Tuesday, July 02, 2013


Twins won't be sorry to see Mo go

7/2/13, "Minnesota Twins won't be sad to see Yankees' Mariano Rivera go," Pioneer Press, Alex M. Smith, twincities.com

"Twins won't be sad to say farewell to Yankees' Rivera

Mariano Rivera is in town for the final time in his 19-year career, and crowds at Target Field will be eager to catch a glimpse of the legendary Yankees closer this week.

But forgive Twins fans if they don't make this stop of his farewell tour a warm one.

He is, after all, the man responsible for more October heartbreak in this state than all of the area's high school Homecoming dances combined. A key cog in all four of New York's playoff series wins against Minnesota (2003, 2004, 2009, and 2010), Rivera has allowed zero earned runs in 12 appearances when facing the Twins in the postseason.

"I'm not going to miss watching him carve us up," Twins general manager Terry Ryan said. "It just seems like he did it to us more than most. Because I think he did." 

Now 43 years old, "Mo" is a living legend. His 634 career saves are the most in the history of the game, and he has been instrumental in dismantling opposing lineups when it matters most. The Yankees have won seven American League pennants and five world championships since Rivera was called up in 1995.

"I like watching him pitch, whether it's against us or anyone else," said Twins reliever Glen Perkins, who was in seventh grade when Rivera made his debut. "He's always been fun to watch. Hopefully, he's not pitching too much (against Minnesota), but I'd like to see him out there."

This week's Yankees-Twins series runs until Thursday. Rivera pitched a shutout ninth inning Monday night as New York defeated Minnesota 10-4, but Tuesday will be his big day at Target Field. The video board in left-center field will show highlights during a pregame ceremony as the Twins present the pitcher with a gift and a donation to the Mariano Rivera Foundation. 

Other franchises are giving similar treatment as Rivera moves from city to city for the last time. Baseball fans will cast final glances upon No. 42's trademarks: his intense focus, his unnerving calm and his impossible-to-hit cut fastball....

Rivera's work ethic never comes into question, and for good reason. In May 2012, the pitcher tore the ACL and meniscus in his right knee. Many wondered if Rivera -- then 42 years old -- was done with baseball.

He wanted one more shot at a championship, though, and has been back to all-star form in 2013 with 26 saves in 27 chances. Rivera's presence has been big this season for the Yankees (42-39), who have soldiered on without help from several injured stars. When New York has a lead going into the ninth inning, the result is not usually in question.

"We've had that luxury for a long time here," said Yankees manager Joe Girardi, who was behind the plate to catch Rivera's first career save in 1996. "What he's been able to accomplish in his career has made managers very comfortable."

For 19 seasons, that comfort has meant nothing but bad news for the Twins." photo, 7/1/13, Rivera v Twins, Pioneer Press, Autey. final 10-4 Yankees. 2 photos below, 7/1/13, Rivera v Twins, epa


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