Tuesday, May 29, 2012


'Brodeur loves the game...It's Mariano Rivera,' Devils GM Lou Lamoriello

5/28/12, "Brodeur back in Stanley Cup final at age 40 a year after Devils missed playoffs," AP, thespec.com.

"“(Brodeur) is just a real thoroughbred athlete,” (Devils Pres. and Gen. Mgr. Lou) Lamoriello said. “He loves the game. His mind is 100 per cent there and he feels good.


2008 high school pitcher sued school district for allowing him to pitch too much

5/21/09, "Coaches who don't use extra care with their pitchers may be responsible for the health of the players, but they aren't liable. A year ago, Jason Koenig lost a lawsuit in which he sued the North Mason School District near Seattle for negligence after he was allowed to throw 140 pitches in a high school game on one day of rest."

Saturday, May 26, 2012


Some smiles

It's just nice to see Andy back and looking happy and the team having a decent game after a lot of bad ones. 5/25/12 in Oakland, final 6-3, ap

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


Mariano Rivera at Stadium Tuesday, surgery date still not set

5/22/12, "Mariano Rivera walking fine but still has no date for surgery," Star-Ledger, Orr

"Mariano Rivera walked comfortably through the Yankees clubhouse today with a smooth gait that surprised his manager.

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."

Saturday, May 19, 2012


Francona on Mo

5/18/12, ""I love Pap," Francona said, "but when you're talking about Mariano, you're talking about once in a lifetime. I know Pap aspires to be like Mariano,

"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)

Friday, May 18, 2012


Allen Barra finds 6 nice videos about Mo

5/18/12, "Mariano Rivera: Oh, How We Miss Thee," Allen Barra, Village Voice

"If, like me, you're going through a severe case of Mariano withdrawal, take a little time off and go to YouTube. Or trust my own selection of The Best of Mo. This is how I spent my Thursday night, pulling up my favorite Rivera videos so you didn't have to. But if you think you have some as good or better, by all means post them below."...6 favorite videos posted at link plus a poem by Kevin Baker.

Sunday, May 13, 2012


They can't shorten the game the way they could with Rivera, I'll just leave it at that-Joe Maddon

5/10/12, Bill Madden: "What he does know is that, despite all the assurances of this being a common injury, there is nothing routine about it....

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

Saturday, May 12, 2012


Sports Illustrated cover, Jeter, Tino, Rivera, May 18, 1998, 'Speed, Power, Heat'


Above, Sports Illustrated cover, May 18, 1998, Jeter, Tino, Rivera, "Speed, power, heat"

Above, Rivera enters, unknown date, from Rivera FB page

Above from Rivera FB page, date unknown

Friday, May 11, 2012


Rivera is the only one who has or ever will do it for 18 years including 141 innings in post season and 4 All Star saves

5/10/12, "Jay Dunn: There will never be another Mariano Rivera," The Trentonian. — "Hall of Fame voter Jay Dunn is a sports copy editor at The Trentonian."

"Perhaps Yogi Berra said it the best. “Ninety percent of this game,” said Berra, “is half mental.”

Okay. Pythagoras he ain’t. But with one Yogi-ism he probably said more about baseball than a battery of computer jockeys who think they can explain every aspect of the game with a laptop and a keyboard.

Ninety percent of the game is half mental. Don’t try to do the math. Just grasp the concept. Baseball is more than hitting, running, catching and throwing. Successful baseball players are the ones who can hit, throw, catch and run at crucial times — at times when the pressure is the greatest. None more so than the pitcher — every team has one — called the closer. I don’t think there’s a more pressure-laden function anywhere in the world of sports. A good closer is much more than a talented pitcher.

He’s a mentally tough talented pitcher. The closer seldom enters a game before the ninth inning. He seldom enters a game unless his team is nursing a narrow lead. His job is to hold that lead while getting three batters out. When he makes his appearance his teammates have already struggled through eight innings to secure the lead. A starting pitcher has done his work and stands to pick up a victory.

Other relief pitchers, middle relievers and setup men, have brought the game to where it is now. None of this will matter if the closer falters. There’s nobody behind him. If he falters, he nullifies the day’s effort by an entire team.
Golfers and tennis players deal with heavy mental pressure but most of the time they’re playing for themselves, not an entire team A field goal kicker in the final minute of a football game is in a similar situation, but he does most of his kicking under somewhat less pressure. Most football games do not come down to last-minute kicks. A hockey goalie during an overtime game? Yes, if it happens to be the playoffs. Even then he’s normally the same goalie who played the first 60 minutes.

A baseball closer has only one job. He doesn’t work until the pressure has reached its zenith. It takes a rare person to face that game after game, year after year. The history books are filled with the names of relief pitchers who managed up to light up the league for one year, only to flop miserably the next.

Only a handful have been mentally tough enough to do it well for a sustained period to time. Only one has ever done it for 18 years and piled up 608 saves, not to mention 42 more in the postseason and four in All-Star Games.

