Saturday, March 9, 2013

Exit Sandman....

This morning at 10:00 o'clock the great Yankees closer Mariano Rivera shall formally announce that the 2013 season shall be his final one.  Given the spate of injuries that has befallen the Bombers since camp opened and the fact that with each passing day their lineup takes on the look of one that would have difficulty defeating Petaluma, California to win the American championship at the Little League World Series - let alone the Red Sox, Blue Jays, Rays and O's in the American League East, Mo might be thinking that once the season starts we might not get to see too much of him.  Figures he should break the news to everyone while we still all remember what he looks like. 
He shall leave at season's end as the most important player on the best and last dynasty that Major League Baseball has seen in its post-strike era.  I smile thinking back to him - skin and bones and ears - in the 1995 Division Series when he seemed to be the only Yankees pitcher impervious to the Mariners' pounding bats.  In the two decades since some flesh has been added to those bones, some of the hair has gone and what he possesses between those ears has remained rock solid.  What he has done on the field has been nothing short of historical.  He is the best big-money, impossible spot, simply have to have this reliever baseball has ever seen.  Someday a guy might come along to eclipse him.  And someday a guy might be elected Prime Minister of Israel and Pope in the same lifetime.  The former is as preposterous as the latter.  I assure you.
I have a very good friend of mine who is a lifelong, die-hard Red Sox fan.  While he has spent the past almost two decades rooting for Mo to fail in a big spot against his Sox - and going to bed far more often than not profoundly disappointed - Rivera has never been a Yankee for whom he has felt any animosity.  The manner in which he has always carried himself and gone about his business has made him a player who is impossible to root against.  The Yankees shall miss him when he is gone.  And they will do so not simply for all he has meant to them on the field.  
However the 2013 season ends up for the Yankees (and I have a feeling that Stump Merrill is going to be added to the coaching staff any minute now) I hope it is a successful one, a healthy one and an enjoyable one for Mo.  A class man deserves nothing less. 

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