Why Mariano Rivera Shouldn’t Return In 2013

Thursday night came as a shock to all of us. I watched live on MLB Network as the future hall of famer was carted off the field after tearing his ACL. The legendary and ever-steady closer of the Yankees, Mariano Rivera, was out for the season.

608 saves and 5 World Series rings later, Rivera’s career appeared to have abruptly ended. Twitter exploded with memories fans had of Mo’s incredible 18 years in the big leagues. All of the TV and radio shows were saying there’s only a puncher’s chance the Sandman could fully recover and come back in 2013.

Well just call him Rocky, because not even 24 hours after his injury, Rivera said he’ll be back. “…you can write it in big letters” he proclaimed on crutches.

But for some reason, I want him to stay down and tap out.

Don’t get me wrong – Mariano Rivera is the Babe Ruth of our generation. We will never see anyone else like him. He’s the greatest closer (maybe even pitcher) of all time, and to add even more lust to his incredible career, he will be the last man in baseball to ever wear number 42. He’s got as big a Hall of Fame status as any, and as big a heart too.

And that’s exactly why I feel Mo shouldn’t come back in 2013. He’s done everything he possibly can in this game. He’s never once looked weak, scared, fragile, or most importantly, hittable. Even Rivera’s failures came off of bloop singles or stolen bases (sorry if this opens up old wounds Yankee fans). Anyway, it’s simple – we only know Mariano as the clutch fearless pitcher who’s powered his way through poverty in Panama to a long baseball life on the grandest stage.

How horrible would it be for not only Rivera, but for us as fans, to see this happen: Rivera rehabs, comes back…and fails.

This isn’t a pulled hammy or shoulder soreness. This is a torn ACL. Even for Mariano, who is probably one of the most fit 42-year olds out there, this is not an easy injury to simply rebound from and be the same as before.

I’d hate to see news reports and tweets throughout the summer than Mo is “progressing”, “throwing off a mound”, “throwing from 60 feet”, “ready for spring training”, all to have it go to waste and see the greatest closer in history crumble.

To me, there’s just NO guarantee Mo will be Mo when he comes back next year. That’s the thing that seals my opinion on this. Is it worth all the anticipation, all the hype, and all the hard work from Rivera to see his cutter not cutting anymore? To see his fastball not reaching 92 and 93, like it still was the last time he was on the mound on Monday?

The answer is no.

I hope you know, I love Mariano Rivera and all he’s done for the Yankees. That’s why I just don’t want to see him get hurt. He was not hurt in a game, but in a freak accident that has nothing to do with his ability to pitch. There’s no doubt that when he shook Russell Martin’s hand on Monday to rack up save no. 608, he was still the best closer in baseball. He was still the guy you want on the mound in Game 7, ninth inning, full count, two outs.

After a torn ACL, and in 2013 at the age of 43, will you be able to say that? I don’t know. And that’s the thing. Mo’s been as close to 100% reliable as possible. I don’t want his chance of being that again, less than that. But it likely will be in 2013, and it’ll be difficult to watch.

I really hope I’m wrong, trust me. If Mo comes back strong and picks up where he left off, you can call me the dumbest baseball fan on earth. But I have a feeling this isn’t going to end well. And that’s life. Nothing goes as planned. Rare is it that such a great player like him can go out on top. It may not be on top of a dog-pile at the end of October, but hey, Nolan Ryan and Cy Young won a combined two rings in their career.

Mariano Rivera, has five.

Posted on May 5, 2012, in Personal Opinion and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 30 Comments.

  1. You presented your points well Brian but I have to disagree. Mo is an absolute legend and the best of all-time. He deserves better than to have the rug pulled out on his career abruptly and to have our last memory of him being driven off the field on a cart.

