Friday, May 4, 2012
Say it ain't so, Mo.
This isn't a playing career obituary for Mariano Rivera. I'm not ready to do that yet, and for all we know, Mariano Rivera will pitch again. Perhaps I'm being too optimistic, but the best closer of all-time and a pure class act deserves better than this.
Last night, I was watching the Knicks play like crap against the Heat. Such a lifeless team. I then switched to YES to watch another lifeless team, the Yankees, take on the Royals. I was greeted with haunting footage of Mariano Rivera stumbling trying to make a catch shagging a flyball during BP. The initial diagnosis was a twisted knee, whatever that means. I think we all knew it was worse than that. One doesn't get carted off the field for a twisted knee. After the game, another poor showing by the Yanks' bats, the bad news came. Torn ACL. Done for the season. Torn ACLs happen in every sport to players at the top of their games. Derrick Rose just suffered one. Fortunately, Rose is young and has many years ahead of him. Rivera, while I have no doubt could rehab and return, was likely pitching in his final season. What should have been a goodbye tour honoring Mo will now be a sad time for Yankee fans, as we finally face the prospect of someone else closing out games for the Yanks. It's something we all knew we'd have to do eventually - we just weren't ready for it until next year.
There has been unfair criticism about how Rivera got hurt, but I refuse to do so. Shagging flyballs during BP has been part of his routine for twenty years and no one has said a peep about it. It has kept him young and fresh and full of energy. Some of the best memories of playing baseball that I have are the catches my teammates and I would try to make in the outfield during BP. He was having fun playing baseball, as he should have been.
I honestly hope we see Rivera on the mound again. I have no doubt he'd be able to successfully rehab and pitch another year next year. It's just a matter of whether or not he wants to. Selfishly, I hope I see him, if for no reason other than the fact that he deserves a proper send off.