Saturday, March 31, 2012
Mariano fielding drills before exhibition game at The Boss
Mariano during fielding drills before Phillies-Yankees spring training game, 3/30/12, ap
Pettitte-Rivera win-save combinations, total of 79,
- 68 in regular season, 11 in post season.
Friday, March 30, 2012
When Mariano had to cut the grass in Panama he used a machete since he didn't have a lawn mower-Fennelly, TBO
3/30/12, "Rivera's records only part of his success story," TBO.com, Tampa Tribune, Martin Fennelly
"The fisherman's son, baseball's all-time saves leader, its greatest closer, one of its great men, is sitting at his locker one morning in the Yankees clubhouse at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Teammates are arriving. As they pass Mariano Rivera, they say hello or pat his shoulder, and he smiles at them.
"That's just the love," Rivera said.
There are hundreds of major-league hitters, whose at-bats against the ever-peaceful Rivera have gone to their graves, who wonder what the secret is, how a man with one pitch, albeit an iconic cut fastball, can remain that unhittable, so relentlessly fabulous for 16 seasons. It's spooky.
Welcome to Mo's.
"There's no trick. If people think there's magic, they'll be disappointed," the 42-year-old Rivera said. He's a devout Christian. "Everybody always wants to explain it. Let me tell you something, I want you to write this down. No one taught me that pitch. No one grabbed me and told me how to throw the cutter, no man — no one but God. It belongs to the Lord. I didn't have the talent of those young boys who throw 96, 97. I was throwing 87, 88, maybe. I was 20 years old, I'd never pitched before. You're telling me it was just my talent? God put his hand on me."
It's an extraordinary tale, even in Yankees annals, where legends are stacked like cords of wood.
"No. 1," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said before spring training. "What Mariano Rivera has done … it's who he is as a person, it's what he has done as a player with one pitch, coming out of a small fishing village in Panama, coming to the biggest media market in the world and playing the game of baseball, being the greatest of all time, and for as long he's done it, there isn't a story close to that, what he's done and what he's meant to this franchise."
The question, asked these last few springs, is: When will the great Rivera step down? He's first-ballot Cooperstown. He has 603 saves, including the 60 he has converted against the Rays — in 61 chances. He owns five World Series rings. His 42 postseason saves, 11 in the Series, with a 0.70 ERA, are more than records, they're extraterrestrial sign posts. What's left?
Rivera has had fun this spring with the New York media, which makes allowances for Mo. The retirement thing, it's going to be a "chess" game, he tells them. He says he will pitch until "the good Lord says enough is enough. I don't want to stay too long. I don't want to be ordinary." Rivera has thrown six innings this month, allowing no runs, one hit.
Former Rays and Yankees catcher John Flaherty, now a Yankees TV analyst, remembers his first at-bat against Rivera.
"I'm on deck, thinking this guy is perfect for me, fastballs, nice and easy. If I can't hit this guy I'm in trouble. Then you get up there and you can't believe how the ball jumps on you.
"Then you catch him. It's how he locates, he watches swings against him, how he's smart. ... The mental part is the most impressive. And he never changes expression. And then you go in the clubhouse and he still doesn't change expression. He's the same guy … the same guy … every day. It's almost annoying."
Yankees pitching coach and former Rays manager Larry Rothschild knew Rivera was good, but now, on the inside, it's ridiculous.
"Someone can tell you how great a wine is, but until you taste it, you just don't know," Rothschild said.
The fisherman's son was raised on the coast of Panama. Rivera, who will earn $15 million this season, grew up poor.
""I didn't have anything. One pair of shoes and you better watch it, if you break them, there (isn't) going to be any more. My father is at sea, working to bring food to the table. I'm helping my mother. You cut the lawn, when you cut it, not a mower,
He says that his calm, his peace, it's no fake, no trick.
"That comes from knowing where you come from, knowing who you are, knowing who you trust," Rivera said. "I'm a simple man. What I don't control, I don't worry about, success or failure. My head hits the pillow, I say I did my best. I live for the moment, because that's all we have. Tomorrow isn't promised."
He tells of his friend and former Yankees teammate Enrique Wilson. When New York lost Game 7 of the 2001 World Series, a rare Rivera blown save, Wilson, who had planned to stay for a victory parade, changed to an earlier flight home to the Dominican Republic. The flight Wilson was originally scheduled to take crashed in a New York City neighborhood, killing all 260 people on board.
"(He's) more precious than 20 World Series — I wouldn't trade them for my friend, for a life," Rivera said.
No. 42 described the day he found his cutter. He says he had nothing to do with it.
