Saturday, March 30, 2013


Rivera greets West Point cadet from Panama on day of Yankee-West Point game




"New York Yankees pitcher Mariano Rivera (right) shakes hands with cadet Mario Cortizo, of Panama, during a tour at the United States Military Academy before an exhibition baseball game against Army in West Point, N.Y. (March 30, 2013), Photo Credit: AP " via Newsday

"Rivera met a cadet from his native Panama who presented him with a handmade mug as a gift.." Star-Ledger

3/30/13, "Yankees find a dose of perspective touring West Point," Star-Ledger, Politi

Friday, March 29, 2013


Rivera presented with #42 Nats jersey by Rafael Soriano before Friday's game, Pettitte and Rivera in "win-save" 4-2 spring game v Nationals


"Yankees closer Mariano Rivera then finished the game with a 1-2-3 ninth. A few hours earlier, before the first pitch, the 43-year-old Rivera was honored by the Nationals.
The career saves leader announced three weeks ago that he will retire after this season. He was presented Friday with a signed No. 42 - his number - Nationals jersey by Washington reliever Rafael Soriano, who took over as New York's closer last year when Rivera got injured."...

3/29/13, "Pettitte avoids broken bat in Yanks' win at Nats," AP, Howard Fendrich . photo ap


"Mariano Rivera walks off the mound with catcher Francisco Cervelli after retiring the side against the Nationals in his final spring outing," 3/29/13, ap


Another "win-save" for Pettitte and Rivera, spring training edition:

                      1  2  3   4  5  6   7  8  9   R  H  E
                      -  -  -   -  -  -   -  -  -   -  -  -
  NY YANKEES          0  0  0   4  0  0   0  0  0   4 10  1
  WASHINGTON          0  0  0   1  0  1   0  0  0   2  5  0   FINAL

                  WP - ANDY PETTITTE (2-0)
                  LP - JORDAN ZIMMERMANN (1-2)
                SAVE - MARIANO RIVERA (1)

                WAS - NONE
          TIME: 2:42                   ATT: 38,161


Tuesday, March 26, 2013


Rivera pitches the 6th v Astros in Tampa

"New York Yankees relief pitcher Mariano Rivera winds up for a warm-up pitch in the sixth inning of a spring training baseball game against the Houston Astros in Tampa, Fla., Tuesday, March 26, 2013," ap final in 10, 4-4 Astros v Yankees

Friday, March 22, 2013


More on ranking relievers

3/22/13, "Overthinking It," Ranking Rivera, Baseball Prospectus, Ben Lindbergh

"Recently, Mariano Rivera revealed that 2013 would be his final season. It wasn’t unexpected news, in that Rivera is 43 years old and coming off a serious injury that caused him to consider retirement in 2012. But the report, however predictable, hit many fans hard. Not only is Rivera respected and beloved both inside and outside of New York (a relative rarity for a big, bad Yankee), but he’s shown so little erosion in his skills that it’s possible to picture him throwing his cutter until he turns 50. Most players go through a decline phase, which gives us time to get used to the idea that it’s about to be over. Rivera really hasn’t, except in the sense that he’s less durable than he once was.
Rivera’s announcement inspired many written responses, one of which was an email to me from a reader named David Greene. “Rivera’s true ranking among pitchers all-time,” the subject line said.
I can't get my arms around the idea that 60 (or so) starting pitchers in the history of baseball are "greater" than Rivera, as career WARP stats would say. … So maybe the real answer to my question is how many relievers relative to starters ought to be included in any all-time team of 25 or 30 players? Is that a question for analysis or only for opinion?
How good is Rivera, really? And is it possible to compare him to baseball’s best starters?
Last season, Aroldis Chapman was probably the best reliever in baseball. (“Craig Kimbrel” is also an acceptable answer). PWARP put him at 2.6 wins, which made him the 27th-most-valuable pitcher in baseball, by that metric. He was so good as a reliever, in fact, that he nearly placed out of the bullpen, briefly becoming a candidate to start this season.

In 1996, Mariano Rivera was worth almost twice what Chapman was last year. That season, AL pitchers allowed 1.21 home runs per nine innings, the highest rate ever. Rivera allowed one home run in 107 2/3 innings, the lowest rate of any AL pitcher in the DH era.

He posted the highest strikeout rate and the lowest FIP of his career, and 

he pitched almost 30 more innings than he has in any season since. Then he added 14 scoreless frames in the postseason.

