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.