@realDonaldTrump thank you Mr Trump."
Notes about the greatest relief pitcher in history.
He didn’t know many players with a recently-torn ACL that could move that way.
Yet Rivera still doesn’t have a set date for the surgery, he said. Doctors are waiting for his blood clot issue to clear and for him to regain more flexibility and strength in the region.
He is doing range-of-motion exercises during regular therapy sessions.
Rivera said that at this point the “pain is more tolerance.”
Joe Girardi joked that he could see Rivera throwing in July based on the way he was moving but that he wasn’t concerned with a lack of surgery to this point.
Delaying the operation until the clot clears and strength builds could decrease the rehab time after the surgery.“It may take a little longer now, but from what I hear it may be shorter on the other side,” Girardi said."
"Marching to his own drummer," "Phils closer Papelbon, a.k.a. Cinco Ocho, just wants to be the best." philly.com, Matt Gelb, (p. 3)
But he was home with his family Tuesday night, watching the Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays on TV in his living room — and especially his successor, David Robertson, struggle through a difficult 25-pitch ninth-inning before finally nailing down the save — when he once again felt the passion....
Wednesday night was not so good, and watching as Robertson, called upon to preserve a one-run lead in the ninth, immediately loaded the bases, had to be excruciating for Rivera. When Robertson subsequently coughed it up on a sac fly by B.J. Upton and a three-run homer by Matt Joyce for a 4-1 Yankee loss, Rays manager Joe Maddon’s response to a question about Rivera rang prophetic.
“The different mind-set comes from them,” Maddon said, “coming into the game for the ninth unprotected. There’s no safety net . . .
From our standpoint there’s a different vibe in that they can’t shorten the game they way they could.”
The Yankees can only hope this was merely a blip for Robertson and not a foreboding of what life is going to be for them without Rivera — for this year or forever. Unlike his adamant and defiant “put it down in big letters” vow in Kansas City last week, Rivera was much more somber, if characteristically spiritual, in reiterating his intentions on Wednesday. Now that he has all the time to recuperate, he will take advantage of spending much of it at home, especially when the Yankees are on the road.
“If this is my call, I don’t want to leave the game the way I have,” he said."...
5/10/12, "Yankees' Mariano Rivera grateful he is the one being saved this time as blood clot is discovered," Bill Madden, NY Daily News
At age 26, Rivera appeared in 61 games and faced 425 batters, 269 fewer than Stanley faced in 1982. Still, at 6.96 batters faced per appearance, he was staying on the mound about 60 percent longer than a traditional ninth inning reliever. For comparison, Rivera faced 4.56 batters per appearance in 1997, the year he replaced John Wetteland as the Yankees closer, despite being just one season removed from showing he could handle a heavy workload
Now, I know that’s easy to just dismiss everything Rivera does as a massive outlier and write off anything that he’s done as impossible for other mortals to repeat. However, 1996 Rivera posted a FIP- of 40, which 13 relievers have matched or done better than in a season with at least 50 innings pitched since 1982. Rob Dibble maintained a FIP- of 38 while facing 384 batters in 1990. Duane Ward faced 428 batters in 1991, and his FIP- was 43. Even more recently, Eric Gagne (2003), Francisco Rodriguez (2004), and Craig Kimbrel (2011) have faced 300+ batters in a season while performing as well or better than 1996 Rivera did on a rate basis.
While Rivera’s 1996 season might be the best example of how a non-closer relief ace can be deployed to maximum value, he’s not the sole example of a pitcher who was able to carry a significant workload while performing at an extremely high level in critical situations. While asking a pitcher to be that dominant while facing 600 to 700 batters in a season appears unrealistic, we have evidence that elite relievers can succeed while facing 300 to 400 batters in high leverage situations during a single season.Last year, the 30 pitchers with 15 or more saves averaged 262 batters faced and 4.04 batters per appearance. These usage patterns aren’t just limited to the closer’s role either; the top four relievers in baseball by ERA- last year – David Robertson, Eric O’Flaherty, Scott Downs, and Mike Adams – each faced fewer than 3.89 batters per game, despite the fact that each showed they could get out batters from both sides of the plate and didn’t need to be used as specialists. Still, the evolution of set bullpen roles has led to not only limits on how many batters the closer
Mariano Rivera, Yankee pitcher, is the greatest ever. Get well fast."
