Even as Major League Baseball had bestowed perhaps its second-largest spectacle – the All Star Game – upon the Mets and Citi Field, the crosstown Yankees stole the show. In truth, it was only one member of the pinstriped baseball club from the Bronx who made the night his.
Mariano Rivera, the Yankees’ thrower of cutters and definition of a baseball closer (We should admit it, Red Sox fans: Mo is the best we’ve ever seen), capped off a strong night for the winning American League club. Rivera entered the game in the eighth inning and, throwing only cutters, mowed down the three National League batters he faced in order.
Rivera, who has said he will retire at the end of this season, was named All Star MVP.
"It was tough. It was special,’’ Rivera told the Associated Press. ‘‘Seeing the fans sharing and both teams standing out of the dugout, managers, coaches, players — priceless.’’
Texas closer Joe Nathan would take the mound in the ninth and shut the door. The American League squad defeated the National League 3-0.
Aside from the accolades bestowed upon the Cooperstown-bound Rivera during last night’s (exhibition) game, there wasn’t a lot of excitement during the 2013 Mid-Summer Classic. No home runs. No spectacular diving plays in the outfield.
And from the two members of the Red Sox who played last night, there was even less to get excited about.
(At 8:19 p.m., just after the game began, FOX broadcaster and destroyer of ears extraordinaire Tim McCarver noted the presence of former Mets pitcher Dwight Gooden at Citi Field. McCarver then referenced the 1986 World Series. At that point you kinda had a feeling it wouldn’t be a banner night for the boys from Boston).
David Ortiz started the game, batting sixth, as the designated hitter. Dustin Pedroia would enter the game in the first inning and play second base after starter Robinson Cano was hit by a 97 mph Matt Harvey fastball.
“Too much knee,” McCarver said after Cano was hit in the leg and later walked off the field. Brilliant.
Papi and Pedey would combine to go 0-4 in the game with one strikeout. Ortiz came closest to a hit when he led off the second inning and flew out to centerfielder (and hair cut connoisseur) Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals.
Ortiz later hit into a 4-6-3 double play in the fourth inning, and Pedroia struck out looking in the top of the sixth inning on a heater from the Marlins’ Jose Fernandez.
Oh well. It’s an exhibition game, right? (I know, I know. It COUNTS. Bud Selig keeps telling us. We get it).
The real games (sorry, Bud) begin anew on Friday, when the first-place Sox take on the Yankees at Fenway. There’s a lot to look forward to.