Wednesday, December 28, 2011


'Rivera is clearly more of a craftsman now'-Laurila, FanGraphs

12/28/11, "Mariano Rivera: Thinking Man's Cutter," Fan Graphs, David Laurila (quotes from 2011 season)

"There is no doubt that Rivera relies on his cutter to get hitters out. According to Pitch f/x, 87.3 percent of his 2011 offerings were cutters. In 2010, that number was 84.9, while in 2009 it was 92.9. In typical Mariano fashion, he posted a sub-2.00 ERA and a sub-1.00 WHIP each year.

Rivera’s 2007 and 2008 seasons present an interesting contrast. The former was statistically among the worst of his career, as he logged a 3.15 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP. The latter was arguably his best ever, as he had a 1.40 ERA and a 0.665 WHIP.

What happened from one year to the next? Fortune was likely the biggest factor, as his BABiP dropped precipitously from a career-worst .322 to .218. A cursory look at Pitch f/x indicates that pitch selection might be another — it shows that Rivera threw a markedly lower percentage of cutters in his down year — but that is likely misleading. Pitch f/x data is considered relatively unreliable prior to 2008, and there is no other evidence that he had put his cutter in his back pocket.

There is, however, a second explanation: Mariano Rivera had become a savvier pitcher....

It didn’t all happen overnight, but Rivera is clearly more of a craftsman than he once was. While not specifically citing his 2007 season, Rivera alluded to it playing a major role in his evolution as a pitcher.

"Earlier in my career, I threw the ball and it moved inside to lefties and away from righties. That’s how I thought about it. I didn’t use it as effectively as I could have. Now I vary [the break] and throw it in different areas.”

“When Mariano comes in, you’re going to get the cutter,” added long-time Yankees catcher Jorge Posada. “You know that, but the location of his pitches has changed, and the way he’s pitching in the last couple of years has changed. I think the stuff is still the same, including the 91- and 92-mph cutters, but he makes it bigger and he makes it smaller. He varies the break of his cutter a little more now.

“A lot goes into what he does. He throws a two-seamer too, and we’ve used that for roughly the past 10 years, but what’s really made him better is what he’s been able to do recently.”...

(Rivera said,)“Scouting reports are there for a reason. They’re not there just to throw away. A lot of time and effort goes into those reports, so when you have them, you have to pay attention. How much do I use them? I use them enough for what I have to do.”"...

Monday, December 26, 2011


AOL Sporting News 125th Anniversary Top 15 All Time MLB names, Mariano Rivera #14


12/19/11, Sporting News Great Debates, "AOL-Sporting News All 125th Anniversary MLB Team," Mariano Rivera, #14, 1995 to present

"Armed with his devastating, bat-shattering, cut fastball, Rivera has produced an ERA under 2.00 in 11 of his 15 seasons as the Yankees’ closer. And he has been even better in the postseason; in 96 career playoff appearances, Rivera has a 0.70 ERA and 0.759 WHIP, both records. (Robert Seale/SN Archives)"

Their Top 15 names:

12/19/11, "Who's the greatest of them all? SN's MLB All-125th team," SportingNews, Ryan Fagan

"One hundred twenty-five years.

Sporting News has been covering America’s National Pastime long enough to see more than a few once-in-a-lifetime players.

We came up with the definitive list of the best we’ve seen in ours. See the full list here."...


The 'regular season total save stat' is nice "but Rivera didn't need it."

12/27/11, "A look back at the year in MLB," Fox Sports


If there was ever any doubt that Mariano Rivera was the greatest closer of all-time he erased it down the stretch when picked up career save No. 602, moving him past Trevor Hoffman for the most in baseball history.

While the record is nice, Rivera didn't need it to be recognized as the best to ever play the position. He's been the best for a long time and you can argue that Rivera is not only the best closer to ever play the game, but he is best player of this generation period.

Understandably it's hard to justify that for a player who appears, for the most part, one inning a night, 60 times a year. But if you can find me a more dominant or important player in this era than Rivera, go right ahead."...

