RedHopeful wrote:It has nothing to do with the game. It's paying respect to what was a great stadium where so much drama had occured. There isn't a better way to do this than have Riviera throw the first pitch of the game since there is no guarantee Mariano's services will be needed later in the game. Besides, it's fitting to give one of baseball all-time great closers a little props.
Francona has other players that he needs to respect as well, legit starting pitchers who deserve to be recognized and honored. Francona has a lot of respect for the game and for Rivera in particular (see 2005 when he coached the all star game).
I think he leaves Rivera as the closer so that the best closer to have ever pitched at Yankee stadium closes the all star game.