It was a page right out of a movie script…but it wasn’t a movie.

It was real-life, and rarely do we see it played out as we did on Tuesday night when Mariano Rivera took the field in the bottom of the 8th inning to protect the lead for the American League in Major League Baseball’s All Star Game.

Because the camera angle was from behind him, the television audience felt as if we were trotting onto the filed with him…and it was magical.

Slowly it became apparent to this humble superstar that he was taking the field solo to a thunderous standing ovation from the fans that packed Citi Field, home of the New York Mets.

But the fans weren’t the only ones standing.  BOTH dugouts were on their feet… and not one single player took the field…the ultimate sign of respect in baseball.  They wanted this to be number 42’s moment to shine.  And shine he did.

Fighting back tears, Rivera saluted the crowd and graciously accepted this heartfelt tribute.

Lisa Miller, New York Magazine Cover Story June 17, 2013:
As anyone who follows baseball knows, Mariano Rivera has built his career on one pitch.  A cut fastball, or ‘cutter,’ it travels at 90 to 92 miles an hour, and then, a few feet before it reaches home plate, it moves half a foot off course, a trick of physics that looks like telekinesis.  Rivera’s cutter is virtually unhittable…

He’s been the Yankees’ closer for seventeen years, the specialist who arrives in the ninth inning to protect a tight lead, and at this he is better than anyone else who has ever played the game…

But in his view, his greatness has no earthly source. “Everything I have and everything I became is because of the strength of the Lord, and through him I have accomplished everything,” Rivera says.  He continues, “You don’t own your gifts like a pair of jeans.”

Rivera says that the fact that his gifts come from God increases his obligation to honor them with the hard work and discipline for which he is famous.

“He could have given the cutter to anyone…but you know what?  He put it in me….to bring glory, not to Mariano Rivera, but to the Lord.”

For seventeen years, Rivera has perhaps been baseball’s humblest hero. This is his final season.  Yes, this gentle giant is retiring.

He will be sorely missed.