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."


Friday, August 04, 2017


Joe Lhota is called "Mariano Rivera of the MTA," rescued MTA and region after Sandy storm-Gothamist, 8/3/17

"(New MTA President) Foye got a standing ovation at a Port Authority board meeting Thursday, calling Lhota the "Mariano Rivera of the MTA" who "literally rescued the MTA and the region after Hurricane Safety." (last parag.)

Aug. 3, 2017, "Lhota Announces New Leadership To Implement Subway Rescue Plan,", Emma Whitford

"Newly-reinstated MTA Chairman Joe Lhota announced the creation of two new top MTA positions on Thursday, to be filled by Pat Foye, previously executive director of the Port Authority, and Ronnie Hakim, who's served as interim MTA executive director since former chair Tom Prendergast retired in January.

Foye, appointed to the Port Authority by Governor Andrew Cuomo in 2011, championed the governor's infrastructure priorities while New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's appointee, John Degnan, pushed for more funding to overhaul Penn Station. In his new post at the MTA, Foye will serve as the MTA's president in a brand new Office of the Chairman. Hakim, who has also previously served as executive director of NJ Transit, will serve as the MTA's managing director.

Foye will be in charge of "innovation and modernization" projects, while Hakim will manage daily subway operations, according to the MTA. Together the two will be responsible for implementing Lhota's recently-announced $800 million subway rescue plan. Lhota, who took his own MTA post unsalaried while remaining Senior Vice President of NYU Langone Medical Center, won't be committing himself full time to the agency.

Janno Lieber, former head of the MTA Capital Construction Company, will also join the Office of the Chairman as Chief Development Officer.

"Pat and Ronnie are veteran transportation professionals who together with Janno form the dynamic team the MTA needs at this moment," Lhota stated Thursday.... 

"I think Pat is a great choice," Andrew Albert, a nonvoting member of the MTA board, told Gothamist. Appointed by the New York City Transit Riders Council, Albert is currently the board's longest standing member. "It's a real one-two-three punch."

Albert, who has been critical of Cuomo's flashy and debt-fueling infrastructure priorities, said that he did not think the appointment of another Cuomo ally would result in further deference to the governor. "I would think that one of the conditions under which Joe Lhota took the job was that he gets to bring in the people he wants and he gets the resources they need," Albert said....

Cuomo, for his part, has spent the last few months flip flopping his MTA messaging, variously denying and demanding control of the transit authority (which he effectively controls). Board members have recently raised the alarm about the MTA's finances. A new $32.5 billion capital plan is projected to increase the MTA's overall debt by $5 billion over the next five-to-seven years: from $38 billion to roughly $43 billion....

Foye got a standing ovation at a Port Authority board meeting Thursday, calling Lhota the "Mariano Rivera of the MTA" who "literally rescued the MTA and the region after Hurricane Safety." Afterwards, the board skipped its customary question-and-answer session with the press."...


Thursday, March 30, 2017


Mariano Rivera at White House meeting, will participate in Trump effort against opioid abuse-3/29/17


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.”"

"Mo's final entrance at Yankee Stadium," Sept. 26, 2013

Trump with Steinbrenner in 1988, ap

3/26/1988, "New York Yankees manager Billy Martin, right, meets developer Donald Trump at Municipal Stadium in West Palm Beach Sat., March 26, 1988. Seated with Trump are his son Donald, 10, with a ball given him by Martin and George Steinbrenner during the game with the Montreal Expos.," AP, Drew. 7/4/13, "Born On The 4th Of July: 16 Photos Of George Steinbrenner," Huffington Post, Chris Greenberg


Sunday, October 16, 2016


Hartford Insurance visits Mariano Rivera's home village in Panama to shoot commercial


From You Tube page, 9/23/16: "Prepare with Mariano Rivera": "Mariano Rivera, legendary New York Yankees closer, tells us how his childhood in Puerto Caimito, Panama prepared him to become one of MLB's greatest players. Part 1 of a 3 part series for The Hartford. Production: Halski Studio"

Here is :30 Rivera "Steady" spot for Hartford:

Posted on You Tube Oct. 10, 2016 

10/15/16, "STL company puts Yankee legend back in MLB playoffs," St. Louis Post Dispatch, Joe Holleman

""The Sandman" is back in the MLB playoffs, and he now delivers his pitch with St. Louis style.
As implausible as it seems, New York Yankee legend Mariano Rivera's latest commercials for The Hartford Insurance Co. were produced and directed by St. Louisans. 

Meg Schicker-Halski, who directed the ads for Halski Studio in Ladue— three one-minute vignettes for online viewing and a 30-second television spot — said shooting took place in July.

Here is the 30-second TV spot already airing in the playoffs [not linked]; the longer pieces are available below:

"We shot the first week in Panama, in Puerto Caimito, which is the tiny fishing village where Mariano grew up," Schicker-Halski said.

"Mariano was a dream to work with, a class act and very confident and friendly," Schicker-Halski said, adding that Mark Halski, her husband and business partner, was the cinematographer and editor on the project. (She, Notre Dame High; he, McCluer North.)

Fellow McCluer North alum Tuan Lee produced the ads and STLer Tim Gebauer composed the score.

Schicker-Halski said several New York production companies also worked on the project. "And they were like, 'how'd you get this job? Why you shooting our guy?'"

Just so happens that local buzzmakers Rodgers Townsend is Hartford's advertising agency, and two of their people, Jake Edinger and Jon Hansen, hired the Halskis.

Schicker-Halski said she told Rivera she was a "die-hard Cardinals fan," and that he appreciated that fact.

"I think he realized we had our heart in project," she said, "that we had a passion for it.""


Thursday, September 29, 2016


Mariano had the single best pitch I've ever faced-David Ortiz, The Players' Tribune, 9/27/16

9/27/16, "Thanks for the Memories, New York," David Ortiz, The Players' Tribune

"But that’s why I’m gonna miss this rivalry so much. Because we were perfect opposites. Everything we had in Boston, New York had an answer for it. 

Manny was the best power hitter I’ve ever seen, but Mariano had the single best pitch I’ve ever faced. Trying to hit for power against Rivera’s cutter was impossible. He broke so many bats that Louisville Slugger should be paying for his pool. Against Mariano, all you were gonna get was a bloop. He was on another level."...


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