Mariano Rivera holds Rays scoreless in final appearance at Yankee Stadium

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Mariano Rivera’s final appearance at Yankee Stadium is in the books. While he didn’t get a save chance, he retired all four batters he faced tonight in a 4-0 loss to the Rays.

Yankee Stadium was buzzing well in advance of his appearance, as loud chants of “Mariano” could be heard while he was warming up. The all-time saves leader entered the game in the top of the eighth inning with runners on first and second and one out. The Yankees had the recorded voice of former public address announcer Bob Sheppard introduce him as he trotted in from the bullpen. Meanwhile, the Rays were all standing in front of the dugout clapping for him. It was quite a scene.

Rivera induced a fly out from Delmon Young and got a comebacker from Sam Fuld to end the eighth inning. He then walked back out to the mound one last time in the ninth and got Jose Lobaton on a comebacker and Yunel Escobar on a pop-up to second base. We then saw his two long-time teammates, Derek Jeter and Andy Pettitte, come out to make the pitching change. Not sure it could be handled any better than that. Rivera was in tears as he left the mound at Yankee Stadium for the final time. Now that’s a moment. Just in case there was any doubt, baseball is pretty cool.

You can watch video of Rivera’s introduction below:

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And here’s the scene as Rivera was greeted by Jeter and Pettitte before leaving the mound. It’s getting a little dusty in here.

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Pitch clock cut minor league games by 25 minutes to 2:38

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NEW YORK — Use of pitch clocks cut the average time of minor league games by 25 minutes this year, a reduction Major League Baseball hopes is replicated when the devices are installed in the big leagues next season.

The average time of minor league games dropped to 2 hours, 38 minutes in the season that ended Wednesday, according to the commissioner’s office. That was down from 3:03 during the 2021 season.

Clocks at Triple-A were set at 14 seconds with no runners on base and 19 with runners. At lower levels, the clocks were at 18 seconds with runners.

Big league nine-inning games are averaging 3:04 this season.

MLB announced on Sept. 9 that clocks will be introduced in the major leagues next year at 15 seconds with no runners and 20 seconds with runners, a decision opposed by the players’ association.

Pitchers are penalized a ball for violating the clock. In the minors, violations decreased from an average of 1.73 per game in the second week to 0.41 in week 24.

There will be a limit of two pickoff attempts or stepoffs per plate appearance, a rule that also was part of the minor league experiment this season. A third pickoff throw that is not successful would result in a balk.

Stolen bases increased to an average of 2.81 per game from 2.23 in the minors this year and the success rate rose to 78% from 68%.

Many offensive measurements were relatively stable: runs per team per game increased to 5.13 from 5.11 and batting average to .249 from .247.

Plate appearances resulting in home runs dropped to 2.7% from 2.8%, strikeouts declined to 24.4% from 25.4% and walks rose to 10.5% from 10.2%. Hit batters remained at 1.6%.