Results tagged ‘ Mariano Rivera ’
In the midst of the devastation Hurricane Sandy brought last week, the New York Yankees and their fans received some good news. On Thursday, relief pitcher Mariano Rivera, the best closer of this or any other generation announced he was coming back for (presumably) his 19th season in the Bronx. Details of a contract have not been worked out but we are all hoping for a quick resolution so we can resume watching one of baseball’s true legends.
When I first heard this news, Spring Training could not get here fast enough for me. That and the fact as I look out my window, I see the first snow of the Fall/Winter. Anyway, it would have been a real shame to have Rivera’s career end due to a freak knee injury and the last image of Mo on a field is him being loaded onto a cart in Kansas City. While Rafael Soriano pitched great in Rivera’s absence, better than anyone could imagine, it wasn’t the same Yankees without Rivera standing on the mound in the 9th inning getting ready to wrap up another victory. On a personal note, Mo began his big league career in 1995, the same year I graduated college. There aren’t too many players left whose playing days extend back that far. I suppose his continuing to play allows me to think back to the days of darker hair and less responsibility.
2013 will give us at least one last look at a pitcher the likes we will never see again. No one has had the dominance of Rivera and to have done it for so long is truly remarkable. Sure, guys like Rollie Fingers, Rich Gossage, Bruce Sutter, Dan Quisenberry and Lee Smith may have had better seasons relative to their workloads but their period was shorter than the soon-to-be 43-year-old hurler. More recently, Dennis Eckersley, John Smoltz and Eric Gagne had a dominating individual seasons, better than any of Mo’s but their runs were much smaller. Even Trevor Hoffman, who was great for so long, has a career ERA a half run higher than Rivera’s. Think about this. In a nine-year span from 2003 to 2011, Rivera’s ERA was under 2.00 eight times. Now that is an impressive stat one that should be repeated many times as opposed to one showing how many saves Mo had for guys whose last name began with an “S”.
144 days until Opening Day
Follow me On Twitter @ltj41 and covering the Arizona Diamondbacks at http://venomstrikes.com
Yes it is true. It will be quite strange not seeing Mariano Rivera close games for the Yankees in 2012. His time as the New York relief ace has spanned three Presidents, four Summer Olympics and countless technological innovations. So instead of reflecting back on his career like so many have today, let us concentrate on the present and what this means for the Bronx Bombers this season.
While his injury is severe, the impact on the Yankees, at least in the regular season will not be as great as people think. Plenty of teams have lost their closers before the season has started or early on and still enjoyed a taste of the playoffs. There were the 2010 Minnesota Twins who did not have Joe Nathan at all yet still won 94 games and the AL Central title. Last year’s Cardinals watched Ryan Franklin, who notched 66 saves between 2009 and 2010, lose his effectiveness in April. All they did was win the World Series. This season, the Rays have not had Kyle Farnsworth this season yet that has not prevented them from having a fast start. No, the Yankees will miss Rivera if they make the postseason. The security of knowing a guy has done it for 15 years, through every playoff series is gone. No longer will Yankee fans feel safe after 7 or 8 innings. It doesn’t matter if David Robertson and Rafael Soriano give up 0 runs each the rest of the year, neither of them are the great Rivera.
Losing Rivera is not the biggest problem for the Yankees. Manager Joe Girardi continuing to bat Robinson Cano behind Mark Teixeria and Alex Rodriguez will become the biggest headache for New York fans. Cano is clearly the best hitter on the team; he needs to bat third every single game. Thursday’s game against the Royals epitomized this. In the top of the 9th with the Yanks down a run, they had runners on first and second with no one out. Texeria proceeds to ground into a double play and Rodriguez taps out to end the game. Cano was left standing in the on deck circle. Unacceptable.
I am not going to close the curtain on Mariano Rivera’s career yet. That is for another time and place. Now is not the time to do it. Wait until Mo decides its time. Of all the players in sports, shouldn’t he be the one to decide when it’s over?
Follow me on Twitter @ltj41 and covering the Arizona Diamondbacks at www.venomstrikes.com