Mariano Rivera: Hot Stove Player of the Week

Hot Stove New YorkSenior Writer IJuly 17, 2009

ST LOUIS, MO - JULY 14:  American League All-Star Mariano Rivera of the New York Yankees pitches during the 2009 MLB All-Star Game at Busch Stadium on July 14, 2009 in St Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

The National League lost the All-Star Game yet again, and you can’t even blame the Mets for it. David Wright went 1-for-2 and scored a run, and Frankie Rodriguez pitched a perfect ninth.

The AL now has the home-field advantage in the World Series once more. How dumb is that rule? What’s next? The Home Run Derby winner gets to host Thanksgiving dinner for the World Champion?

The Mets, of course, did not have a representative in the Derby, but they did come out on top in the Dropped Pop-up Showdown and the Base-Running Blunder Regatta.

It's also oldies week around here, as the Devils try to reclaim past glory with the hiring of Jacques Lemaire.

Sure, he won eight Stanley Cups and elected to the Hall of Fame as a player and won a Cup and two Jack Adams Awards as a coach. But he also brought hockey to a standstill with the trap and made the game as exciting as watching paint dry (though sometimes watching paint dry can be so mesmerizing since you’ll start to hallucinate after a while, which can be kind of fun).

And Paul McCartney performs at his second Mets stadium when he plays Citi Field tonight. The Beatles never played at the Polo Grounds, but I think The Mosquitoes once did.

Quote of the week by Ken Singleton after A-Rod lost a pop-up in the sun in Anaheim: “How can something 93 million miles away cause so much trouble?”



Mariano Rivera: It was slim pickin’s this week to find a winner, so we’ll go with the Yankee great.

He only made one appearance this week, but he picked up a record-setting fourth save in the All-Star Game, breaking a tie with Dennis Eckersley. It was his eighth Midsummer Classic and he’s yet to give up a run.

Let’s hear it for the greatest closer in the history of closers—which is only 20 or so years, but still. And there are no fist pumps, antics, or high jinks for this class act—just a hardy handshake for the catcher.


Runners Up

Johan Santana: The ace of the Mets staff threw seven shutout innings against the Reds on Saturday and passed Freddy Garcia as the all-time winningest Venezuelan pitcher with his 119th victory.

Luis Castillo: The Mets’ gimpy second baseman (he’s not injured but he still always seems gimpy, doesn’t he?) went 6-for-11 in the three games he played in this week, and scored five runs.

Jeff Francoeur: The new Met drove in two runs in his first at-bat with his new team, and picked up four hits in his first two games, helping the Mets to two wins in a row (which is nothing to sneeze at for this team). His homecoming in Atlanta didn’t go as well last night, but he did contribute with an RBI.

Derek Jeter: The Angels continued their dominance against the Yanks over the weekend, but don’t blame Jeter; he went 7-for-15 in the series. And on Tuesday, he made his 10th All-Star appearance, though he went hitless.

Oliver Perez: We’re grading Perez on a curve here. Six innings and three runs isn’t especially good, but for Perez it’s about as good as it gets. And it could have been only two runs if Gary Sheffield wasn’t slowed down out in left field by his walker. Is it against the rules for a player to roam around the outfield on a Rascal scooter?


Schmucks of the Week

The National League: Will they ever win an All-Star Game again? They haven’t won since 1996, when Dodger Mike Piazza was named MVP. The AL’s record in the last 22 games is 18-3-1.

It wasn’t always this way, though. At one point, the NL was even more dominant than the AL is today. They once won 11 in a row (1972-’82), and were 23-2-1 from 1960-’82 (two All-Star Games were played in ‘60, ‘61 and ‘62).

Of course, in those days the NL was regularly penciling in Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, and Roberto Clemente as their starting outfield. No offense to Shane Victorino, Ryan Braun, and Raul Ibanez, but they’re no Mays, Aaron and Clemente.