What Mariano Rivera Means to Me

Today, Mariano Rivera officially announced that he will retire at the end of the 2013 MLB season. The move is not surprising to many, as the 43 year old has stated his desire to be with his family more, as well as do additional work with his church. Rivera stated his desire to retire at the end of last year, but when Rivera tore his ACL in his right knee while shagging fly balls in Kansas City, he vowed he wouldn’t go out like that. I am glad that Rivera kept his promise, and I expect him to be nothing less but stellar this season.

Moooo

Rivera stated his desire to win. Rivera has always been known as a quiet guy, but he has the burning desire inside of him to win at all costs, much like his teammate, Derek Jeter. Rivera hopes to be pitching that final out for the Yankees in the World Series, and go out like Ray Lewis just this past year with the Raven; as a legend and the best ever.

Mariano Rivera is the greatest closer of all time. I know it, you know it, and even rival fans know it. Lets list some reasons as to why:

  • Rivera currently has 608 saves, the most of all time and seven more than second place Trevor Hoffman. Here is record setting save 602.
  • Rivera has a postseason ERA of .70 over 141 innings of baseball!(Credit: Ian O’Connor)
  • Rivera has the most postseason saves in MLB history with 42.
  • He was instrumental to the Yankees steadiness of success since 1996, and helped the team win five World Series Championships (96,98,99,00,09)
  • Hitters knew what pitch was coming every single time, and yet many could never hit Rivera’s amazing signature Cutter.
  • Rivera is as great a person off the field as he is on it. It ranges from Brian Cashman saying “despite his success, he has never changed once,” to people saying he goes out of his way to greet fans and longtime Yankee employees. In a game of scandal and cheaters, Rivera has quietly dominated in one of the most intense markets in the world. Rivera would never wear a crooked hat, or rip out his shirt after a save. Just a quiet, classy individual who respects the game, and the Yankees way.
  • With his retirement, Rivera will be the final person to ever wear number 42. Jackie Robinson’s widow, Rachel Robinson, called Rivera worthy of wearing 42 and is glad he will be the one to carry the number into retirement. At the time of Rivera choosing the number, he didn’t  know what 42 meant to baseball. Overtime, as his English and knowledge of the game grew, he learned of the sacrifices Jackie Robinson made.

4212-238x300

People tend to forget that Rivera is human, and has his share of blowing a save or two, which is shocking every time. I remember being in 6th grade watching the 2001 World Series between the Yankees and Diamondbacks. With 9/11 still etched into my brain, as well as the brains of the country, I was watching every game hoping the Yankees won it for the city. When Rivera blew that save in 2001, I admit, being that young I didn’t have that emotional attachment to the game I do now. If I was my current age back then and I watched that game, I would have been depressed for weeks. Still, seeing Rivera blow that save as a kid was shocking, and it definitely hurt not to win that one for the city and area that was affected by the attacks.

2001-World-Series-pictureThe greats are human too.

I was emotionally invested in baseball by 2004 though, and Red Sox fans can always thank Rivera for blowing Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS. That infamous game is what got the Sox started on their epic four game winning streak, which erased a 0-3 deficit. After that series, I was sick to my stomach. It was hard watching the Sox go on to win the World Series, especially cause you felt that the Yankees could have definitely beaten the St. Louis Cardinals that year.  Still, credit where credit is due.

Other than some blown saves here or there, Rivera has been nothing but amazing. He is the definition of clutch, and a legend to the baseball world. Red Sox fans have thrown heaps of praise and respect towards him, as they should. Put the rivalry and hatred aside and you can respect great players on other teams.

cutterOne pitch.

Being at Game 6 of the 2009 World Series at the new Yankees Stadium was truly an unbelievable experience, and one I will treasure for the rest of my life. The game was capped off perfectly, with Rivera coming into the ninth inning to make those three important saves. When the bullpen doors open, and Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” starts to blare over the loudspeakers, it really sends a chill through your body. Even before the top of the ninth began, many could feel the game was over. And when Mariano Rivera got Shane Victorino for the final out, I knew I had just seen history.

(Note: Videos above I didn’t take, just examples)

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Mariano Rivera will look to add to his save total this season, and it is great he can go out and retire on his own terms. He is a certain first ballot Hall of Famer, and if he doesn’t get in somehow due to these old, crazed sports writers, then they should all be fired. Still, being the greatest closer ever, and doing it on and off the field with humbleness and high character just shows what type of person he truly is. It is too bad I will potentially have a kid who won’t be able to watch and appreciate this mans career, because Rivera is certainly someone I would want my sport to watch and idolize, despite what sport he or she plays. 

I will truly miss Mariano Rivera once the 2013 season ends. It is one of the last remaining links to the dynasty years, and almost all of my childhood Yankees are now retired. The Yankees have a lot of uncertainty in the near future, but lets just focus on this year and use 2013 to celebrate one of the best baseball careers ever.

Baltimore+Orioles+v+New+York+Yankees+4qzceB4d937l

mariano-rivera

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