Mariano Rivera has been unique in baseball history. He normally relies on a single pitch — cut fastball. The batters not only know what pitch is coming, but they know where it’s going to be. They still can’t hit it. If you suspended a tea cup in the strike zone Rivera could hit it consistently. Consistency is a good word to use when describing Rivera. In 18 years he has never gone into a prolonged slump. He’s never experienced arm trouble or had a lengthy stint on the disabled list.

He became the Yankees closer in 1997 and over the next 15 years he averaged nearly 40 saves a season. It’s much more than coincidence that his team reached the postseason in 14 of those years. For a decade and a half Rivera has been, in my opinion, the most valuable player on the Yankees
Obviously, not everyone agrees with me. The people who actually select the most valuable player never came close to giving him that honor for even one season. I find it stunning that he has never received a first-place MVP vote and never placed higher than ninth in the voting. He hasn’t even won a Cy Young Award, which goes only to pitchers. It might be difficult to argue that someone who plays for a winning team in the largest media market on earth is under-rated, but I believe that term applies to Mariano Rivera.

Sometime’s a player’s greatness isn’t appreciated until he isn’t around anymore, which is now the case for Rivera. In a bizarre twist of fate, the man who has been durable enough to appear in 1051 major league games was seriously injured last week while shagging flies during batting practice. The Yankees will have to get along without him for at least the rest of this season. David Robertson, who blossomed as a setup reliever last season has been anointed as the new closer. There’s no doubt he has the talent to fill the role, but it would be unfair to expect him to be Mariano Rivera.

Rivera's 1996 via FanGraphs:

1/30/12, "Reliever Usage Redux: A Follow-Up," FanGraphs, Dave Cameron

"The ideal usage pattern is not simply increasing the number of innings thrown by the best relievers by allowing them to stay on the mound after a game has been decided, but in using them for as many high leverage innings as possible throughout a season. Stanley should not be held up as the model –

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

Rivera’s gmLI in 1996 was only 1.36, lower than that of Stanley. But because they essentially let him regularly work the 7th and 8th innings of close games, his pLI was 1.56, meaning that the situations got more important when he was on the mound. While Stanley came into close games, kept them close, and then racked up innings while the outcome was no longer in as much danger, Rivera was used almost exclusively in situations where the game was on the line. And, because of his ability to get everyone out, he racked up 107.2 innings, putting up a +4.4 win season

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

Thursday, May 10, 2012


Donald Trump tweets wish for speedy recovery to Mariano Rivera

May 4, 2012

Mariano Rivera Twitter

Mariano Rivera, Yankee pitcher, is the greatest ever. Get well fast."

thank you Mr Trump."


Wednesday, May 09, 2012


'Greatness and Saving Grace,' thoughts on Martin Brodeur and Mariano Rivera, both the last line of defense against chaos and failure

5/4/12, "Greatness and saving grace," ESPN, Jeff MacGregor

"Thoughts on Martin Brodeur, Mariano Rivera and long, Hall of Fame careers"

"When is enough, enough?

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."

Sunday, May 06, 2012


More than best closer ever, Rivera dominated his position more than anyone in the history of the game-Knobler

5/4/12, "There's only one Mariano Rivera," Danny Knobler, CBSSports.com

"The other day at Yankee Stadium, the subject on the table was starter vs. closer.

Would you rather have a true No. 1 starter or a great closer?

The baseball people around the table said starter.

I said, "What if the closer is Mariano Rivera?"

"That's different," they said.


The Yankees might be the team most equipped to handle the loss of a closer. And the least.

The most, because David Robertson is a closer-in-waiting, already the best eighth-inning man in the business. The least, because there's only one Mariano Rivera.

The news that he was diagnosed Thursday night with a torn ACL hits the Yankees hard. It hits baseball hard, because Rivera is 42 years old and has hinted that this could be his last season.

A torn ACL would likely cost him the rest of this season. It's far too early to know for sure if that would push him closer to retirement or further from it, but even the possibility that we've seen the last of Rivera closing games for the Yankees is hard to take for anyone who loves this game.

Rivera has never been hated, only respected. All of us who watched him -- Yankee fan and Yankee-hater alike -- understood that we were watching the greatest closer ever.

But Rivera has been more than just the best closer ever.

He has dominated his position more than anyone in the history of the game has dominated any position.

"Someone else can do his job," Derek Jeter told reporters. "But you can't really replace him."

You could argue, as Tiger manager Jim Leyland often has, that Rivera was the most valuable player in all of baseball from 1998-2000, when the Yankees won three straight World Series. In three straight Octobers, Rivera went 18-for-18 in save opportunities, with a 0.65 ERA.

That was incredible, but so is this: In 18 years with the Yankees, in a role where most have a roller-coaster existence, Rivera never had a bad season. His highest ERA since becoming a reliever was 3.15; his lowest save percentage was 83, and he was almost always at 87 percent or higher.

That was incredible, but so is this: In a business where closers seem the most fragile of players, Rivera has gone nine years since his last trip to the disabled list.

Even now, he wasn't hurt on the mound. He was hurt shagging fly balls during batting practice, trying to catch a fly ball hit by Jayson Nix and slipping on loose dirt on the warning track.