Sunday, December 18, 2011


'Brodeur's saves are like snowflakes,' those who've watched his whole career have seen 'an unending blizzard'

12/18/11, "Brodeur sees road’s end," NY Post, Larry Brooks

"There are no hints dropped from the Great Brodeur upon being asked whether this 18th season might be the final one of his NHL career.

There is, though, a vow from the 39-year-old goaltender, as good at his craft as anyone who has ever played the position, and the promise as told to Slap Slaps on Friday is this:

I will make the decision before somebody makes it for me,” the Devils’ netminder said. “No one will have to tell me when it’s time for me to go.”

Martin Brodeur played his first game for the Devils on March 26, 1992, three years, one month and 28 days before Mariano Rivera first stepped on the mound for the Yankees; three years, two months and three days before Derek Jeter played his first game in pinstripes.

The goaltender will one day be on our sports Mount Rushmore, with Rivera, Jeter and a very select group of players who arrived as teenagers and grew into men here, all the time epitomizing professionalism while delivering multiple championships — all the while the essence of the teams they represent.

Make no mistake. Brodeur remains capable of greatness. Indeed, he has made some of his greatest saves this season by using a two-pad stack unique in this era. The estimable Michael Farber once wrote in Sports Illustrated that

and those of us around here fortunate to have watched his career in its entirety have been treated

It is true, though, the second and third saves and the second nights of back-to-backs have become more difficult for him, and the time of 75 starts a year are history, just like all the history that Brodeur has made as a New Jersey lifer.

But the time for a decision is drawing near as his contract is in his final year. Brodeur understands that. This isn’t sneaking up on him.

“I’m not putting myself in the position where this is going to be something I wait to think about until the end so I’m not ready for it,” said Brodeur, who notched career victory 633 last night in Montreal. “After the game in Florida the other night, I thought to myself that


Tuesday, December 06, 2011


StumbleUpon's 250 new partner channels include names like Mariano Rivera

StumbleUpon's 250 new partners include websites along with "high-profile names like actor Jim Carrey, athletes Mariano Rivera and Paul Pierce." "StumbleUpon, the social discovery engine that was famously acquired by eBay only to take itself private again two years later, is reinventing itself again. The company is rolling out a newly redesigned Web site that features a new logo, new colors and an integrated “Explore Box,” or search engine, that had previously only been available in beta. StumbleUpon has also signed up 250 partners for channels on the site, which will act as verticals users can “follow” in order to get the interesting content they want. The partners include such Web sites as Yelp, Gilt Groupe, Vanity Fair and Funny or Die, as well high-profile names like actor Jim Carrey, athletes Mariano Rivera and Paul Pierce, and late-night TV host Chelsea Handler....

StumbleUpon founder and CEO Garrett Camp said the redesign was spurred by feedback the company was getting from users in focus groups. Basically, while the users liked the site’s signature stumbling action (which I previously called a procrastinator’s friend and insomniac’s dream), they wanted easier ways to follow their favorite brands and content."...

getty photo, undated

Thursday, December 01, 2011


Good luck, Mo! In one day it'll be over.


12/1/11, "Mariano Rivera to have throat surgery," Newsday, E. Boland

"Mariano Rivera will have surgery on his vocal cords early Friday morning, hoping the procedure fixes whatever has caused the raspy voice he's been speaking with for a little more than a month.

"They're going to cut some polyps that I have on the vocal cords," Rivera said Thursday morning at the Marriott Marquis in Manhattan where he was to receive the Salvation Army's Pinnacle of Achievement award. "We decided to do it as soon as possible."

Rivera, who will have the surgery at the Columbia University Medical Center, said the polyps will be sent to a lab and that, as of now, he's not concerned.

"The doctor, she said it doesn't look serious," Rivera said. "But, again, you have to take it to the lab to find out."

Rivera said he's been told his recovery time after the procedure should be about two weeks.

"I have a week without speaking and then another week and it should be fine," he said....

"I don't like surgeries," he said. "But the sooner the better."

photo above: "Mariano Rivera arrives in Midtown Manhattan to receive an achievement award from the Salvation Army at its 64th Annual Luncheon." Newsday by Patrick E. McCarthy


Not fun to have surgery then remain silent for a week, but, Mo, you're only 42 so your prognosis has to be stellar! ed.

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