As rumors surfaced that AL All Star Game skipper Jim Leyland would consider starting New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera in his final All Star game, the future Hall of Famer stated he want no part of it. When the 12-time All Star was asked by ESPNNewYork.com prior to Sunday’s annual Old Timers’ Day festivities at Yankee Stadium, Rivera stated the obvious:
“I’ve been told about it, but I don’t like it,”
“And the reason why I say that is it’s not what I do. What I do is close the games, I don’t start the games. It’s a privilege and honor, but I’m not contemplating it.”
“I think the right thing is to do it the way it (normally) is,” Rivera said. “I don’t want to start the game and give up 10 runs in the first inning. I’d rather pitch in the ninth than the first.”
Of course, the game is in New York City (albeit in Queens), and this would assume that Rivera makes the team. I think there is no doubt he will find a place on the AL roster with a league-leading 26 saves and a vintage Rivera 1.61 E.R.A. It would be fitting if he closed the game out for his sixth career All Star Game save, with, of course, home field advantage for the World Series in the balance.
Few people remember that in his 1995 rookie season, Rivera started more regular season games than he relieved with 10 starts in 19 appearances.
I think a more appropriate rumor to start at this point is “Will the 43-year-old Rivera come back in 2014?” If not, he’ll probably be the first pick in the 2014 Old Timers game at Yankee Stadium!
– David Whitlock (@lhd_on_sports)
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