Friday, June 01, 2018


Mariano Rivera attends White House Sports and Fitness Day


Above, 5/30/18, via DougMillsnyt twitter


Saturday, April 14, 2018


Mo likes Chick-fil-A: Mariano Rivera is often in Wilmington, Delaware for his charitable activities and is a fan of Chick-fil-A

"When Gandia [Executive Director of the Mariano Rivera Foundation] and her husband retired as missionaries, they decided to stay in Delaware. They liked that it was small and close to New York, Philadelphia and Washington. "I really love the people. We could have left, but we decided let's just retire here," said Gandia, who is also a fan of the Chick-fil-A not far from her home, as is Rivera."

4/13/2018, "Famed Yankees reliever Mariano Rivera finds his charitable home in Delaware," The News Journal,, Ryan Cormier
"Based out of an office in Stanton, the Mariano Rivera Foundation has worked to give back to Delaware through donations to churches, backpack giveaways and an upcoming 5k and Kids Run. Daniel Sato/The News Journal"

"For more than a decade, famed New York Yankees reliever Mariano Rivera has been quietly giving in Delaware.

Until last year's most public gesture — a backpack giveaway in Wilmington's Rodney Square for about 400 children — much of his First State work had been under the radar.

The month after the Yankees beat the Philadelphia Phillies in the 2009 World Series with Rivera himself tossing the final pitch, he was in a Georgetown church donating more than $50,000 from his private Mariano Rivera Foundation, which he founded two decades ago.

Since then, baseball's all-time save leader has been busily helping First Staters in need by giving away hundreds of backpacks stuffed with school supplies and thousands of turkey dinners, even going door-to-door one year.

So what's with the Panamanian pitcher's affinity for Delaware?

The executive director of the public Mariano Rivera Foundation, Naomi Gandia, happens to live near Newark [Delaware] with her husband, Mario, a retired bishop. They also happen to be Rivera's lifelong "spiritual" parents, although Gandia publicly shies away from discussing their personal connection.

When Rivera decided to retire in 2013, the Yankees and teams across the league wanted to donate during his retirement tour, so he created a public version of his foundation for underprivileged children.

That's when his mostly private work began to become more public, leading to the realization that his foundation needed a headquarters, now in a co-working office park near Christiana Mall.

Next month, the foundation will host its biggest Delaware event yet when Rivera himself returns to host the Mariano Rivera Foundation 5K and Kids Run on May 19 in Wilmington's Canby Park to help raise funds for next year's backpack giveaway and other programs.

The first race, which was held last year in Garnet Valley, Pennsylvania, raised $42,000 for the man who wore No. 42 on his back.

A man of God raised by a Christian evangelical family, the self-educated Rivera quietly gave 10 percent of his Yankees contracts back to his private foundation, Gandia said, along with every penny from his endorsement deals.

When Rivera was in Rodney Square last summer, he explained where his drive to help comes from and why he does much of it in Delaware, pointing to the Gandias.

"The Lord has blessed me with a lot and to remember where I came from, I just have to give back," he said to a group of local reporters. "Delaware is a special place for me. ... My spiritual parents live here — the people who have loved me, taken care of me and have been there for me. We're always looking for stuff to do here for the kids."

This new public push makes both Rivera and Gandia uncomfortable, even though it will likely mean more donations.

Even so, Gandia points not to herself or her husband for Rivera's giving. She said it was the late Yankees owner George Steinbrenner who helped instill Rivera's altruism.

Steinbrenner — the man known as the Boss in New York media for his brash style — also had a softer, charitable side that went mostly unreported because he stipulated that his donations be private. 

He also founded the Silver Shield Foundation in 1982, a nonprofit that pays for the education of children of New York firefighters and police officers killed in the line of duty.

Steinbrenner had been quoted often as saying, "If you do something good for someone, and more than two people know about it, you didn't do it for the right reason."

"Mariano took that very seriously and, of course, we've always been giving, so it felt right with us," she said. "That's how we became the Mariano Rivera Foundation and gave and gave and gave. And we're still giving.

Silberglied has seen Gandia and Rivera, 48, torn between keeping their charity secret and making it known. As he puts it, "It's an interesting conundrum. Giving on a personal basis and not saying too much is very meaningful, but you also get to give more if you publicize it."