It is a rare and happy thing to grow old and great in your craft. A gift and an achievement and a testament to your own hard work, it's also a purely blind and unreckoned blessing from good luck. Never forget that.
I had meant, again, for this to be a simple birthday wish for Martin Brodeur, a goaltender whose work I deeply admire and who turns 40 Sunday as the winningest goalie in NHL history. On what must be the cusp of his retirement, he's been sharp enough these last two weeks to keep the Devils pointed straight into the next round of the playoffs.
Instead, some thoughts today on midlife and bad chance and the heartbreaking fall of Mariano Rivera.
Like Brodeur a long-form genius of the save, Rivera made it to age 42 with his ticket punched for the Hall of Fame before dark luck intervened. Put a foot wrong and see where Fate takes you. He may or may not work his way back for another season or three (who would ever think to bet against him), but what if this had happened in 1995? An inch this way or that and maybe you're finished before you start, gathered up by the big kaboom.
Consider the relief pitcher and the goalie then, themselves a last line of defense against chaos and failure, who both made it through to greatness.
As good as they are, the New Jersey Devils have never much captured the national imagination. Travel anywhere west of the Poconos or south of the Pine Barrens and you'll hear little of them. Condescended to by the media kingpins on Sixth Avenue, and ignored by Real America©, one of the best NHL franchises of the last quarter-century still feels like a regional attraction. The Devils hover variably in the average hockey fan's esteem somewhere below the Original Six or the oddball dynasties of the Islanders and the Oilers, and somewhere above the punchline status of the latter expansions. Brodeur's celebrity suffers in the same way. Consider what an unrivaled giant he'd be if he had instead played 20 years for the Canadiens or even the Rangers.
Rivera's history is the opposite. Most dominant reliever in baseball or not, it surely helped his legend that he played for the inescapable Yankees.
We tend to romanticize genius as an attribute of the young, something mercurial. A lightning strike. It's easy to forget sustained inspiration across the years, to mistake it for something prosaic, like "work ethic" or "determination" or "character." While those things are right and maybe even necessary, it's an error on the order of calling Bach or Picasso or Garcia Marquez a "compiler."
Genius that repeats and repeats and repeats over the long haul is the rarest gift in the world. And requires some help from wherever help comes from; to keep you upright, to keep you from slipping in the shower, to keep you from putting that foot wrong or standing an inch this way or that while the planets turn and nations fall and things go sour all around you.
To succeed so well for so long while all those others drop away must be terrible and wonderful at once. How many potentially great relievers have come to nothing across the arc of Rivera's career? How many great goalies never blossomed across the span of Brodeur's?
Even to the strongest, healthiest challenger, their numbers now seem Ruthian, insurmountable. Which means of course they'll be beaten, but who knows when?...
It's easy to forget how long we've had them both.
"When is enough, enough?" one of the hockey guys wondered during the Game 3 Flyers-Devils broadcast Thursday night. Sooner or later chaos and bad footing overtake us all.
Brodeur played in the NHL for the first time on March 26, 1992. Rivera threw his first pitch in the majors on May 23, 1995. Martin and Mariano. Two men now coming to the middle of things with the rest of us, but already at the end of their long professional lives. Two men whose job is prevention, whose job it was and is to keep bad things from happening. Whose grace all these years has been measured by what they could save.
When is enough, enough?
No idea. But I thank both men as best I can for the chance to follow the experiment."
