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“Shake his hand and send me on my way”

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc on Jul 16, 2013 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Evelis Cruz

It’s become clear that Mariano Rivera’s final All-Star Game doesn’t have as much to do with Rivera himself as it has to do with all about the other pitchers who want to pick his brain or shake his hand or just see him one more time. Yesterday’s media availability became a series of question and answer sessions about the greatest closer of all time.

No surprise, Rivera’s peers seem to like him.

Braves closer Craig Kimbrel
“I’ve seen him pitch on TV. I’ve never seen him pitch in person. Hopefully it’s not him closing the game out, because we want the National League to win, but to see him on the mound would be really something. … I’ve met him a few times, but I haven’t really gotten to talk to him. I don’t think he has that much time in the day because I’d want to sit him down and talk to him all day long. It’s one of those things where, when somebody sets that bar, you want to know what he did, and how he did it.”

White Sox setup man Jesse Crain
“I haven’t had a chance to talk to him yet, but he’s the one guy that I definitely want to have a chance to go up to and talk to and meet. I’ve been playing against him for 10, 11 years now, I’ve just never had the chance to go up to him and talk to him. To be on this team with him for probably his last All-Star game that he’ll ever be in is pretty cool. I’m excited to get to talk to him. He’s going to be bombard the whole time, I’m sure, but I’ll hopefully find a minute to at least say hello and tell him what I think about him and see what he has to say.”

Pirates closer Jason Grilli
“It’s incredible. I learned something, that he’s given up less (walkoff home runs) than men have stepped on the moon? You throw numbers around like that with what he’s accomplished, I might have 30-something saves but there’s no way I’m going to touch that record of his. I don’t think he has to worry about me, because I’m old too. He’s a guy to look up to. His longevity, his effectiveness, his consistency; the game is over pretty much when he comes in.”

Royals closer Greg Holland
“I told my brother when I didn’t initially make the team that I really wanted to be out there for Mariano’s last All-Star Game and to watch him get the last out. That was really the only reason disappointment ever set in for me. To sit out there with that guy, it’s going to be really awesome.”

Cardinals closer Edward Mujica
“He’s unbelievable. He’s been doing it for so many years. That’s the name for him: Unbelievable Rivera. And everybody tells me he’s a really good guy. He just works hard every day. He had that injury last year, but he comes right back this year, he’s unbelievable. … He’s going to tell me, ‘Hey Mujica, you’ve been doing a very good job throwing those changeups, that’s like me with my cutter.’”

Athletics closer Grant Balfour
“If I’m going to make one, this is a good one to make. To be able to be in the bullpen with the greatest closer of all-time, it’s pretty surreal. I’m excited to watch him pitch, to see the fans’ reactions. It’s just great to be out there and be around the guy. I’ve never played with him, so it will be nice to rub shoulders with him and enjoy some time.”

Blue Jays reliever Brett Cecil
“Even if it wasn’t his last year, just the career that he’s had and I’m sure he’s had tons of questions over the years from young guys on All-Star teams and having guys bug him with questions, so I’m just looking forward to the chance to meet him and shake his hand and send me on my way.”

Yankees closer Mariano Rivera
“We will make the time for it, definitely. Those young boys have tremendous abilities and have done tremendously. You have to pass it around and make sure they have respect for the game of baseball and play it the right way. … It makes me feel good to be recognized by my peers. That’s great for me. I do appreciate that, because they will always get the same respect from me back. I’m always proud to play with them, a bunch of young boys, good athletes that have tremendous abilities.”

Associated Press photo

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