2013 MLB All-Star Game: Jim Leyland Did Right By Mariano Rivera, New York Yankees, ASG, MLB And Fans

While the 2013 MLB All-Star Game turned out to be quite the competitive affair, everyone knew what it was going to boil down to in the end. Sure, the end result mattered. While I am against the concept, the ASG winner earns home field for that league’s representative in the World Series. Of course that is a big deal. As was the fact that David Wright was the unofficial host of this year’s festivities, as the game was held at Citi Field, home of the New York Mets. Wright is one of the classiest players in the game, so it was very fitting. But, in the end, it was all about one thing. One player. One song. It was all about one key moment that we would remember for a lifetime.

The 2013 MLB All-Star Game boiled down to when and how Detroit Tigers and American League manager Jim Leyland would use New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera in his final ever ASG appearance. And, while some are upset by how things played out in last night’s gala, I have but two words for all of those who felt Leyland did not handle the situation well.

Shut up.

And, by the way, I cleaned it up for this site. My true feelings are much more harsh, and a different two words could have been substituted in just as easily.

Leyland brought Rivera n the game in the eighth inning while the A.L. possessed a 3-0 lead. I know that the ideal situation would have been for Rivera to close out the win in the ninth inning, but there were too many what-if situations that could have played out and not only ruined the win for the junior circuit, but even one in which Rivera would not have even entered the game at all. Leyland was smart to not allow that opportunity to present itself.

As someone who has the utmost respect for Rivera and the game and tradition, yes, it would have been the perfect ending to a storybook career. I would have loved to have seen Mo mow down the senior circuit in the ninth inning to preserve the win and earn a save in his final ever All-Star Game appearance. It is the best ending to his storied career.

But, although the A.L. had a three run lead with six outs to play for the N.L., what would have happened if Leyland brought in Texas Rangers closer Joe Nathan to serve as Rivera’s set-up man, instead of what actually happened? And, while Nathan is one of the game’s best, what if he didn’t have his best stuff last night? A three run lead is hardly insurmountable. What if the N.L. had scored four runs and taken a one run lead into the top of the ninth? If the A.L. was unable to score and tie or take the lead, then Rivera would never have even entered the game. Leyland did the only thing he could do.

Thankfully, it was the right thing.

Oh, and, by the way. It was Leyland and his staff who held back the rest of the players once Rivera entered the game so that he could have the spotlight to himself.

Just in case you are still piling on the Tigers’ skipper…



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About the author

Rob Kelley is a sports reporter for various newspapers in Florida, and is trying to break back into the sports writing game after a brief hiatus following the publishing of his first book, I'm Not a Quitter. He recently resigned as Editor-in-Chief and lead writer for The South Shore Magazine to pursue better opportunities. You can follow him on Twitter @RobKelley24.