Sports provides so many great moments, and the latest had to be the welcome Mariano Rivera received in the eighth inning of Tuesday’s All-Star Game.

Everybody — and I mean everybody — applauded the greatest closer of our era and likely the greatest closer of baseball history as he came in from the bullpen in the eighth inning.

Fans howled. Teammates and competitors clambered up to their respective railings to watch the master at work. And Rivera seemed visibly moved by the tribute. He wasn’t fazed at all — he went right through the National League lineup 1-2-3 — but he did look taken aback somewhat by all the attention showered down upon him.

He may also have been shocked he was receiving Jim Leyland’s call in the eighth inning, although Leyland’s rationale actually makes sense when you think the American League manager felt obligated to get Rivera in the game.

No matter. Congratulations, Mariano, on a wonderful career.

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