    And let’s forget his legacy for a minute. From a strictly baseball point of view, he’s still one of the best pitchers in the game and the Yankees need all of the pitching they can get next year. The bullpen is strong, but with Mo it is a weapon. His post-season experience and performance cannot be replaced. Beyond that, he is a teacher, coach & role model for everyone on the team and the organization needs to take advantage of every day Mo wants to continue to play for them.

  2. This has earned the right not to be judged by us, he’s an immortal. Let’s just leave it up to Mo.

    • Please, let’s not go off the road here….”No One Is Immortal”.
      Damn, what is it with some of you fans,,,,in their day; Reggie, Mattingly, Munson, Boggs, Bernie and Willie Randolph ect et el and all that stuff…were considered, by some , to be of the greatest.
      Other than “Old Satch” (could be debated, 2 different pitchers) I would say Mo is without a doubt the best closer ever. If the rules were the same for closers back a few years as they are now…who knows there may have been another Mo. That is why it is so hard to compare one generation to another
      That big little word “IF” I dislike so much

      The Yankees have about 4 players on the team that will going to the HoF soon. Being called the greatest is fine but…without the HoF Ring, it is hollow…don’t you think? 🙂

      • Hi Ken….great to see you back. How ya feeling? Did the Doctor tell you how many marbles you have left?

        Immortal is a heavy word for athletes but without a doubt Mo is the best ever at what he does. Anyone that can dominate for 18 years, basically from his first full season until he’s 42 is impressive. Bernie, Reggie & Willie were great yankees but none were the best player at their position of All-Time like Mariano is. IMO, the Hall of Fame id meaningleass since they let in players that don’t deserve and vice versa. I mean sportswriters are voting and they let their personal experiences sway their votes a lot. But in any event, Mo is a 1st ballot HoF’er without a doubt.

        Ken, read my article on Mo from Friday. I talk about Mo’s most impressive stat….he is the leader of All-Time in ERA+ which compares pitchers from all eras and adjusts for Stadium and era differences. For Mo to routinely have ERAs under 2.00 in a hitter’s park during a major Hitter’s era where steroids ruled and the average ERA for a pitcher in the AL is around 4.50 is simply amazing.

        • Fishjam….
          The marbles are ok…for now! Can’t stay on this thing very long…the white hats at home are tough?!?
          You and Doug are saying (about the HoF voters) what I have been saying for years.
          Example; WS game 7 bottom of the ninth, 2 outs Brett on 2nd up comes TEX as a lefty. With a Slight shift in the field, Tex lays down a bunt along the 3rd base line. Brett scores the winning run.
          Question; Which of them makes the HoF, because of that one play? Answer….no one! I would say they would find a way to put one of them in the HoF…what a joke!
          Mo is first ballot HoF for sure….when one can watch the best, the rest are the rest.
          Like you pitching is part of my thinking, even when I am hitting…so whatching Mo all these years is…….

          I’ll read your post , thanks 🙂

      • old yankee, I disagree, I could care less about the HOF especially when the writers are picking the players. To me Mo and A-Rod are the best at their positions of all time.

        • Doug….
          You are right, they are or were, depends how things end up for A-Rod. There are so many writers that dislike him, they will find a way to hold him out for a time but, not MO!
          Are you saying (just asking) A-Rod was a better SS than Jeter?
          Yankee HoF Players to be….
          Cano (?????)

          • Let the Cano debate begin……

            • While it may be fun to give his pros and cons when it comes to HOF worthiness, I think it’s too early to say so definitively. I’d just say that as of right now he’s on his way.

