Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Sorry, no sale.

I wrote the other day that I wasn't buying into the Yankees' explanation of why Jeter was brought up. Now I have another problem (Surprised?) While the American League scored their third and final run in the top of the eighth inning of the All-Star game last night, FOX panned to the AL bullpen and showed none other than the great Rivera in the bullpen!

But hold on now? I thought Mariano was a closer! Well apparently AL manager Jim Leyland thought this was 1996, the last time Mo was John Wetteland's set-up man before taking over the closer role in '97. Now the tribute itself was unbelievably moving; first off it didn't have a tough act to follow. Neil Diamond almost spoke, not sung, the lyrics to "Sweet Caroline." Also, he sang the ENTIRE song, which felt like an eternity. After he left the field, "Enter Sandman" blared through the Citi Field speakers as Mariano trotted out by himself. All the players left the field and gave Mo his moment, of course with a standing ovation.

While the tribute to baseball's greatest reliever (not just closer, he was an un-hittable setup man in '96) was wonderful, HOW IS MARIANO NOT CLOSING THAT GAME? I Googled it this morning to attempt to find some scathing review of Leyland's decision, but was shocked to find many "writers" agreeing with him. The consensus basically was that Mariano should absolutely, 100% should have his moment in the sun, without any possible chance of blowing the save. Leyland told the Detroit Free Press in this article that if the NL rallied in the ninth, Mo might've not been able to get in the game, which would've been frowned upon, I guess. Here's a couple of points:

1) Mo has 4 All-Star Game saves. ('97, '05, '06, '09)
2) That eighth-inning lineup was insanely unchallenging; shaky Joe Nathan could've served a better purpose in that role.
3) With a runner at first and Pedro Alvarez up in the 9th, and GLEN PERKINS warming, I said, "Boy, there's no one I'd rather have warming with a tying run on deck then GLEN PERKINS! WHY WOULDN'T YOU WANT MARIANO IN THE TOUGHEST SITUATION IN THE BALL GAME?"

Look, it's not like the NL posed any gigantic threat in the late innings; I knew the AL would win, and this whole thing wasn't a cardinal sin. We're probably already over it. But it just didn't feel right having Mo come in for the 8th, in his last All-Star Game, in NEW YORK.

Sorry Leyland, no sale.

Neil Dwyer @neildwyer1993

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)