This is the final season for Yankees reliever Mariano Rivera, possibly the greatest relief pitcher of all time, and last night was his final All Star Game. He trotted out onto the field in the eighth inning, and the field was empty, with his fellow players in the dugouts giving him the field to himself and cheering him. Rivera said, "When I got to the mound, I saw both sides, both teams in the dugout, and it was amazing. It almost made me cry, too. I was close. It was amazing—a scene that I will never forget."
Rivera also described it as surreal: "It felt so weird — basically I was there alone with my catcher. I definitely appreciated what they did for me."
The American League manager Jim Leyland had Rivera start in the eighth inning while the AL was leading over the National League, 3-0. The NY Times reports, "Leyland’s fear was that if the N.L. rallied in the bottom of the eighth, took the lead and closed out the game in the top of the ninth, Rivera would never get in. 'This was one of the toughest games I ever had to manage,' said Leyland, who had choked up at one point describing how the event unfolded, 'because you have all these different scenarios that might happen. But this was really about trying to manipulate it so that we got Mariano in at the right time.'"
The AL won and Rivera was named MVP. He said, "As a team player you don’t look for these things, they just happen. I’m honored and proud to be a member of the New York Yankees and being able to play for this city and to do it the way I have done."