In news first reported by Joel Sherman of the New York Post, Yankees closer Mariano Rivera will make 2013 his “last ride” and retire at the end of the season. The report has been confirmed by a major league source. It is expected that Rivera will make the announcement on Saturday at the Yankees spring training facility in Tampa Florida. While no announcement about Rivera has come from the Yankees, there is a press conference scheduled at George M Steinbrenner Field in Tampa for 10 am on Saturday. It can only be assumed that is when Rivera will make his announcement.
I can report #Yankees have 10 am press conf sked Sat at Steinbrenner Field at which Rivera is set to announce retirement after ’13 season
— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) March 7, 2013
Originally Rivera had intended to make 2012 his final season but a season ending knee injury while shagging balls nine games into the season cut his swan song short. Rivera announced he would be back for 2013 and he has kept to his word. A player of his caliber obviously wants the opportunity to go out on his terms. Unlike other stars that hung on to long there is no reason to suspect that Rivera’s “last ride” won’t be as accomplished as any of his other professional seasons.
Without argument Rivera is the greatest closer the game has ever seen. While there are credible arguments at almost every other position when debating the greatest of all time there is no such argument at closer. New York Yankee players, their fans and the rest of Major League Baseball will not hear “Enter Sandman” blaring from the load speakers at Yankee stadium in 2014.
YouTube Video Courtesy of ZEIsSITWorld
Something remarkable about Rivera is the cutter. It is pitch that has been the bread and butter for the closer who spent his entire professional career with the Yankees (a rarity in today’s game). ESPN Sports Science broke down the cutter for their show a couple of years ago. If you ever wondered what made his cutter so special you can check it out.
YouTube Video Courtesy of Roger Sanders
He is, without question, the greatest closer the game has ever seen and a sure fire First Ballot Hall of Famer. He has appeared in 892 (and counting) games, is the all-time leader in saves with 608 (and counting) with a career 2.21 ERA and averaging 8.3 strikeouts per nine innings. That in itself is great but his post season numbers are the stuff of legend. He has appeared in 96 career post season games, saving 42 with an ERA of .70. Think of it this way, if you take the number two and three all-time postseason save leaders and add their totals together they are nine shy of Rivera’s mark. The Yankees would not have won their five World Series without the greatest closer ever.
Former Yankee manager Joe Torre said a few words regarding the pending announcement:
“I can’t say it surprises me, I think he was sort of in-between last year, before he got hurt. It didn’t surprise me he wanted to come back, just based on who he is and what he represents.”
Much like Chipper Jones last season, it will be fitting for Rivera to have a year to soak it in and enjoy every appearance at every field and he has earned that right. Of course he is hoping to get a ring for his other hand in his final season but that will remain to be seen. What is not in question is that every fan, opposing player, executive and media personality should take a breath and enjoy every time the music hits and Rivera takes the mound. It is logical to think we might never seen this level of greatness again.
What remains to be seen is if the Yankees organization will use this as a “win one for the gipper” type of rallying cry for 2013. They sure need something to Rally around considering what has been happening this offseason and spring training with the loss of A-Rod, Texiera, and Granderson for varying lengths of time. While many won’t feel sorry for the Bronx Bombers they just might be able to use the announcement to propel them for the 2013 season. Regardless of the affects the announcement will have on the ballclub I will watch and take each moment for what it’s worth when Rivera heads to the mound, greatness personified.