I hope everyone won’t mind a brief moment to contemplate some sadness in my sports world.
I always thought I would be a bit sad to see Mariano Rivera retire. But in the same sense I thought it would be a happy moment, a celebration of the past 15 years, replete with championships and records, and the winning smile and attitude even his competitors couldn’t knock.
We had hints that this might be the last year, and I was at peace with that. But, not like this.
He tore it doing something he absolutely loves, shagging fly balls in the outfield during warmups. It’s something I’ve seen him do every Yankees game I’ve ever attended. I remember my first game at the new Yankee Stadium, where after he would catch a fly ball he would throw it on the net over monument park, just a little tease since we couldn’t get to those valuable souvenirs unless it rolled just right. He always bugs Girardi about letting him play just one inning in the outfield. And, if anyone could pull it off, the greatest closer in MLB history could.
Mariano has been part of the core of Yankees I grew up with. He represents everything right about sports, something I doubt anyone would dispute. I never envisioned I’d be cheering for him 15 years later, and so I’ve had more than my fair share of memories. I’m prepared for a bit of those great memories to retire with Mo, as sad as that seems for a kid that grew up to love this core of Yankee veterans, having no idea they would be as great as they were when we started on this road.
But, for Mariano (and, of course, a bit for me), it just seemed right he should go out on his terms.
He deserves that.
And now, if that’s to be the case, he’ll need to complete a painful rehab from a devastating injury for someone 42 years of age.