Rivera do what he does. Close the game.
Fair 2nd guess is what happens if the AL is behind? Fair point for sure. I say take the chance and roll the dice. Leyland can get Rivera in the ballgame, his final all star game as the "Hammer" has announced this will be his final season in the big leagues. If the game is out of hand then Rivera can get in the game at any point. The American League has lost 3 straight all star games after an extensive winning streak. There is a chance Rivera won't get to close. I would take that chance. I hate this idea and it seems "Mo" isn't crazy about it either.
Rivera said about starting the game " I have been told about it but I don't like it. The reason why I say that is because it isn't what I do. What I do is close the games, I don't start the games. It is a privilege and an honor but I am not contemplating it."
Rivera started his career in the minors as a starter but quickly ascended to the closers role when he got to the big leagues. He was 1st used as a setup man until then closer John Wetteland left the ballclub. He has closed ever since and history will show nobody has ever done it better. EVER.
Somehow Leyland will get Rivera in the game, in his home city, and he will get the applause he so deserves. Let it be at the end of the ballgame like the "hammer of God" has always done it. It seems fitting it should be that way, not at the start of the game. Bad idea that needs to be scrapped now!