"While the cut fastball he threw pitch after pitch after pitch was a weapon for the ages, it was his combination of an even temperament and internal fortitude that made him both the best closer ever and on the short list for greatest Yankee, power hitters not included.
While the ultimate measure of Rivera's greatness is a 0.70 ERA in 96 postseason appearances (and a 0.99 mark in 24 appearances in six trips to the World Series), he was prepared every time he went onto the mound. He has a record 608 regular-season saves, and his 2.21 career ERA is the lowest for any pitcher with at least 1,000 innings pitched since 1920."...
5/4/12, "For Rivera, Maestro of Ninth, Injury Is Not Final Symphony," NY Times, Tyler Kepner
"Mattingly added: “I’d hate to see him end like this. I’d rather see him come back and pitch than thinking your last view of him is going down on the track.”
Joe Maddon, the manager of the Tampa Bay Rays, had a similar reaction.
“It upsets me,” Maddon said in St. Petersburg, Fla. “He is a very special person. You know that the moment you meet him. He’s the best closer in the history of our game. You don’t want to see him possibly ending his career shagging a fly in Kansas City. I think he’s the player most responsible for their success over the last 15 years.”
Unquestionably, as Maddon said, Rivera is the best closer ever. His 2.21 career earned run average is the lowest, with a minimum of 1,000 innings, since 1920, and he is even better when the games matter most.
Rivera’s postseason E.R.A. is 0.70. He has not allowed a postseason homer since the 2000 World Series. His ability to pitch multiple innings in October, the way the pioneering closers did, has made him invaluable."...
To the Sports Editor;
Re “Rivera Hurts Knee; Career May Be Over,” May 4:
Identifying the greatest baseball hitter who ever lived will always be a subject of debate. But when it comes to the greatest closer, the debate focuses on who is second best. Even if he never throws another pitch,
Norman L. Bender
"Who sticks out?" Buck asked.
"That guy who's now fielding balls at shortstop. He looks as if he could play short or center right now."
"Good call," laughed Showalter. "Mariano Rivera. Remember the name."
A year later, in 1995, Showalter brought Rivera to the Yankees. Seventeen years later we all remember the name of the greatest relief pitcher in baseball history. I've never forgotten that moment in Spring Training, because in more than 40 years of covering baseball, Rivera is the person I most respect. "I think everyone who knows him feels the same way," Derek Jeter said this spring....
He has never won an MVP or Cy Young Award, but he is the most valuable player since his 1996 emergence. He has done it essentially with one pitch, his cutter, an incredibly athletic, repeatable delivery, a ferocious will and the ability to forever be at peace with himself. The morning pitchers and catchers reported to Spring Training in 2002, he chatted about the end to the 2001 world series. Asked if he'd recovered from losing Game 7, he smiled and said, "I broke three bats. It's part of the job. It's the game."
Last April he admitted that the distance from his family had become a stress, the reason he likely was going to retire after this season. Now, that retirement will likely be delayed, as Rivera announced that he will attempt to come back rather than let a freak knee injury end his career for him.
He's been a human metronome. Right-handed hitters have batted .214 against him, lefties .207. Opponents have batted .214 against him at the Yankee Stadiums, .207 on the road. Relief numbers: 2.05 ERA, 1,081 strikeouts, 257 walks. Postseason ERA: 0.70 in 141 innings.
He once said the most exhausted he ever felt after a game was the seventh game of the 2003 American League Championship Series, when he pitched three innings against the Red Sox until Aaron Boone homered for the pennant. I was scrambling to get on-field interviews for ESPN, and missed Rivera. We did the interviews, I did my hits for ESPN, and we began packing to go to the visitors' clubhouse for a Pedro Martinez piece.
"Wait," the producer Charlie Moynihan said. "Mariano's coming over here."
Rivera had left the clubhouse, walked down the runway and up and out of the dugout. "I figured you were looking for me," he said, and the interview began.
The next spring I thanked him, again, and he replied, "I believe that one will never go wrong treating people the way you want them to treat you."