"In 1996, I was a set-up man. I was throwing a fastball rising up. Then I became the closer. To be a closer in New York, where everything is big, I needed something else to be able to succeed …
"The first week or two I struggled. But the Lord knew that. He knew. I was playing catch with Ramiro Mendoza, a fellow Panamanian. I'm grabbing the ball the same way I had for so many years, but all of a sudden, it was cutting. I didn't do anything to it. The ball, out of nowhere, it starts cutting. You're going to tell me I did that? Me ? The Lord knew, that's what I say, it was the Lord."
The fisherman's son has known his wife since they were children. They have three sons. Rivera does a lot of charity work in New York. He's helping renovate a church. He finances elementary schools and churches in Panama. "I just do it because of the desire the Lord has given me," he said. At Christmas, Rivera hands presents to hundreds of children.
"I don't go to towns. I don't go to the cities. I go to the mountains, where no one goes. No roads, just dirt. I'm going to the mountains and I get in those fields and we spread the word and when you see those kids coming out of the trees, running toward you, it's amazing, bare feet, barely with clothes, sometimes even naked. When we're finished, all the presents handed out, you're exhausted. And then your heart says let's do it again."
He is out of the mountains, again ready to climb the mound. He isn't ready to be remembered just yet, but was asked what he'd like people to say.
"This was a man who always gave the best, for his team, for his peers, for others, and he himself was always last," Rivera said. "When people say I'm the best, I think no, I'm just blessed. Why did the Lord choose me? I think he sees your heart. He doesn't see your beauty, your size, how strong, he sees your heart. This is God's work."
That's just the love."
4/2/12, "Yankees closer Rivera took unbelievable journey," Joel Sherman, NY Post
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Mariano and Boone Logan join Trenton Thunder exhibition game v Phillies minor leaguers
3/27/12, "THUNDER: Rivera mows ‘em down," The Trentonian, Josh Norris, Tampa, Fla.
"A day after Phil Hughes made an appearance at minor league camp, it was time for two more members of the Yankees’ pitching staff — one more vaunted than the other — to take their turn against Phillies minor leaguers. Before the team’s evening tilt with the Blue Jays, future Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera and lefty specialist Boone Logan pitched the first and second inning of the Thunder’s exhibition tilt with the Phillies’ Double-A work group.
In front of a throng of wide-eyed farmhands, Rivera struck out the first two hitters he faced, then broke the bat of the final hitter on a weak grounder to the left side.
Catcher Mitch Abeita, likely to break camp with Double-A, caught Rivera, and naturally had positive things to say about the experience.
“Mariano, what can you say about him,” Abeita said. “We put it up there, he’s going to hit his spots.”
Logan ran into a little trouble. He gave up singles to two of the first three hitters, then allowed a run on a sacrifice fly before getting out of the inning....
Graham Stoneburner threw 51 pitches in relief of Boone Logan on Tuesday. Stoneburner, a likely member of the 2012 Thunder rotation, showcased a fastball in the low 90s that he was able to mostly keep toward the bottom of the zone. He also flashed a change-up and a nice slider in the low 80s. Chase Whitley came in for two-plus innings after Stoneburner, and Tim Norton finished the afternoon. Norton, who can throw gas in the mid-90s, appeared to be working a lot on his offspeed offerings. ...
Former Phillies infielder Manny Trillo was in Yankees camp on Tuesday. He’s the general manager of the Aguilas de Zulia of the Venezuelan League. He was in town looking at players he might want to bring to the Aguilas come the winter-league season. "
Monday, March 26, 2012
Rivera in the 6th at The Boss v Detroit
Also on 3/25/12, "There is only one thing left for Tiger Woods to do now: Close it out.
- The greatest closer on the planet
- this side of Mariano Rivera
- must close today,
put his foot on the throat of Bay Hill’s 18 holes and the remaining contenders in the Arnold Palmer Invitational field and win."
3/25/12, "Golf’s best closer faces a must-win," NY Post, Mark Cannizzaro
Saturday, March 24, 2012
7 pitches on March 23 v Twins
3/24/12, "New York closer Mariano Rivera needed just seven pitches for a perfect eighth, and extended his streak of not allowing an earned run in spring training -- dating back to 2008 -- to 26 consecutive innings."
3/24/12, "Yankees battle to victory," AP, final 6-4 Yankees
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Rivera still laughing about pop-up as he enters dugout at The Boss
Rivera after his inning, the 4th, v Pirates at The Boss, Mar. 20, 2012, ap. He's usually expressionless after pitching but here he's obviously laughing about something. I happened to see his inning on tv. His last out was an infield pop-up that 2 or 3 people tried to catch and fortunately one did (I believe Arod). However the scramble went down, something about it made him laugh quite a bit so he may still be laughing about it as he's entering the dugout.
Same as above, 3/20/12, ap.
