MIAMI -- Jose Fernandez appeared in his first All-Star Game as one of baseball's best young arms as Major League Baseball bid farewell to one of its greatest in Yankees closer Mariano Rivera.
The all-time saves leader took the field alone in the eighth to sounds of "Enter Sandman," a moment Fernandez said he will never forget.
"It was incredible," Fernandez said. "I think that he deserves that and more than that. Everybody respects him in the game. Everybody knows who he is. He's consistent. And that's what you want to be in this game.
"You want to be respected. You want all of the respect from everybody and go out there and do what you do. I really look up to him, and it was incredible. It was incredible. … I think that was the best part of my experience in the All-Star Game."
Marlins manager Mike Redmond, who spent part of the All-Star break with former Marlins third baseman Mike Lowell, said the two discussed Rivera's tribute. Redmond believed letting Rivera take the field alone was a special honor for the future Hall of Famer.
"That stuff just doesn't happen in the game," Redmond said. "For that moment to happen where everyone walks off the field and truly gives a guy the spotlight, I've never seen that before.
"I think that was a testament to not only the pitcher he is, but the person and the competitor and the way that he carried himself so humbly throughout his career. Just went out there, did his job. He's just a great role model and great ambassador for the game of baseball. This guy did it all. He did it right. He's a Hall of Famer."
Left fielder Juan Pierre, the only current Marlins player who has faced Rivera, said how the Yankees closer was treated is not standard for great players.
"You don't honor a person that's a jerk and all that stuff even if he does have good numbers," Pierre said. "[Rivera's] a class person, and you can see how guys respond to him, the peers of him and the older generation. It's good to see a guy like him that's done things by the book, does things right and get honored for it."
Joe Morgan is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.