Adds Gandia, "We are not here to make a name for ourselves or lift up Mariano Rivera. We're here to lift up the people. And we realize you have to let the people in need know that you're here."

The foundation focuses on education for underprivileged children through scholarships, back-to-school backpack events, holiday food drives and monetary contributions. Foundation events have been held everywhere from New Jersey and Florida to Panama and Puerto Rico.

Silberglied said the foundation is as hands-on as it gets. Rivera, Rivera's wife Clara and their children, along with Gandia, Silberglied and others, all volunteer their time. As a small, nimble charity, they follow their heart in deciding who to help.

Wilmington, 2017
Children eat snacks at the Mariano Rivera Foundation's backpack giveaway in Wilmington's Rodney Square last year. (Photo: Courtesy of Mariano Rivera Foundation)

For the past several years, the Riveras have all have been in Delaware for their annual turkey giveaway – a meal that comes with all the trimmings. They did one event on the Riverfront, and last year's giveaway was held at the William "Hicks" Anderson Community Center in West Center City.

"It was a very festive atmosphere with a lot of pictures being taken, a lot of hugs and a lot of gratitude," said U'Gundi Jacobs, director of the center. "And going into the winter, it helps families who struggle — maybe even letting them save some of those canned goods for a time after they're done with that big, fresh turkey."

Since one church didn't give away its vouchers in 2016, the whole gang went door to door offering the dinners to random families, even stopping cars and making the offer.

Gandia remembers one woman in her late 20s with four children who opened her door and was utterly shocked by the generosity, as well as the timing for her family.

She kept saying, "Oh my God, oh my God," before asking for a hug while sobbing.

"She told me, 'You don't understand. We don't have any food in this house. What you are giving me is for the rest of the week,'" Gandia remembered.

The woman then asked if there was any other food left over. She knew a friend around the block in need. Soon, they were all marching up the block and delivering another dinner. 

"And that woman literally jumped and yelled, 'I have food! I have food!' And that's need right here in Wilmington," Gandia said.

Gandia, whose missionary work with her husband brought her everywhere from California and Vermont to Peru and South America, moved to Delaware in the mid- to late 1980s. They began working with small groups and were drawn to the people at Georgetown's Iglesia de Dios de la Profecia (Church of God of Prophecy).

"They were so needy at the time," she said of the church, which had only a handful of people when they first met and is now building a multimillion-dollar facility with help from the foundation. "When we go there, it's like homecoming. They call me Grandma and call my husband Grandpa."

During their 2009 church visit with Rivera — a visit that turned out to be a lot more public than other visits — the giving didn't stop with the foundation's $50,000 donation.

Gandia told Rivera they should start an offering because there were so many people in attendance. She said she then challenged him to see who could raise more, ending up with about $75,000 — a number than included a personal contribution from Rivera. 

When Gandia and her husband retired as missionaries, they decided to stay in Delaware. They liked that it was small and close to New York, Philadelphia and Washington. 

"I really love the people. We could have left, but we decided let's just retire here," said Gandia, who is also a fan of the Chick-fil-A not far from her home, as is Rivera.

She still remembers the first time she brought Rivera to Christiana Mall while he was still with the Yankees. A young boy noticed him and followed them for a while before asking Gandia if he would take a photo.

"We literally had to run out of the mall," she laughed at the memory.

These days, Gandia is building a team around her at the foundation as she slowly steps away from running it. After that, she plans to live happily in Delaware, but Rivera, who lives in New York,
has other ideas.

"He has these big plans that when we really, really retire, that we're going to live with them," she said. "The only way I would move out of here is if I get Alzheimer's, don't know what's happening and they take me. I just love this place.""

Contact Ryan Cormier of The News Journal at or (302) 324-2863. Follow him on Facebook (@ryancormier), Twitter (@ryancormier) and Instagram (@ryancormier).


What: Mariano Rivera Foundation 5K & Kids Run
When: May 19, 9 a.m.
Where: Canby Park, 1706 Oak St., Wilmington
Cost: $20 for adults and $10 for kids under 18. On May 1, adult pricing jumps to $25 and $15 for kids.
Sign-up: Spectators are also asked to sign up. If you do, you can buy a half-price T-shirt.
To donate:


The Mariano Rivera Foundation representatives will be at Frawley Stadium for Sunday's Wilmington Blue Rocks game at 1:35 p.m. as part of Jackie Robinson Day. All Blue Rocks players will wear No. 42, and their Brooklyn Dodgers-style jerseys will be auctioned during the game with proceeds going to the foundation."