Mariano Rivera has never gone without being civilized, thoughtful
I would stand with him in front of his locker and say, “Who’s the best outfielder on this team, really?”
This year or any year.
Mo Rivera would smile and say, “You know the answer.”
And I’d tell him I wanted to hear him say it. So he would.
So that is where he was on Thursday in Kansas City, far from the pitcher’s mound and far from Yankee Stadium, chasing down another batting practice fly ball when his right knee gave out and he went down out there, with what is now reported to be a torn ACL.
It is one thing, even if it is a terrible thing, to watch a basketball kid like Iman Shumpert of the Knicks blow out a knee in a playoff game against the Miami Heat. It is another thing to watch it happen to the great Rivera at the age of 42, watch him get carted off the field in the first week of May in what many thought was going to be his last season in baseball.
“It’s bad,” Derek Jeter said. “Mo shagged every day. Been doing it as long as I’ve known him.”
“Mo’s a vital part of this team, on the field, off the field,” Jeter said. “He’s going to be missed.”
“Mo is Mo,” the captain of the Yankees said finally. “There’s no one like him, there’s never going to be anyone like him.”
No one is writing off the greatest Yankee pitcher of them all, the greatest baseball closer of them all, the greatest money pitcher there has ever been and will ever be in baseball. But he is 42 and is gone for the season now because his knee explodes on an evening in Kansas City.
And when he is finally knocked out of things, it doesn’t happen because somebody knocks him out of a ninth inning, it doesn’t happen with him trying to close one more game for the Yankees.
It happens before the game even starts.
When it happens to Rivera, it isn’t his right arm that gives out on him, it is his right knee. So much drama as to what happened in Kansas City, and so much irony, too. One of the biggest Yankees of them all gets carried out of the season, not in a way that anyone ever could have imagined.
He will be checked out again in New York, but doctors everywhere are hardly ever wrong about a torn ACL. Maybe the first one to know how bad it was was Mariano Rivera himself.
Even in the time of Jeter, another of this time who is on his way to the Hall of Fame and Monument Park, Rivera was always the best of all of them, closing all those games, breaking the record, being the last out again and again when the Yankees were winning all those World Series.
Obviously, this is a terrible blow to their chances this season, but it is as much a loss to baseball, because Rivera’s life and career have been a monument to the possibilities of the game, the possibilities that sports can still provide to a skinny kid from Panama.
These past few years, we kept waiting for him to slip, to lose something off that cut fastball. But it never happened. The slip finally came in the outfield in Kansas City in the afternoon.
There was the day last season when I was sitting with him in front of his locker, because there has never been a better place to be and talk baseball with a Yankee, and I asked him how he would know when it was time to retire.
“No one will ever have to tell me,” he said. “No one will ever accuse me of hanging on. When it is my time to go, I will be the first to know.”
And then he would go out and get three more outs in the ninth inning, and look the same as he did in all the other years. He started to make you think he would stay young forever. It was why he was in the outfield again yesterday, a knee giving out
"A lot of times, people don't understand mentally and physically how you have to overextend when you go to the playoffs and World Series," (Dusty) Baker said. "You're still pitching while everybody else is home resting. That's a lot more. And you have less time to recover for next year. You have a shorter winter.
"Winning takes its toll, big time. There's nothing better than that, but it takes its toll.""...
Ed. note: Mariano Rivera's name was not mentioned in this AP article about the demands of post season pitching. He has been in 16 post seasons beginning in 1995 and is still pitching today in 2012. He's pitched twice until November 4th, in 2009 and 2001, pitching 16 innings in total in each of those post seasons. Articles like this cite Brian Wilson's single year 2010 and his subsequent physical problems as an example of how much more demanding post season pitching is. Dusty Baker is quoted saying "people don't understand mentally and physically how you have to overextend when you go to the playoffs and World Series," on top of which you have "shorter winters and less time to recover." The AP reporter references Brian Wilson's regular season innings load in 2010. Rivera has had heavier regular season loads going into post seasons. I wouldn't mention it but the topic of pitcher durability seems to be a popular one and it would be nice if it were presented objectively by mass media personnel. The reporter had the space in which to mention Rivera, a name that served his thesis about closers and durability perfectly, but chose instead to include a separate vignette about a retired pitcher who was not known for his post season resume and who missed most of one year, 2003, due to surgery.
