Sadly, I disagree.  A torn right ACL and meniscus, including the recent discovery of a blood clot in his right calf, will tragically and abruptly put an end to the unmatched 18-year career of 42-year old Mariano “Mo” Rivera.  I say this because even though Mo is strong-willed and was still producing, the always business-minded-first Yankees will use this very timely opportunity to say “goodbye and thank you” after this season ends when Rivera’s current $15M/year contract also expires.  The ninth inning will never be the same for Yankee fans; no more Enter Sandman reverberating through the Stadium, no more smooth confidence on the mound either.  Fresh off his blown save last night against the Rays, enter current Yankee closer heir apparent, 27-year old Alabama native David Robertson!

 

A date for surgery has not yet been scheduled, but Rivera’s doctors want him to first take a couple of weeks to strengthen his sore right leg a little.  Nobody seems to know what caused the blood clot, and if it happened before or after the ACL tear.  In the meantime, Mo will be on blood thinners to dissolve the clot.  Indeed, Rivera has acknowledged that if the leg doesn’t come back strong enough, he will take it as a sign to retire.  Like you, I don’t want my lasting image of Mariano Rivera to be in his warm-ups——collapsed on the Kaufmann Stadium left field warning track.  The 12-time All-Star and 5-time World Series Champion deserves to go out better than this, but not every superstar can leave the game via Hollywood script style.  He did give us all one hell of a show while he was on stage, a stage he owned!  Let me highlight just a few of his incredible career stats:

 

  • 608 saves and 892 games finished (both 1st all-time)
  • 2.21 ERA (13th all-time), 1,219.2 innings pitched with 1,119Ks
  • 0.998 WHIP (2nd all-time), that’s Walks + Hits divided by Innings Pitched.  Many say, including me, that WHIP is the best overall indicator of pitching performance.
  • 89.28% save percentage (1st all-time)
  • 4.04 strikeout-to-walk ratio (4th all-time)
  • Postseason Only: 8-1, 96 games played for pitcher (1st), 0.70 ERA (1st), 42 saves (1st), 34.2 consecutive scoreless innings (1st), 0.76 WHIP (3rd), 141 innings pitched (7th), 110Ks (9th)

 

Mariano Rivera is the only active MLB player that wears No. 42, and quite fittingly he will be the last.  It seems appropriate that this aspect of his imminent retirement will forever connect Rivera with THE groundbreaker of baseball, Jackie Robinson.  I say, just as we did to remember Robinson by re-naming the Rookie-of-the-Year award in his name beginning in 1987, we should also re-name the AL Rolaids Relief Man Award after Mariano Rivera!  Fifteen New York Yankee jersey numbers have been retired in the Stadium’s Monument Park.  Very soon, a second No. 42 will be added (since 1997, Jackie Robinson’s number is retired in ALL MLB ballparks), similar to the two No. 8s (Bill Dickey and Yogi Berra).  Amazingly, Mariano Rivera never won the AL Cy Young Award (finished 2nd once, 3rd three times), or AL MVP (never higher in the voting than 9th).  A perfect example to question the credibility (and sanity) of those MLB voters. 

 

Despite all of his rare achievements, Rivera will BEST be remembered for one thing……his out pitch……the cut fastball (or “cutter”, a slider that has fastball velocity).  Many have called it a “buzzsaw” because of the many bats that have been sawed off attempting to hit it.  Others have said that Rivera’s cutter is “the most dominant pitch of his generation”.  Yankee management should at least make absolutely sure that Mo explains to David Robertson how to throw it!  And, before all you Yankee fans start yelling that no southerner can ever fit in The Bronx, I got two words for ya…….”Louisiana Lightning” (Rod Guidry).  So, get outta here, youz!

 

 

 

 

 

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