Saturday, October 28, 2017


Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen meets Mariano Rivera at World Series game 4 in Houston, 10/28/17


10/28/17, At World Series game 4 in Houston: "The moment Kenley Jansen meets his idol, Mariano Rivera," ESPN writer, Marly Rivera. World Series game 4, Dodgers vs Astros


Thursday, October 26, 2017


Mariano is back in the White House for Trump opioid effort


10/26/17, "Former New York Yankees baseball pitcher Mariano Rivera, left, shakes hands with President Donald Trump, right, who was speaking on the opioid crisis in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 26, 2017. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)" via 

10/26/17, "Former New York Yankees baseball pitcher Mariano Rivera, left, applauds as he listens to President Donald Trump, right, speak on combating drug demand and the opioid crisis in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 26, 2017. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)"


Added: 3/29/17, Mariano Rivera at white House meeting, will participate in Trump effort against opioid abuse:

3/29/17, "Mariano Rivera introduces himself at WH opioid event and Trump quickly jumps in: "Oh they could use you now! I think you'd make $100M/yr now!"" Mar 29

Right to left, Trump, NJ Gov. Chris Christie, Trump son in law Jared Kushner, Rivera, and Fla. AG Pam Bondi (per her name card on the table): "President Trump has appointed Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi to a commission to help fight opioid abuse on a national level....In a statement, Florida’s Attorney General thanked the President as well as New Jersey Governor Chris Christie—who will chair the panel—for caring about what she calls “a deadly epidemic,” adding thousands of Americans die each year from drug overdoses." 

3/30/17, "Former Yankees closer Mariano Rivera joins Trump's opioid listening group," USA Today Sports

"Former Yankees great Mariano Rivera was summoned to the White House on Wednesday. (No word on whether “Enter Sandman” played when Rivera stepped into the West Wing.) Rivera, who retired after the 2013 season as baseball’s all-time saves leader (652),"...

[Ed. note: Rivera also had 42 post season "saves" over his 141 grueling post season innings for an actual "all time saves" total of 694. His 141 post season innings amount to an additional two years of relief work at 70 innings per year, sandwiched within the calendar years of his regular season stats but not mentioned in this article. It may be technically correct per MLB rules to continue to omit Rivera's post season work when reporting the "all time saves leader" stat, but why would you want to? Why would you want to cheat anyone out of a vast body of work? Why not at least change the name of the stat to something other than "all time" since "regular season only" isn't "all time?" Rivera pitched into November twice, 2001 and 2009. Shorter off seasons meant less time recovering while other relievers were sitting on the couch resting up to pad the next year's regular season stats.]
(continuing): "was in Washington D.C. for a listening session on Trump’s newly created opioid commission. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a devoted Mets fan, is leading the group, which was created to fight a growing opioid addiction problem in the U.S.

Rivera is a philanthropist these days and leads the Mariano Rivera Foundation, which supports community-based organizations. The group specifically focuses on education, health and social and economic development, according to its website, One of its biggest projects to date was renovating a church in New Rochelle, N.Y., in 2014.

Trump steered the conversation to baseball when introducing Rivera but offered no specifics on what role the closer might play on the committee.

“Oh, they could use you now,” Trump said of the Yankees. “You know, I think you’d make $100 million a year right now…I watched for many years, Mariano. I’d sit with George (Steinbrenner), and George always felt good when Mariano was throwing.”"  "The Associated Press contributed to this report."


Washington Post:

3/30/17, "Now THIS is the art of the deal: Trump sees Mariano Rivera making $100 million a year now," Washington Post, Cindy Boren

"Mariano Rivera, the New York Yankees’ all-time great closer, made a trip to the White House, where the thoughts of a president who happens to be a big league Yankees fan turned quickly to his other passion: deals. The number President Trump was thinking of? $100 million. Yowser.

That’s one way to break the ice. Rivera, who was representing his foundation at an opioid-awareness discussion that also featured Yankee fan/Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.), [NJ has many Yankee fans, but Gov. Christie is a Mets fan] had just introduced himself to the assembled group when Trump couldn’t resist.

“We could use you now,” Trump joked. “I think you’d make 100 million a year right now.”