If you count those October innings, Rivera’s 1996 was the most valuable season ever by a pitcher who didn’t make a single start.*


(Remainder of article is subscription. Dr. Michael Hoban has studied the question of relievers, 2 links follow).

7/15/10, "Just How good is Mariano Rivera," by Dr. Michael Hoban, “Mariano Rivera is the best reliever in baseball history.” [Based on regular season only].


2007 book, "At this point in his career, Mo Rivera is way ahead of the HOF standard and could emerge as the greatest relief pitcher to date." BASEBALL’S BEST: The TRUE Hall of Famers," by Michael Hoban, Ph.D. "Chapter 11, Two Special Categories of Pitchers,"

"Now, what about the true relief pitchers, that is, those who had very few (or no) starts and spent the bulk of their careers in relief? Is there any way that we can arrive at a fair standard for HOF induction for these pitchers based strictly on the numbers? Of course, we need a tough standard that only the truly outstanding relievers will meet." [This study didn't include post season or All Star].


Comments to BP article


Tuesday, March 19, 2013


Rivera throws to prospects in Tampa, 3/18/13


Rivera throws to Yankee and Blue Jays prospects in spring, Mon., March 18, 2013, Serne, nydn. "Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte lengthen spring training outings for Yankees," P. Botte

Sunday, March 17, 2013


"Rivera doesn't post saves, he gives recitals. Home plate is his piano." Troy Renck

3/9/13, "Mariano Rivera ready to close out career of excellence," Denver Post, Troy E. Renck

"Mariano Rivera doesn't post saves. He gives recitals. The home plate is his piano, one note playing beautifully from corner to corner. 

Saturday morning, the New York Yankees reliever is expected to announce his retirement, effective at season's end. He will leave as the game's greatest closer. He owns a record 608 saves. The next-closest active pitcher, Joe Nathan, has 298. He'd need another successful 10-year career to even match the Yankees legend.

"Best there's ever been," said Rockies closer Rafael Betancourt, who has 58 saves. "He's the one player when I got to the big leagues my first year that I wanted to meet. I still remember it."

Rivera is different in so many ways beyond his blueprint. When he took over for John Wetteland, there was little confidence he would make a successful transition. Broadcaster Keith Olbermann said the Yankees would "rue the day" because no one pitch, no matter how good Rivera's cutter might be, would be effective all the time.

"He was polite when I reminded him about it," Olbermann said with a smile.

Rivera has used a cut-fastball to carve a path to the Hall of Fame. He throws it with a stiff wrist, and, with just the right finger pressure on the grip, it breaks violently late, turning bats into firewood. So good is Rivera, that left-handed hitters regularly use their BP bats rather than risk their more prized model disintegrating. Some even have lighter and shorter bats made just to use against the right-hander, believing it might help them hit the diabolical pitch.

"It's funny, I faced him and he jammed me. Then you think, well I am going to just get off the plate so that doesn't happen again," said Reid Brignac, a former member of the Tampa Bay Rays. "And the next time he threw me three backdoor cutters. They looked like they were a mile outside. I went back and watched the video, and they were all strikes. Unbelievable."

Players didn't hesitate when asked about the perfect parting gift for Rivera. Just gather up the scraps.
"You could give him a house or maybe two built from all the bats he's broken," Brignac said. "I have donated to the cause."

Rivera, 43, has been at this best when it matters most. He owns a 0.70 ERA in 141 postseason innings. Miguel Batista is one of the few players who has a story about Rivera that doesn't end badly. Batista's 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks walked off Rivera in Game 7 of the World Series on Luis Gonzalez's bloop to center field.

"It's not like we hit anything hard," said Batista, who sought out Rivera for advice when he became a closer for the Toronto Blue Jays.

The reverence for Rivera is traced not only to his stats, but his approach. He is classy and dignified in a role that often features guys whose wires aren't always touching between the ears.

"He's coldblooded," Batista said. " 'Enter Sandman' comes on. The place is electric, and he's like Steve Austin the bionic man jogging in. Everything's going fast, and he's jogging like 'nnnnn ... nnnnnn.' "

Rivera doesn't seek attention, never gravitates to the spotlight. It finds him because of his excellence. A single pitch. One unforgettable career.

"They have the Cy Young Award, right? They should have the Mariano Rivera award for the best closer," Batista said. "He was so reliable, so effective for so long. Cy Young has 511 wins. Mariano's save record, for me, is just as unbreakable. I don't think there will ever be another pitcher like him.""

