Let me start this by saying I’m not anywhere close to being a Yankees fan.
I never have been. I never will be.
Most Yankees, I can honestly say, I don’t like. I’m not a fan of Derek Jeter. Definitely not A-Rod. There are many who have come through (Bernie Williams, Jorge Posada, Andy Pettitte etc.) who I didn’t like on the field, but away from the game I couldn’t care less about. It’s one of those things.
Then there’s Mo.
Without doubt, Mariano Rivera is the greatest closer of all-time. As a fan of baseball — and its history — it’s tough not to be a fan of Rivera, unless of course he’s entering the game against your team.
But it’s hard not to appreciate what he’s done and what he’s meant to the game.
His dominance is bar none. By all reports, he’s a class act in the clubhouse and off the field. Heck, look at how he handled his retirement year. He talked with people at each city he visited this year. Heck. every team did something special for him, too.
If that doesn’t tell you something about how classy he is, I’m not sure what would.
The stats will speak as they are. The Yankees have one more series — at Houston — to end the year.
Watching the final home game of Rivera’s career on Yes Network was quite wild. His final entrance into the game was incredible, especially with the Yankees having a recording of him being announced by Bob Sheppard.
Have a peek:
But it gets better. Again, as a non-fan of the Yankees, I have to tip my hat to this one. He was getting pulled with two outs in the ninth, which makes total sense as it gives him a chance for the full ovation and final tip of the lid. But what made it better was not Joe Girardi going out and getting him, rather sending Jeter and Pettitte out.
A class act.
Rivera broke down and understandably so. Have a look:
At the end of the game, Rivera stayed in the dugout and as the crowd continued to chant his name, he slowly walked out to the mound. He kicked some dirt around, then bent down and scooped it up. He then walked off the field, waving as he did before being interviewed by Yes.
I’ve only ever seen the Yankees live once. It was 2008 and the fifth-to-last game at old Yankee Stadium and we had some awesome seats. In the eighth inning, the Yanks led Chicago, 4-1. With two outs (I believe), A-Rod hit a meaningless home run to make it 5-1.
Rivera, who was warming up, sat down. Insert Edwar Ramirez. I’ve never been so irritated at a baseball game. So, about the best I can say is I saw Mo warming up.
I would have liked to have seen him pitch, alas A-Rod decided it wasn’t to be (another reason to dislike him).
Who knows if Rivera will pitch this weekend. (Honestly, why? His career should end where it did on Thursday night — Yankee Stadium). No matter what, he ends his career as the best closer of all time.
And despite not being a fan of the Yankees, it’s hard to not appreciate all of this. It’s history and if you love the game, you had to love this.
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Thanks for this post. I have been a Yankee fan since I was a little kid. Rooted for then through all the bad years and all the recent good ones. Mariano is by far the best ever and one of the nicest and classiest guys in the game. Heck, he and his wife are going to build a church or something I read after he retires. That was an amazing scene last night and he deserved all the adulation.
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Yeah, I don’t think it’s one church. I think its a foundation he’s with and I think there is more than one! He’s truly one of those who will be missed from the game. Cooperstown will be crowded when he’s up in five years!
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Paul Myers says
You are correct in saying there are so many reasons to dislike A-Rod, and your experience just added another straw to the proverbial camel’s back. Great videos of a great closer. Too bad he had to pitch for the Yankees.
Paul Myers recently posted..The Jeffrey Pine tree
On A-Rod — yes, indeed.
As for Mariano — I don’t think he would have been as great without being on the Yankees, to be honest. As much as I hate to say it. He was part of that “Core Four” and things fell into place. Remember, he was a starter. Some other team may have let him flop and do nothing. With the Yanks, it all fell into place.