That brought a smile to Rivera’s face and laughs around the table. Trump went on to reminisce about the times he spent with the team’s late owner, George Steinbrenner, and how Rivera always delivered.

“He threw the heaviest pitch,” Trump said. “You made the ball like it weighed 30 pounds.” But…back to that $100 million deal.

Trump was kidding, we think, but who wouldn’t want to hear “Enter Sandman” and see Rivera, who will turn (gulp) 48 in November, take those first steps, do a quick skip at the warning track and trot to the mound again? Never mind that Rivera, baseball’s all-time saves leader, pretty much left it all on the field when he walked away in 2013. We can dream.

“Now is the time,” Rivera said in the spring of 2013. “I have given everything, and the time is almost ending. The thing that I have, the little gas I have left is everything for this year. After that, I’ll empty everything. There’s nothing left. I did everything, and I’m proud of it. That’s why it’s time.”"


Monday, October 09, 2017


Mariano Rivera throws ceremonial first pitch of ALDS game 4 at the Stadium

10/9/17, "Mariano Rivera throws out the ceremonial first pitch before Game 4 of the ALDS," Andrew Marchand, ESPN

10/9/17, ALDS game 4, Cleveland Indians at NY Yankees


10/9/2017, "Mariano Rivera threw out the first pitch before ALDS Game 4 and, naturally, it was a cutter,", Michael Clair

"Mariano Rivera is arguably the greatest reliever and postseason pitcher of all-time. And he managed to do it with just one pitch: His magical cutter. So, when he was called to throw out the first pitch before the Yankees' must-win Game 4 of the ALDS presented by Doosan, he went back to the well....

Just look at that: In jeans and four years after his last big league pitch and he's still got that thing moving all over the place."



"When the Yankees blew an 8-3 lead in Game 2 of the ALDS after Joe Girardi prematurely pulled CC Sabathia, the outcry was considerable — as if Girardi’s decision was abnormal. But he has been illogically bullpen-dependent since Mariano Rivera retired in 2013!"...

10/12/17, "MLB managers earn the bullpen-happy infamy they deserve," NY Post, Phil Mushnick


Friday, September 01, 2017


Late break means "not much break." Using Rivera's cutter as an example, the difference between no break and actual break is small enough at 20 feet that the batter can't perceive it. 35% of the total break is too small to perceive-Baseball Prospectus, Emeritus Physics Prof. Alan Nathan, March 2013

March 26, 2013, "BP Unfiltered: Is "Late Break" Real?" Baseball Prospectus, by Alan M. Nathan

"Alan Nathan is Professor Emeritus of Physics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. After a long career doing things like measuring the electric and magnetic polarizabilities of the proton and studying the quark structure of nucleons, he now devotes his time and effort to the physics of baseball. He maintains an oft-visited website devoted to that subject:"

"In response to a question posed to me yesterday about late break on a fastball, here is my reply:

I'm not sure I really have much to say about the subject of late break. What I do have to say is summarized in the figure below (click to expand), showing Mariano Rivera throwing his cutter.

"The solid curve is the actual trajectory, taken from PITCHf/x data. The dotted curve is a straight line projected from the release direction. The two curves look pretty nearly identical until about 20 feet from home plate, which is just about the point of no return for the batter. The ball deviates from the straight-line path at that point and ends up with about 0.5 feet (6") of movement, so the pitch that looks like it might hit the corner ends up 6" off the plate (and breaks the bat of a left-handed hitter, a rather common occurrence for Mo). 

So, did the ball break late? No, it did not. The break is actually continuous, starting from when the ball is released. However, in this case the break was so little that the ball did not show any appreciable deviation from a straight line until the point of no return.

What does physics have to say about this? Physics says that the amount of break (assuming a constant force that causes the break) is proportional to the square of the flight time. Or in our case, proportional to the square of the distance from release. In the present case, the total deflection of the ball from 50 feet to 20 feet is about 35 percent of the total break from 50 feet to zero feet. The latter is 6", so the former is about 2". If you look very carefully at the trajectories in the figure, you should be able to see that there might be about a 2" difference between the solid and dotted curves at 20 feet. PITCHf/x tells us that essentially all pitches should have this behavior: Namely, the deviation from a straight line between 50 and 20 feet will be about 35 percent of the deviation between 50 and zero feet.

