Postgame interview with MVP Mariano Rivera
Q. What was tonight like for you?
MARIANO RIVERA: Really? (Smiling)amazing. I can't describe it. I have no words for it. It's been a wonderful night, the whole event. I got here exactly when Gene was speaking, finishing. But I have to thank every one of you guys for making this possible. Thank God for everything, my wife, my kids, thank you for all the support.
And you guys, man. It has been amazing. I have no words to describe this night.
Q. Can you just talk about the players staying in the dugout when you came in; were you expecting that, or was that a surprise?
MARIANO RIVERA: I mean, everything has been a surprise this night. No, I wasn't expecting that. I wanted to come and do my job, and you know, when I was crossing the field, I got to the mound, and then the song I pitched ‑‑ I heard that song in another stadium, that was great. And when I got to the mound, I see both sides, both teams on the dugout, and it was amazing, it almost made me cry, too. I was close. It was amazing, a scene that I will never forget that.
Q. With all the tributes, where does this rank?
MARIANO RIVERA: This one, I think that the only one that will top this is the World Series. Besides that, I mean, it has been outstanding. Especially when you are not expecting this. I wanted to pitch. I wanted to come to the game and since this will be my last one, I wanted to enjoy and be able to pitch for the last time in the All‑Star Game. You know, the rest was plus ‑‑ the rest was indescribable. I can't describe it.
Q. Is it strange to warm up with nobody behind you?
MARIANO RIVERA: (Laughing) that's not baseball, you know, you're supposed to know your team is behind you. It felt so weird. Basically I was there alone with my catcher. I don't know how to act. At that moment, I didn't know what to do, just keep throwing the ball I guess, because it was so weird. But at the same time, I mean, I definitely appreciate that, you know, what they did for me.
Q. Jim Leyland was just in here a few minutes ago, and he said that there was a moment earlier this year at Comerica Park in which you said something to him, and he didn't want to tell us what that was. I'm not going to ask you what it was, but he got very emotional when he talked about that. Were you aware of how emotional that was to him? Can you talk about that?
MARIANO RIVERA: Well, I mean, if he didn't tell you, I don't think I would be the right guy to tell you. But definitely, I have tremendous respect for this man. Jim represents baseball the way everybody should represent it.
Even when he's doing his interview, he's all business, and that's what it is all about. I always tell him that I have tremendous respect for him.
Q. Obviously a lot of reasons go into a decision to retire, but still being very much at the top of your game, do you ever give any thoughts to physically how long you think you would have been able to do it if you'd stuck around, any sort of age like that?
MARIANO RIVERA: I don't want to think about it (laughing) because I might change my mind; I don't want to do that.
No, no, like I say, before spring training, I think everybody is limited ‑‑ it's getting short, too. I don't have anything left, everything that I have, I have no reason to say, you know, I should do this another year. So what you see is what you're going to have, and that's it. Thank you.
Q. I was wondering, how did your pregame speech to your teammates come about?
MARIANO RIVERA: It was great, man, we won, so it worked. (Laughter.)
No, no, Torii Hunter, he spoke, told me to say something. What I said was that I was honored and it was a privilege for me to play with all of them, you know, for so many years; this is my 13th year as an All‑Star, and many of them, it was their first one. I told them, just make sure they enjoy, because it goes quick.
That was my speech, and I told them, I appreciate every bit of them and for me it was a privilege and an honor to play with them.
Q. When did Jim tell you were pitching the eighth inning, and how strange was it to come in the eighth when you're leading 3‑0?
MARIANO RIVERA: Jimmie, we talked about it right in batting practice, and he told me, he wanted to make sure that I pitch. He said that depends how the game goes, and what happened ‑‑ if we were winning by one or two runs, and we have a chance to pitch in the eighth, I will pitch in the eighth, because for sure, he wanted to make sure that he pitched me. That's the reason that I pitched the eighth inning and not the ninth inning. I mean, you don't know what can happen in the game of baseball. Anything can happen and it happens quick; great players. And the decision was okay. And we won, that was the most important thing.
Q. You join Derek Jeter as the only Yankees to win the All‑Star Game MVP; what's that like?
MARIANO RIVERA: I mean, I can't describe it. I mean, as a player, you don't ‑‑ as a team player, you don't look for these things. They just happen, or the Lord permits it. I'm honored and proud to be a member of the New York Yankees, and being able to play for this city and doing it the way that I have done. What I have to say is thank God for that, because they are great players out there, great, great, beautiful players, that are humble and represent their team with a lot of respect and humbleness. But at the same time, I just have to come and do my job. You know, I don't think about ‑‑ I will think about it, I am grateful for it, but I was not thinking of none of that stuff. But thank you, thank you for the question.
Q. What was the more surreal moment, throwing out the first pitch before the last Mets/Yankees game six weeks ago, or throwing in the eighth inning?
MARIANO RIVERA: Well, definitely, tonight, was different. I mean, I haven't thrown the eighth inning in a long time. To be able to do the job, though, I mean, hold the lead for that inning, that's what I wanted. And definitely this one was bigger. Don't get me wrong, though. Throwing the first pitch here, it was good ‑‑ I don't want to do it again (Laughter.) But it was outstanding. Thank you.