You can't second-guess him for shagging, because he has done that his entire career. He looked so good doing it that one of his minor-league managers called him the best outfielder on the team.

You believed it, because you would believe Rivera could do anything. He survived year after year throwing just one pitch, a cut fastball.

No, that's not right, because he didn't survive. He thrived. He did it when he was 26, and he was still doing it at 42.

We've never seen anyone else like him.

And all of us -- not just the Yankees and their fans -- can only hope now that we haven't seen the last of him.

It has to end sometime.

It shouldn't end like this."


Ed. note: Gossage, please note the author said Rivera "dominated more than" which is different from saying "longer than." You're fond of saying you could have lasted much longer if your job had been as "easy" as Rivera's, so I wanted to note that distinction. In any case, perhaps counseling would help you deal with your Rivera obsession and inability to include his 141 innings of post season work and .70 ERA accomplished against the best teams under the harshest lights while others were resting up to pad the next year's regular season stats (and which from 1995 on included plenty of multi-inning, tie game, 1 run leads, elimination games, etc. that you claim Rivera never had to deal with). 10/31/11, "Silly Goose: Mariano Rivera and the Myth of the Seven-Out Save," Baseball ProGuestus, Kevin Baker


Rivera the best closer ever-Phil Rogers, Chicago Tribune

5/6/12, "Mariano Rivera simply the best," Phil Rogers, Chicago Tribune

"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."...

Read more here: http://www.bellinghamherald.com/2012/05/05/2511224/mariano-rivera-simply-the-best.html#storylink=cpy

Saturday, May 05, 2012


'Rivera is the best closer in the history of our game,' Joe Maddon


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."...


Letter to NY Times Sports Editor

5/5/12, NY Times, Letter to the Editor

"Future in Doubt, But Legacy Isn’t

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

Woodbridge, Conn."


'The greatest relief pitcher in baseball history,' Peter Gammons

5/4/12, "Civil Mariano garners respect like no other," Peter Gammons, MLB.com
"We were on the back fields at the old Yankees facility in Fort Lauderdale watching pitchers' fielding practice. I commented to Buck Showalter that it seemed strange to me that The Phenom, Brien Taylor, had such problems in the drills and questioned the athleticism necessary for long-term starting prominence.

"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'll be back,' says Mariano


Above Newsday front page, Sat. May 5, 2012

Above, Newsday back page, Sat., May 5, 2012

Above, NY Post, back page, Sat., May 5, 2012

Above, NY Daily News front page, Sat., May 5, 2012

Friday, May 04, 2012


'Rivera’s life and career have been a monument to the possibilities of the game,' Mike Lupica


Mariano Rivera lying on the ground after injuring his knee chasing fly balls in Kansas City, 5/3/12, ap.

5/4/12, Mike Lupica, "Yankee great Mariano Rivera gets carried off the field in a way no one could've imagined," NY Daily News

"The beauty of the man has not always just been the right arm and the grace and the fastball and the ninth innings, has not just been a career that saw him become the Babe Ruth of Yankee pitchers, the beauty of Mariano Rivera was the boy in him. Even as he got older, even as he continued to close games into his 40s, he stayed young. It is why he kept chasing fly balls in the outfield in the afternoon before Yankee games. The baseball boy in him.

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.

“I am,” Mo would say.

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.

And somehow, because of his grace and enduring excellence after he came through the outfield walls at the Stadium, the old Stadium and the new one, it always seemed fitting that he would be the last player in his game to wear Jackie Robinson’s No. 42 before that number is retired from good.

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


Newsday back page Rivera torn ACL

Newsday back page, Fri., May 4, 2012, "Mo Pain, Girardi: Rivera has torn ACL"

NY Post banner on website, 5/4/12

5/4/12, "Rivera tears ACL in outfield before Yankees game, career in jeopardy," NY Post, George King

"“I have always argued that he is the best pitcher of all time, not a reliever, the best pitcher of all time,’’ Teixeira said of Rivera, whose 608 saves top the all-time list."


Above Rivera and Girardi after winning the 1998 World Series, 10/21/98

Tuesday, May 01, 2012


Dusty Baker-Not well understood how much pitchers have to extend in post season, then have shorter winters, less time to recover

Above 2009 ALCS game 1, 10/16/09, Angels in the Bronx, drizzle, 11:15pm, was 45 degrees at game start, likely below 40 by 11:15pm.

4/29/12, AP, "Then there's the cumulative strain. Wilson set career highs in saves, games and innings pitched in 2010, when the bearded closer helped the Giants win the World Series. His elbow acted up in 2011, causing him to miss more than a month....

"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.

He is the only one on the cover of the book, "The Last Night of the Yankee Dynasty" about the 2001 World Series because most of the burden of holding it together had fallen on Rivera.

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.



Rivera at the Stadium v Orioles

April 30, 2012, final 2-1 Yankees, 9 pitches. Top, Reuters, 2nd Reuters, 3rd getty, 4th with Russell Martin, ap.

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