So, what is late break? In my view, late break actually means "not much break," meaning that the difference between no break and actual break is small enough at 20 feet that the batter can't perceive it. That is, 35 percent of the total break is too small to perceive. The Rivera pitch is an example of that." image from BP

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Tuesday, August 15, 2017


Mariano Rivera distributes backpacks and school supplies to kids in Wilmington, Delaware

8/14/17, "Yankees legend 'pitches' in to help Wilmington students prep for Opening Day," (AM/FM), Sean Greene

"Much as he secured 662 saves in his Major League career, Mariano Rivera gave Wilmington children a great finish to summer with a backpack giveaway Monday."...

[Ed. note: Per Baseball Reference, Mo had 652 regular season 'saves' and 42 post season 'saves' for a total of 694 total career saves. He also had a few 'saves' in his All Star game appearances. The 'save' stat doesn't well describe the difference Rivera made. Pitching in the post season is great, but among other things it means you have shorter off seasons. While he was working under the brightest lights against the game's best, other relievers were relaxing on the couch resting up to pad the next year's regular season stats. Rivera twice pitched into November (2001 and 2009).]

(continuing): "Rivera, a future Hall-of-Fame member of the New York Yankees stopped at Rodney Square, taking some time to throw a few cut (wiffle) fastballs, and stocking up students with back-to-school essentials.

Born in Panama, Rivera started his first foundation 19 years ago to help education efforts for impoverished families in both the United States and abroad.

Last year, Rivera opened up the Public Foundation here in Delaware, that focuses on youth-oriented programs through education, health, social, and economic development.

"It's a passion of mine. The Lord as blessed me as a lot, and I remember where I came from. I have to give back. That's what really pulls at my heart, to give back to the community, and help as much as I can. Delaware is a special place for me."

But why Delaware? The 19-year veteran closed 2 of the Yankees victories over Wilmington's beloved Phillies in the 2009 World Series, and while there were "NY" hats at Rodney Square, there would surely be more at Times Square.

"My spiritual parents live here. The people who have loved me, and taken care of me, and who have been there for me. When we come here, we're always looking for things to do for the kids here. They're the people we want to bless."

Before the volunteers handed out the backpacks, Rivera gave a half-dozen of the kids a chance to hit two pitches off of him.

Kevin Beaver of Trainer, Pennsylvania smacked a solid shot to win the contest, but said afterwards he hadn't seen Rivera pitch before.

Perhaps a sign of baseball's popularity declining, but goodwill gestures never will. Rivera closed out the appearance with plenty of smiles for students that are one step closer to being ready for their school's Opening Day." image from WDEL AM/FM

Added: "Mariano Rivera Foundation Gives Backpacks to Delaware Children," newsworks

8/14/17, "Baseball icon gives backpacks, supplies to Wilmington students,"


UPDATE: 8/24/17, Backpacks for needy kids stolen in New Rochelle, NY. New Rochelle Daily Voice says Mo will host the giveaway: "Despite the thievery, the backpack giveaway, hosted by Yankee legend Mariano Rivera is still scheduled for Saturday afternoon at New Rochelle City Hall." Despite Rivera's scheduled appearance it sounds like the group who paid for, assembled, and stored the backpacks in this instance was Hope Community Services, not Mo's foundation.

8/24/17, "Back-to-school backpacks for needy students stolen in New Rochelle,", Colleen Wilson

"About 250 backpacks filled with school supplies for needy students have been stolen from the storage space of a local nonprofit.

The bags, which were valued at about $10,000, are part of an annual drive to raise money and school supplies for local economically disadvantaged students.

Carol Troum, executive director of Hope Community Services, said they suspect the break-in took place Monday night or Tuesday morning.

"We were so upset and so angry," Troum said. "It made me so sad."

After discovering the bags were missing, Troum said they called city police, who sent two officers and, later, detectives, who are doing an investigation.

Since news of the stolen bags surfaced, which was first reported by CBS New York on Wednesday afternoon, Troum said they have received an outpouring of support from the community, with people offering to donate new supplies or money.

"As we were feeling so horrible this morning, the phones started ringing off the hook," Troum said. 

"It was just so gratifying. Instead of focusing on the bad guys who stole from us, we have this wonderful feeling of community support it really is amazing — it kind of restores your faith in people."

If you want to help, call Hope Community Services at 914-636-4010."


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