Rivera pitched 80.2 innings in 2001 regular season, 16 innings in 2001 post season, for a total of 96.2 innings. The 2001 post season was not exactly about 'pitching one inning with a 3 run lead,' as persons like Gossage want you to think. It was filled with multi-inning, tie game, and 1 run situations.
2001 World Series game 7 again saw Rivera on the mound for 2 innings with only a 1 run lead. He struck out 3 in the 8th, then in the 9th, score still 2-1, he obviously broke, threw the ball into center field for no reason, and ended up getting the loss on a bloop hit over a drawn in infield. I note this information because I've read of people to this day who are bitter that Rivera is not excoriated more for "blowing" the 2001 World Series. Obviously he lost it, whether by mental lapse of throwing the ball into center field in the 9th or the bloop hit. There were judgements by other people in that inning that contributed to the loss as well. Personally, I turned the radio off after he threw the ball into center field. The point is, without Rivera they don't make it past ALDS game 3, World Series game 3, 4, or 5.
On to 2002. After pitching until Nov. 4 in 2001, he was asked to pitch in 4 games the first week of April 2002. In May 2002 he had 3 multi-inning outings one of which was 2 innings (May 17). Overuse into Nov. 2001 on top of what should have been a more gradual start into 2002 combined so he ended up missing some weeks due to injury in 2002 but still pitched in 45 games and into the post season. As the AP reporter might have said, his arm "acted up" but didn't "give out." Nor was he on the 'use gently' list subsequently. In October 2003 he pitched 3 innings in a tie, extra innings game 7 ALCS on the way to the World Series. I mention these details in the interest of accuracy about pitcher durability.
Above, 2009 ALCS, player from Los Angeles Angels wears head covering against biting cold in New York, US Presswire photo. This was likely from ALCS game 1 or 2, game 6 in NY was a little warmer. (Some Angels actually wore full ski masks but I haven't been able to find a photo of that).
2009 ALCS game 1 Angels at NY, "Start Time Weather: 45° F, Wind 10mph from Left to Right, Drizzle." 10/16/09, final 4-1, Yankees.
2009 ALCS game 2 Angels at NY, "Start Time Weather: 47° F, Wind 11mph from Left to Right." 10/17/09. By the late innings, it was likely close to 40 degrees:
Rivera entered in the 8th with 2 men on base, score tied 2-2, came out again in the 9th and 10th innings for a total of 7 outs. The score remained tied 2-2 for his entire outing. The game lasted 13 innings but Rivera didn't figure in the decision, ie no "save" no nothing, just high pressure late innings in 40 degree weather. Final 4-3 Yankees in 13. (Rivera had pitched the night before, 10/16/09, as well, but had it "easy" that night as Gossage would say if he even acknowledged Rivera's post season innings).
Gossage constantly says Rivera
Gossage in effect lies when giving out stats about his superiority to Rivera by leaving out Rivera's 141 post season innings, the equivalent of 2 years of relief pitching sandwiched in with his regular season efforts, and makes no allowance as Dusty Baker notes for the extra effort and shorter off season. Gossage would have been on the couch most of the time, resting up to pad his next year's regular season stats. There can only two reasons Gossage says these things about Rivera:
People assume Gossage is telling the truth so they don't bother to double check what he's saying including his highly sliced and diced version of his own stats.
I'm the daughter of an Eagle Scout (fan of the Brooklyn Dodgers and Mets) and a Beauty Queen.