NEW YORK – Baseball, maybe more than ever, is a young man’s game. Consider the wave that crashed ashore Tuesday night at the All-Star Game. Bryce Harper, 20, of the Washington Nationals, became the youngest position player to start an all-star game since Ken Griffey in 1990. Manny Machado will need an exemption to rent a car for another four years, but he robbed a hit Tuesday night with a breathtaking throw across the diamond. Mike Trout, another 21-year-old, led off the game with a double against some oldster named Matt Harvey, who despite his advanced age of 24, managed two scoreless, dominating innings before a frothing Citi Field crowd.
And then they all stopped to watch an old man. In the eighth inning of the American League’s 3-0 victory, Mariano Rivera walked through the bullpen gates. “Enter Sandman” rumbled from speakers. The field behind him remained empty. The top step of both dugouts brimmed with the best baseball players on the planet, whom the placid 43-year-old on the mound had turned into awestruck little boys.