 Rivera pitching in Grapefruit game in Tampa v Phillies, March 15, 2013. photo yahoo sports 


Ed. note: Please excuse bright white background inserted behind this post. It was put there by a hacker. Also, I didn't place the opening sentence as it appears in this post. I tried to place it as one normally would, but whatever is going on with blogger, it wouldn't accept normal placement of the sentence.

Thursday, March 14, 2013


Barton Silverman photo of Rivera

file photo of Mariano Rivera by Barton Silverman, NY Times

Sunday, March 10, 2013


‘Closure,’ Newsday Rivera back page


‘Closure,’ Newsday back page, Sunday, March 10, 2013



Rivera makes Grapefruit debut in his final year


3/9/13, "Mariano Rivera begins final journey on joyful day for Yankees," Star-Ledger, photo, USA Today Sports

 Rivera's retirement announcement, 3/9/13, nydn, Serne

Rivera in the 4th, 3/9/13, ap

Rivera waves to fans after Grapefruit debut, 3/9/13, ap

Saturday, March 09, 2013


The regular season saves record won't be Rivera's legacy anyway


Jeter and Rivera after Rivera press conference, March 9, 2013, ap


3/7/13, "Next Step for Rivera: Closing a Career," NY Times, Tyler Kepner

"Kimbrel met Rivera last winter, at the New York baseball writers’ dinner, and Rivera gave him one piece of advice: stay healthy. 

The saves record could fall someday, maybe even to Kimbrel, with a lot of health and luck. 

It will not be Rivera’s legacy, anyway

The postseason distinguishes Rivera from every other reliever, before or since. His regular-season earned run average is 2.21. His postseason E.R.A. — in 96 games against the best competition, under the most pressure — is 0.70."...

Rivera at 2013 Spring Training in Tampa, AP, via NYT


Ed. note: The popular point is made in Kepner's article that not everyone has had Rivera's "opportunities" to play in the post season. Rivera's 141 post season innings are the equivalent of 2 additional years of relief pitching @ 70 IP/yr. These additional 2 years have been pitched within the same calendar years as players who only played in regular season. Also, the majority of his post season appearances were more than 1 inning.

Not everyone who goes to the post season gets good numbers. In other words, it's not always a great "opportunity." Post season pitchers have shorter off seasons, shorter amounts of time in which to recover for the next regular season, have pitched under the most pressure, against the best hitters, often in cold and rain. Rivera pitched into November twice, in 2001 and 2009. These things aren't mentioned in recitation of his regular season stats, the so-called "career" stats, not even in discussions about 'durability.' Plenty of players have had post season "opportunities." Some perhaps wish their post season numbers would be forgotten. They may feel the same about their All Star numbers.  


Friday, March 08, 2013


Mariano Rivera is the Babe Ruth of Yankee pitchers-Mike Lupica

3/8/13, "Yankees great Mariano Rivera to retire - no one in Major League Baseball history was better at his job than future Hall of Fame closer," Mike Lupica, NY Daily News

"Babe Ruth was the greatest Yankee hitter, Rivera is absolutely the Babe Ruth of Yankee pitchers. The great Rivera will leave as the Yankee immortal who never had a bad season in his life, who was better at what he did than any Yankee who ever played the game."

"Mariano Rivera is expected to announce his retirement on Saturday morning in Tampa, announce that this will be his last season with the Yankees, announce the beginning of what will be one of the best and longest and most emotional goodbyes in all of Yankee history.

“No one will ever have to tell me when it is time to leave,” he told me once in front of his locker.
So now he has decided it is time to leave, No. 42 telling us that at the age of 43, at the end of a career that stands with anything any Yankee has ever produced, on either side of 161st St.

He will leave with pitching accomplishments that stand with the hitting accomplishments of Babe Ruth, leave with the grace of Joe DiMaggio, leave as someone who deserves his own monument at Monument Park as much as anybody who has ever worn the pinstriped uniform. Ruth was the greatest Yankee hitter, Rivera is absolutely the Babe Ruth of Yankee pitchers. Start there.

And here: The great Rivera will leave as the Yankee immortal who never had a bad season in his life, who was better at what he did — the ninth inning, at the old Stadium and the new one — than any Yankee who ever played the game.


Someday there will be a Mariano Rivera Day at the Stadium, and they will officially retire the last No. 42, Jackie Robinson’s number, that anybody will ever wear in baseball. You know that will be a fine celebration of everything he has been as a pitcher, a day to remember everything he has been as one of the lasting gentlemen of sports, here or anywhere else.

But when that does happen, what we will remember best is the end of all the important baseball nights of his career.