          • old yankee, to me it’s a latino thing. I goes all the way back to Clemente. He wasn’t well liked because of the langauge barrier and such. The writers said it would be better for A-Rod to tell the truth and when he did they cucified him, besides the fact it was leaked out. Yes, A-Rod was a better shortstop than Jeter, and Ripken, Wagner or anyone else. He is also a better 3bmen than Schmidt. It’s funny how baseball polices itself. Look at the recent incident with Hamels. He hits Harper and gets suspended for 5 games which is meaningless. He tells the truth which was stupid. Zimmerman hits Hamels and lies, and he doesn’t get suspended. What a mess. I’m not advocating the beanball, just critizicing the process. Then Thole gets killed at home plate yesterday. Why can’t they just make everyone slide. It might be time to get rid of the beanball and plowing over catchers at home. Back to A-Rod, with all the other cheaters in the HOF, spitballs, corked bats, scuffed balls, ampetatmines, and such it’s time to let all the performance inhancing users in the HOF if they deserve it. Then you have Braun who gets caught and wessle his way out of it. Another case of the one that tells the truth in A-Rod gets punished, and the one that lies is not in Braun. Something seems wrong with this in my book.

            • I really hate to talk about PEDs because they were so prevalent in the late 80s to early 2000’s and baseball had a “look the other way” mentality that you almost can’t blame players. But let’s not act like ARod was noble for telling the “truth”. He didn’t admit anything until his positive test results were outted years later. And in what way has he been crucified for it? He wasn’t suspended, subpoened to testify or tried by the Federal government like others have.

              To say he’s getting a bad rap because he’s Latino is just plain wrong. Mark McGwire and Roger Clemens were 2 of the best and most popular white American players of the last 30 years and where are they now? McGwire has been crucified in the media for his testimony and denials about PEDS and Clemens is facing real jail time – being prosecuted by the Federal Government for denying he took steroids. So ARod isn’t getting treated unfairly at all and it sure isn’t a race issue.

              For many reasons, Alex just rubbed people the wrong way and has come off as not being a genuine person which has caused many fans, media and oppossing players/coaches not to like him. I think he has grown up a lot in the last 5 years or so and I respect him for that. He seems like a much better man now, a good teammate and he’s clearly more secure in himself. In the past he always seemed like a guy uncomfortable in his own skin and was trying to be someone he wasn’t. I think the 2009 World Series and his performance in the postseason that year took a HUGE weight off his back and he’s much more relaxed now. Like Old YankeeKen has mentioned, he seems to be good with young teammates and appears much more comfortable in the clubhouse.

              And while on the topic, I think it’s complete bullshit that OUR tax dollars are being wasted on these endless trials (witchhunts) against Clemens, Bonds and all the others. What an absolute waste! The Steroid era happened – there’s no going back and changing it. Just move on and don’t let it happen again.

              • fishjam, let’s be real on this subject. A-Rod was picked out none of the others were ever exposed. A-Rod is much bigger than McGuire, and I believe they both have denied using performance enhancing drugs. I for one think that amphetamines enhance the players ability as much as steriods or HGH. Fishjam your comments sound rasist to me, talking about A-Rod. This is exactly what I’m talking about. It’s all about perception.If Braun ever makes the HOF ahead of A-Rod I will shoot myself. Schmidt admitted using amphetimines and Braun used steriods along with hundreds of pitchers and hitters that played agains’t A-Rod. This thiing of a genuine person really bothers me when it comes to players. It sound like your saying A-Rod is a much better man as a Yankee. He won 2 MVPs before 2009 and it was the Yankee fan that didn’t execpt him. Old Yankee isn’t in the clubhouse as far as I know. I agree with you on our tax dollars, Clemens is going to get off, and we all know that Pettite is lying about Clemens. This just shows what a mess out country is in.

                • Racist? i saw nothing in that comment that sounded racist to me?

                • Doug…..I don’t know where you would see anything racist in what I wrote. You are way off base. Dozens of players were called out for using steroids and there was no proof in most cases except for innuendos and accusations. In ARod’s case there was a clear failed drug test AND an admission on his part. As I mentioned, he wasn’t suspended, subpoened or prosecuted so how was he singled out or treated unjustly? Racism is a serious allegation and not something that should be bandied about lightly.