3/20/12, "A-Rod has 3 RBIs as Yankees beat Pirates 10-3," AP, Statesman.com
Saturday, March 17, 2012
Rivera in the 5th at The Boss v Astros
3/17/12, "Pettitte Drawn Back Into a Brotherhood," Harvey Araton, NY Times
"Andy Pettitte, self-proclaimed homebody, spent one summer with the family and folks in Houston and that apparently was all he could bear to be away from not just major league baseball, not just the Yankees,
- but the special club within the clubhouse.
The charter member Mariano Rivera had beseeched a visiting Pettitte to shed his retirement shackles, even though the Yankees had no pressing need of another starting pitcher. But there is always room for a core Yankee, Rivera believed, one who understands the mania of why the Yankees must win, this season and every season.
“If you didn’t grow up with these expectations, it’s kind of hard to understand what it means and how to deal with it,” Rivera said. “That’s why, to me, if you’re going to be part of the core, it should be someone from the organization.”
The famous core had dwindled to two — Rivera and Derek Jeter — after peaking in celebrity prominence at four; then Pettitte left before the 2011 season and Jorge Posada retired after it. Posada exited in tears, but at least he formally acknowledged his departure while declining to look to play elsewhere.
Cut from the 1990s core mold, Bernie Williams could never admit he was finished after the Yankees removed him from center field before the 2007 season.
“We all came up in an era when younger guys were always being traded, when there wasn’t a lot of patience around here,” Jeter said. “Bernie was the one that changed things — he got to stay. But we always knew we had to do our job, or else.”...
In the roaring mid-to-late ’90s, when the Yankees won four World Series in five years, the organization lifers were joined by a variety of outsiders — Paul O’Neill, Tino Martinez, Scott Brosius — who weren’t quite made men at Yankee Stadium but who knew the secret core handshake.
“A lot of people are considered real, true Yankees but didn’t come up in the organization,” Jeter said. “I don’t think it’s a requirement that you do. When they talked about us as the Core Four and put us on the cover of Sports Illustrated, they did it because we’d been here so long and all of us came up together.
“But we also did our jobs. We played the right way. So I think the core thing is about what we were able to do as opposed to just time.”...
No one has taken the concept more seriously than Jeter — at times to a fault, occasionally coming off as more committed to the core than to his captaincy...
Yet there appears to be no process in place for core expansion or succession. Beginning his ninth Yankees season, Alex Rodriguez has modified his once-isolationist persona but carries too much baggage. Curtis Granderson provides a thoughtful bearing along with his home run bat, and C. C. Sabathia a gregarious nature to enhance his towering mound presence.
But Rivera, unlike Jeter, was insistent that full-blown membership be a matter of pinstriped bloodlines.
“No matter how many people come from other teams, there’s a certain way that things are done with the Yankees,” he said. “You’re going to learn, but it’s not like you were born here, and to me it’s just different.”
But here lies the problem with the homegrown requirement — it leaves precious few candidates in an organization that continues to use its resources to wheel and deal. Jeter aside, only Robinson Cano and Brett Gardner are starters from the Yankees’ system. Of the starting pitchers, there are Ivan Nova and Phil Hughes, who could be affected by the return of Pettitte.
Rivera said he had spoken with Cano, an established All-Star and mainstay of the 2009 championship team, about carrying on the core, and Cano said he was flattered when newcomers now seek him out for organizational advice.
“I mean, it’s pretty special for me, but the Core Four, they won five titles,” Cano said. “I just wish I get there one day. But I don’t see myself as a core member yet because Derek and Mo are still here.”"...
6/28/2009, Kernan, NY Post, "Much was made through the years about Andy Pettitte's friendship with Roger Clemens,
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Mo breaks 2 Red Sox bats in Grapefruit game at The Boss
Top of the 6th: Red Sox 0, Yankees 0: Rivera threw 13 pitches and broke two bats. Kroeger reached on an error and stole second. But Hassan fanned looking at — what else? — a cutter." final 1-0, Red Sox.
3/13/12, "Final: Red Sox 1, Yankees 0," Boston Globe, P. Abraham. photo above, Rivera greeted by team mates in dugout after pitching the 5th, ap.
Mo throws warmup pitch in the 5th, 3/13/12, ap
Mo in the 5th v Red Sox, 3/13/12, ap
Monday, March 12, 2012
'Mo and Mo impressive,' Joel Sherman
Above Rivera is greeted by team mates after first outing at The Boss, 3/11/12, ap
- 3/12/12, "Mo and Mo impressive," Joel Sherman, NY Post
"Mariano Rivera is one of the Yankees and, in so many ways, he stands apart. This has nothing to do with his potential retirement, because this has been going on for years now. This is about his regal standing even within a clubhouse filled with kingly prices. There are other stars. Other Hall of Famers in waiting. Others of historic achievement.
