NEW YORK — The stage was not exactly familiar, as Mariano Rivera took the mound in the eighth inning rather than the ninth, but the moment was still quite memorable.
As Rivera went out to warm up, the other American Leaguers remained by the dugout, allowing him to receive a thunderous ovation from the crowd and the players on both teams. Rivera worked a scoreless inning and was named the MVP in his final All-Star Game.
Rivera, who is retiring after the season, was clearly touched.
"Amazing," he said. "I can't describe it. I have no words for it. It's been a wonderful night, the whole event."
Rivera thanked the AL players in the clubhouse after the game also.
AL manager Jim Leyland said he was determined to get Rivera in the game, and even with a 3-0 lead he didn't want to take a chance on the NL rallying in the eighth and not batting in the ninth.
"I said to the players before the game, I'm not a motivational speaker, but my motivation for tonight is to work our fannies off and bring in the greatest closer of all time," Leyland said. "I did lie, for one inning, for obvious reasons. I think you all understand that if something freaky would have happened and they scored some runs to take the lead, there possibly wouldn't have been the ninth, so that's why I did it.'
RED-CARPET TREATMENT: Add Rays INF/OF Ben Zobrist and LHP Matt Moore to those loving a parade, especially down 42nd Street in the middle of New York City.
"The coolest thing was probably that the red carpet was laid out for the whole stretch of it," Zobrist said. "I couldn't believe we were actually driving on red carpet all down 42nd Street."
Zobrist, accompanied by his wife, kids and parents, said the whole experience was a blast. "A lot of fun," he said. "We saw some Rays fans and we gave them some good shout-outs."
Moore, also impressed by the red carpet, was amazed by the crowd as he rode through with his brother and sister-in-law. "Just having that many people call my name and be able to wave like that, it was a lot more people than I was expecting," Moore said. "It was definitely a first-class deal for sure."
MORE RAYS: Head athletic trainer Ron Porterfield's trip to New York was delayed by airplane mechanical issues. Settled into his MLB-provided first-class seats with his wife and kids for a 7 a.m. Monday flight, Porterfield had to scramble for other arrangements when they were delayed indefinitely, buying the last four seats on another flight on a different airline, arriving about 4½ hours later than planned. "I said to my wife, we just went from first class to last row," Porterfield said. … Pitching matchups for the weekend in Toronto were set: Friday, LHP David Price vs. RHP Esmil Rogers; Saturday, RHP Jeremy Hellickson vs. LHP Mark Buehrle; Sunday, RHP Chris Archer vs. RHP R.A. Dickey.
MISSING MAN FORMATION: Rays 3B Evan Longoria was one of the more deserving players left off the AL roster, and close friend Troy Tulowitzki, one of the NL stars, noted his absence.
"When you think of Evan you think of one of the better players in the game," Tulowitzki said. "I know how much he enjoys playing in New York, too, because I talk to him a lot. I feel for him. He was having a good year. I'm not saying those other guys don't deserve it — it's a tough position right there to make it to an All-Star Game with (Miguel) Cabrera and now Manny (Machado), some of those guys like (Adrian) Beltre. But I definitely think when you think of his name, you think of an All-Star. And I wish he was here."
MISCELLANY: Former Mets great Tom Seaver, 68, threw out the ceremonial first pitch. … MLB honored 30 military veterans who were winners of "Tribute for Heroes" campaign. All-Stars including Rivera gave the veterans flags.