                  ARod’s in his 9th season as a Yankee and yes he wasn’t accepted in the beginning by many because he continued to do questionable things. But above all, Yankee fans love a winner and when he led them to a ring in 09′, fans began to ease on him. IMO, I have seen a change in Alex as he’s gotten older and realized he doesn’t have to try to please everyone but just be himself. I think he’s much more mature now and happier as an individual and it shows. That’s good for him.

                  But me as a fan, I really don’t care too much if a guy is genuine or not. And I certainly don’t care what color or nationaity he is. All I care about is how they perform on the field for my team.

                  • old yankee and fishjam, A-Rod was the only one leeked out, the rest either tested positive, or have been exposed in another way. Rather than comparing him to Clemens and McGuire a better comparision would be Pettite. I don’t think you can say he was treated the same as Andy. Fishjam I apologize for my comments on race, I was way off base. I will try and stick to player perfomance in the future. By the way, I don’t think Hamiltion is getting to free agency after last nights performance.

                    • The Rangers were making a big mistake not re-signing him last year because I’m sure he is going to mash this year and get a bigger contract.

                • Doug….
                  Respectfully, I request you (or anybody else) not use the Race Card! This is sports, not Liberalism 101!
                  Try reading (baseball) history someday……look at this;
                  1)-Irish (my people) 2)-English/Scotts 3)-Eastern Europe 4)-Italians it goes on and on! As each time came each group was dominant for a time.
                  No Race in that…it’s called evolution of the game….not the Races!
                  Now, you will see I left out the Blacks and South Am. players…..well, I am going on memory only!
                  Doug, close your ears to the news hip! Open your ears and eyes to those around yourself. Look at the make-up of most MLB Teams…it’s a mixed bag.
                  A-Rod was the best infield player on the planet, he was paid as such and along with the fact he didn’t have the teachings of guys like Jeter, he didn’t know how to act.
                  Let’s face it…he was NO Jeter LOL!
                  Let me end with this…”There are no colors, after the first shot is firerd!” I have gone many years and places being pulled out of crap by people I never ever thought of as being anything other than what they were…people! Don’t even think of crossing that line…
                  The word you have been trying to find is…….JEALOUSY! LOL 🙂

                • Doug….This line of yours…….
                  “I agree with you on our tax dollars, Clemens is going to get off, and we all know that Pettite is lying about Clemens. This just shows what a mess out country is in.”
                  Is about as dumb as I normally hear from the 99% to lazy to work! If you want to change how things are, get involved, make things happen…don’t cry about it!
                  For the last 20+/- years the HoF has really voted for players they like rather than the deserving ones.
                  Mo and A-Rod, both of them first ballot HoF’ers, both hold individual MLB records and WS rings. 🙂

                  • old yankee, I quess you think we should be using out tax dollars for the trail of Clemens, I don;t. Let’s be real, you or I aren’t changing anything in government.

                    • Doug…
                      You may have misunderstood my position on Baseball. Politics and SPORTS are words that should never be used in the same sentences.
                      Baseball is a sport, get the heck out of it Now. The last time they were messing with baseball is when A-Rod got outted…remember? In answer to your question….try voting, or better yet, run for office?!?
                      I see D-Rob gave it up last night! Well, I think we all knew it would happen. The best we have is in ReHab….maybe you folks have forgotten him, not me…..Joba comes back and things are better.
                      Joba is in a different frame of mind this year and does have 4 good working pitches. 🙂

