An interesting thing is happening at Mariano Rivera’s final All-Star Game. Hitters actually want to face him.
“I have thought about that,” Cardinals first baseman Allen Craig said. “It would be pretty cool to get in there and face him. No doubt. He’s a guy that I’ve watched since I was a little kid. He’s had an incredible career, and this being his last All-Star Game, I think it would be pretty special to face him. I’ve always wondered what that cutter looks like in the box. I’ve seen it plenty from the TV.”
Even in a bullpen literally full of All-Stars, the greatest closer of all-time stands out.
“It’s going to be cool if I get the opportunity,” Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen said. “But it’s a good opportunity for anybody. Everybody on the pitching staff can pitch, but somebody like him, with it being his last year, last All-Star Game – maybe – it would definitely be awesome. I’d just be able to say, regardless of the outcome, that I got to face him. In his last All-Star Game, I was one of the guys he faced.”
The National League starters likely won’t be in the lineup when Rivera enters the game, so the opportunity really falls to the reserves, most of whom will never have this chance again.
“I would love it,” Giants catcher Buster Posey said. “I would love the chance here or when we come to play the Yankees in September. I’m a huge, huge fan of his. Can’t say that it doesn’t make me a little sad that this is his last year. I’m sure a lot of people feel that way.”
Really, Posey would want to face Rivera in a game that actually counts? The curiosity is that great? Posey kind of smiled and thought about it.
“Maybe a tie game, how about that?” he said.
Associated Press photo