But there is just one Rivera, whose brew of greatness, humility, humanity, durability, poise and confidence allows him to be looked upon by teammates the way fans look upon them. They feel honored to share the same clubhouse and uniform, blessed to play with him. They are not offended that a few special rules apply only to Rivera. Actually, they wonder why there are not more.
This is the spell he casts, the Yoda-esque aura of the man. And, if anything, Rivera departed his first game of spring yesterday having added yet more elements to his shock-and-awe history. It is not just that he went 1-2-3 against the Phillies. It is that on the Yankees’ radar gun he threw his first pitch 91 mph and his 14th and final one the same speed, never dipping below 90 in between.
That is not only faster than most of Michael Pineda’s pitches in his first outing, but already is what Rivera was throwing at the end of last season. When he was 41. He is 42 now.
Of course if this were just about velocity, Rivera would receive a stuffed animal as a prize, not relentless admiration. But on March 11, 2012 — five months after his last game action — Rivera also was hitting spots on both sides of the plate. His ball was still making that late five-inch veer that turns hittable fastballs into optical-illusion cutters. So he was Mariano Rivera, which at this point is a statement of definitive greatness.
Afterward, when asked how the closer looked, bench coach Tony Pena just put his hands up and chuckled in a “What is there left to say?” manner. Alex Rodriguez used the term “freaking amazing.” And Russell Martin was left with this thought: “Is the game even fun for him? I mean it doesn’t even look hard. I guess it is hard, but it sure looks easy when he does it.”...
Martin shook his head, smiled, looked for the right words. Again, he sounded more like a fan talking than a guy who just, you know, actually caught those 14 Mariano Rivera pitches. Finally he repeated something he had said earlier to a group of reporters: “It really is an honor to catch him.”...
But no one is kidding themselves. This season feels different. We can play the game that Rivera has not made his intentions public. But if he were planning to play next year,
- wouldn’t he just say he will be playing next year?
Instead, when a reporter asked if he thought the strong standing ovation he received upon entering in the fourth inning was about fans sensing a looming retirement, Rivera said, “I have to go” and walked away, ending the interview. ...
If this is indeed the beginning of the end then this first game in the farewell tour was one more memento in the how-does-he-do-it scrapbook....
On this day, “just Mo” threw 14 more pitches in the 90s when he is in his 40s, threw them with a break that Martin described as “late, precise and great,” threw them into the memory banks of teammates who are among the best in the world, yet see their closer as something above that.".
Thursday, March 08, 2012
Rivera throws 2nd BP, may appear Sunday v Phillies
3/8/12, "Mariano Rivera throws batting practice session, slated to appear in game on weekend," Star-Ledger, Carig
Northeast News Consortium via Star Ledger
Wake me when it's over
Tuesday, March 06, 2012
Commenters sure of Rivera's whereabouts 5 or 6 years from now, NY Times Bats says only 'probable'
3/5/12, "Rivera Hits the Mound," NY Times Bats Blog, David Waldstein, Tampa, Fla.
"Mariano Rivera threw his first batting-practice session Monday and is scheduled to throw one more, possibly Friday, before he pitches in a Grapefruit League game.... Last year, at age 41, Rivera had 44 saves with a 1.91 E.R.A., which is a fairly typical season in his probable Hall of Fame career. He also became the career saves leader with 603."
Among commenters to NY Times Bats Blog
"Patrick, Silver Spring
Friday, March 02, 2012
Rivera's cutter will go down in history as greatest pitch ever thrown-Klapisch
3/1/12, "Rivera’s cutter, in fact, will go down in history as the greatest individual pitch ever thrown. Sports Illustrated considered Sandy Koufax’s curveball, Nolan Ryan’s fastball and Bruce Sutter’s splitter as worthy rivals, but none were as precise on the corners."
Rivera, left, chats with fellow reliever Rafael Soriano after a recent warm up catch. photo Bergen Record, Pedota
3/1/12, "Klapisch: Yankees' Mariano Rivera tried but failed to teach signature pitch," Bob Klapisch, Bergen Record
Goose Gossage, 1/12/2006: “"It's an insult to me to even be compared to Mariano Rivera, it really is." “Gossage Beyond Compare,” Denver Post, Jim Armstrong
10/31/11, "Silly Goose: Mariano Rivera and the Myth of the Seven-Out Save," Kevin Baker, Guest at Baseball Prospectus, "Baseball ProGuestUs"
- "If they want to contribute something, Goose Gossage and Greg Couch should take up the worthy cause of getting some of Goose’s other contemporaries into the Hall with him....In trying to denigrate what Mariano Rivera has accomplished, they only make themselves look foolish."...