  3. I was away this past week, the moment I found about the injury is one I’ll never forget. I was so sick I couldn’t sleep.
    Whatever Mo wants to do is fine with me. I know there are lots here younger than I am. To people my age Mo and Jeter mean more than anyone could ever understand.
    I was 9 years old when the Yankees won it in 1977 and 10 years old when they won the next year. The 18 years that followed were horrendous. We went from champs to close for a while, and then while I was finishing college we were a disgrace.
    The summer we hit rock bottom I was taking summer classes and my friend and roommate and I would sit and watch every night anyway, embarassed and angry at what we had become.
    In 1994 we were going to play in the greatest World Series that never was. Montreal was incredible and we were just as incredible. Then the strike happened, and that was taken away too.
    Then 95, and Buck putting McDowell in and the pain was so great.
    In 1996, when we fell behind 2-0 to the Braves it looked bad. But then there was Leyritz and I jumped up and down so hard and screamed so loud that the people who lived downstairs from my girlfriend and I thought there was some sort of fight going on and actually called the police!! LOL!! Two cops showed up at the door asking if there had been an altercation and we had to explain about the home run and the Yankees and they broke out laughing and the older cop was a Yankee fan and asked if they could “fill out a report” and winked as the sat down on our couch and watched the last inning with us as he wrote very, very slowly. LOL!
    Then there was the Girardi triple where the Stadium actually shook and we took 4 straight after Joe Torre’s brother had just had the transplant and he cried and Wade got on the horse with the NYC cop in the iconic photo and 18 years of frustration came to an end.
    Then Mo and Jeter swelled our pride and we did what no team is going to do again in this age of expanded playoffs by taking 4 of 5.
    These guys were as much a part of our lives as our own families and the joy they brought us really can’t be measured.
    Mo and Jeter defined what being a Yankee was and is.
    When they’re ready to go, noone will have to tell them. They value being Yankees more than anything else, and won’t stick around when they can’t help.
    Mariano is an incredible athlete, and I have no doubt that he can and will rehab this injury and return to the mound. If he feels he can’t do it anymore he’ll walk away.

    • What a funny story about the Leyritz home run!!!!!!! Spoiled young fans like me have never witnessed a period of Yankee failure besides 2008, and we all know what happened the next year – #27. Fans like you make me appreciate what I’ve been able to witness in my first decade of being a baseball and Yankee fan.

      • Brian, those 18 years were actually traumatic. I didn’t see a title in jr high, high school, or college. Those years when you are going back and forth with your friends about whose team is better, etc. It was very hard to say the least.

        • There’s no way I’d understand, but yeah. I meant I could just tell how happy you were when Leyritz hit the home run, it was funny since you almost got arrested hahaha.

  4. Very well done Michael P. I see and saw your trial and tribulations during those years!
    Mine started in 1947…the 1st I can remember. I can still see those afternoons in the class room (during the WS) the 1st game during school the word came down…no baseball on the radio. OK, so be it! We went to lunch and ran to the fences (Wire), hooked up our (Cristal Sets) radios so we could
    hear the game. They put me in JV again. (if you don’t know what JV is, good)!

    Anyhow, we won like 11 of 20 and lost 12-14 and again 12-14 in a row (something like that)!
    I have seen the embarrassment of the loosing years and the chest pump of winning…I enjoyed the latter much more. 🙂

  5. None of us are on a position to tell Mo what to do. If he wants to comeback fine if not fine.

  6. This is not going to be a case of a veteran well passed his prime holding on too long. If that were the case then it would be sad, and I’d be right there with you saying “don’t come back, just retire”. And as cool as it would be to see Mo go out on top, that’s not what I was expecting anyway.

    What I’m saying is I didn’t expect Mo to retire until he started declining anyway. How many pro athletes leave the game when they are as good as they’ve ever been? Not that he’d have an ERA of 5.00+, and would have blown as many games as Heath Bell has this year, just that Mo wouldn’t be the best in the game like he was before last Thursday. He’d still be good, and then hang ’em up.

    So him returning in 2013 does not scare me. If he’s not as good, then that’s what I was expecting before he left the game for good anyway. And if he is as good, then he can still leave the game how you want him to.

    Above all else, there’s no way I’d want to see any great athlete forced to retire, while at the top of their game, due to a freakin’ injury.

    • Sounds good and I agree with you, but injuries do force players to retire, we all know that life is random and things don’t always turn out the way they are supposed to.

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