Strictly Fitteds Sports Week Update 07.18.13
It's been a while since our last sports update, but with the amazing display at the MLB All-Star game on Tuesday night, it needs to be written about. The 84th annual MLB All-Star game took place at the home of the New York Mets, Citifield. It was a festive couple days leading up to the game with the Fanfest taking place at the Jacob Javitz Center and the Home Run Derby on Monday night. The Mets were exceptional hosts and did an admirable job at fighting off the MLB's subtle advances in making this a dual-event with the New York Yankees. The Mets 3B All-Star, David Wright, was given the tough task of acting as the host for the entire week. Appearances, the Derby, and the game all came and went, with Wright doing everything right. He gave the Mets something to cheer about and be proud of during the festivities.
David Wright's teammate on the Mets (and the All-Star team), Matt Harvey got the nod as the starter for the National League. Being the ace of a pitching staff and being named the starter for you league All-Star team is tough enough but being asked to start the game in your home park puts a ton of pressure on the young man. Harvey was challneged with facing Mike Trout, crosstown rival Robinson Cano, Miguel Carbera all in the first inning. The phenom, Trout, led off the game by smacking the first pitch of the game down the first base line for a double. The at-bat that most fans were looking forward to was now upon us. Mets vs Yankees, Harvey vs Cano, New York vs New York, for all the country to see. Unfortunately, Harvey lost control of an inside fastball and hit Cano right above his knee, forcing him to leave the game. It looked like it was going to be a rough start for the young pitcher but he settled down and retired the next six batters through the 2nd inning. Besides the top half of the first inning, there was very little to be excited about. It was a pitchers duel through the 3rd inning and the first run did not come until the top of the 4th when Miguel Cabrera scored on a sacrifice fly from Jose Baustista. The American League managed to tack on 1 more run in the 5th on a fielder's choice, and another in the 8th on a double by Cleveland Indians second basemen Jason Kipnis. The bottom of the 8th was one of greatest moments in recent sports history and the reason why sports is great.
As "Enter Sandman" blarred through the speakers, the greatest closer of all time came jogging out from the bullpen for the last time at an All-Star game. The game was now about Mariano Rivera from this point on. It was not his usual spot, pitching in the 8th inning, but manager Jim Leyland wanted to make sure that Mariano was able to pitch and did not want to take a chance in having another pitcher give up the 3-run lead. The rest of the American League squad was ready to take the field but stopped at the top of the dugout and let Mariano be the only player on the field for his 90-second standing ovation for the crowd. It was truly a magical sight. Even though it was not his home stadium, the Citifield crowd (fans of all teams) gave Mariano the ovation he deserved. After the players tipped their caps, they took the field as Mariano took his warm up pitches. The 8th inning was exactley what Mariano is used to in his career; a ground out, a line out, and a pop up. The All-Star/Hall of Fame career of the greatest relief pitcher of all time was now half over, but it was a fantastic send off from Major League Baseball on one of their biggest stages.
The 9th inning went without a blip, besides Prince Fielder's awesome triple. Joe Nathan of the Texas Rangers closed out the National League with 2 strikeouts, a double, and a pop up to second. The game wasn't the most exciting thing to watch but it was something baseball needed. Amid all of the steroid stories and rumors baseball needed a grand night to take everyone's mind off of the bad. Thanks to the host Mets and Mariano Rivera the sports world put steroids on the back burner and focused on the great game of baseball and why we love it so much.