I want to thank all the people who have made the start Mariano Rivera in the All-Star Game, a near trending topic on Twitter (#StartMo) and in conversation on the web, television and radio.
There were so many members of the media and fans who agree that this would be a great sendoff for one of baseball’s greatest players, a tremendous ratings draw for the All-Star Game, and a terrific opportunity for kids of all ages to get to see a future Hall of Famer in perhaps his last appearance on the national stage in a truly meaningful moment.
And yes, I’m well aware the Mariano is the greatest closer of all time, but he is also a great pitcher who can give the AL a strong 1st inning and I don’t think the competitive level of the team would be at all hampered in the game that determines World Series home field advantage. The American League could follow Rivera with Yu Darvish, Clay Buchholz, Justin Verlander, Jon Lester, Felix Hernandez and Justin Masterson and then successfully close with Jim Johnson, Addison Reed, Chris Perez or Joe Nathan.
So for those who believe that the league would be sacrificing anything, I think with that staff, I beg to differ.
For those who believe that because Mariano is a closer and his role should be in the 9th inning, might I remind you that the National League led 5-0 off Verlander after one inning last year and there were only meaningless appearances by pitchers from each league after that in the 8-0 win.
Get Mariano in the game when the game means something and the only pitcher who can be assured of facing the NL starters is the pitcher who tosses the 1st inning for the American League.
As for the drama of Mariano’s entrance? Let him go through his normal warm-up process in the top of the 1st and as “Enter Sandman” blares, we will see Mariano enter to pitch the bottom of the inning. It doesn’t get better than that.
As for Mariano?
Kevin Kernan of the New York Post asked him about my proposal. In the final of the nine points I wrote about yesterday, I wrote this:
There is no finer gentleman in the game and this player, who is respected by so many of his peers, would never ask for the accolade which makes him all the more deserving.
Kevin got Mariano’s response that proved my point:
“I definitely appreciate all that,’’ Rivera said in his common sense way, “but I don’t think that would be right because I am not a starter. I’m a reliever. Again, I do appreciate it, but I want to be who I am. I am a reliever. I respect the thought, but that is not what I do. Maybe, I’ll get the chance to close.’’
But, I hope that when Jim Leyland asks, Mariano will respect the wishes of the fans and his colleagues and take the ball.
Here are four articles that I want to share for you to see both sides of the discussion.
Joe Giglio of Bleacher Report
Mike Axisa of CBSSports.com
Craig Calcaterra of NBCSports.com who I promised I would support his efforts have Vin Scully broadcast a World Series game
Ben Yakas of The Gothamist.
I also want to give special thanks to Mike Ferrin and Jim Duquette of MLB Radio’s Power Alley for having me on the air today and supporting the campaign. Sirius/XM subscribers can download our conversation.
One of the most important thing we can do now is not let the concept die. As we approach the All-Star game and the voting starts to mean something, make sure to keep the #StartMo movement alive on Twitter and with the media.
Let’s make this one of the most memorable moments in All-Star history.