Remember when the door in the outfield wall would open and “Enter Sandman” would play over the Stadium loudspeakers, and he would come running to the pitcher’s mound and get the last three outs of another Yankee victory.

Ruth was the first to make home runs glamorous in baseball, to make the Yankees matter. Ruth, in all the important ways, was the beginning of the Yankees. All this time after Ruth, here came Rivera with his cut fastball and his champion’s nerve and champion’s heart, to get those last three outs. He was all those endings, over all the years, the most memorable of them in October, some of them even in November.

“Think about what it will be like when he’s gone,” Buck Showalter said a few years ago, Showalter remembering first seeing the skinny kid from Panama on a back field in Fort Lauderdale one spring, long before the world would know his name.


“You look around baseball,” Showalter said, “and everybody has closer issues eventually. Everybody except the Yankees.

Closers come and closers go. Except Mo never goes anywhere.”

The only time he stopped closing games and stopped closing Yankee seasons was last season, one that ended much too early when Rivera’s knee gave out while he was chasing fly balls before a game against the Royals in Kansas City, and you thought that might be the end for him right there.

But if Rivera would know when it was time to leave, he would also go out on his own terms. He not only tried to rehab that knee in a hurry at the age of 42, he actually thought he might somehow make it back for the playoffs. He did not. But he would come back for one more season, now expected to be his last.

He will retire with more saves than anybody in regular-season history and with more saves than anybody in postseason history, the number currently at 42. The number on his back.


“Sometimes,” he told me once, “the only person they can compare you to is you.”

He is a relief pitcher, a power relief pitcher, who will be a month short of his 44th birthday if he helps pitch the Yankees to one more October. You look at all the big games he has pitched, from the time he was setting up John Wetteland when the Yankees won their first World Series under Joe Torre in 1996, and have a right to ask yourself  

how you can say that there was ever a better money player in professional sports history.

Michael Jordan made a lot of game-winning baskets and Derek Jeter has gotten all those big postseason hits. Then you put all that against all the big games Rivera has closed, all the ninth innings that belonged to him, all the bats and hearts he has broken on the other team.

So he is right: You only compare Rivera to Rivera. The fastballs, the longevity, the extraordinary consistency and excellence. And grace.

“He has changed less than anybody I’ve ever known in baseball,” Showalter was saying again the other day. “He came in a gentleman and leaves a gentleman.”


Say it again: Nobody you have ever seen in baseball, no hitter or pitcher, was ever better at his job as Rivera has been at his.

Now it is supposed to be coming to an end, the closer expected to talk on Saturday about the closing act for him, the oldest man in baseball still prepared to show all the young guys how to do it, with a right arm that has never gotten old. Somehow it is 10 years ago since that Game 7 against the Red Sox in the American League Championship Series when he pitched three innings because that’s what was needed of him to get the Yankees to another World Series, ready to pitch all night if that’s what it took.

“I have always known who I am,” he says.

So have we. Oh man, so have we. Sometime this season there will be one last ninth inning for the great Rivera, and for us all.

Exit Sandman." ap photo via NYDN


Mariano Rivera in the dugout before game v Detroit Tigers, 4/29/12, photo K. Kmonicek via Newsday


Thursday, March 07, 2013


Mariano Rivera expected to announce retirement effective after 2013 season

3/7/13, "Source: Yankees' Mariano Rivera to retire after 2013 season," Newsday, Boland

"On Saturday, the decision the Yankees and their fans have long dreaded is expected to come as the irreplaceable Rivera will announce his plans to retire after the season, a source confirmed. Barring a last-minute change of mind, of course, something that can't completely be eliminated as a possibility.

The Yankees announced a news conference at Steinbrenner Field at 10 a.m. Saturday, but the press release did not indicate a reason for the event.

All indications were Rivera likely was headed for retirement after last season, but all of that changed May 3 in Kansas City when the all-time leader in saves (608) tore his right ACL shagging fly balls during batting practice.

Rivera, his voice cracking later that night, said he was unsure he wanted to go through the rehab necessary to pitch this season. The next day he spoke resolutely.

"I'm coming back," he said. "Write it down in big letters. I'm not going down like this. God willing, if he gives me the strength, I'm coming back."

After surgery, Rivera's rehab went smoothly and he was quickly ahead of schedule, playing catch in his backyard by late summer. He reported to this year's camp enthusiastic and determined to show he would be as good as ever."...above photo, Dunn, 9/26/2010

Rivera during Yankee photo day, 2/20/13, by Munson, Star-Ledger 

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