MLB: Rivera Retiring?

Published on February 27, 2012 at 8:33 pm

By MICHAEL SMITH
Staff Writer

Last Monday, Mariano Rivera reported to the Yankees spring training camp.  Upon arriving, Rivera spoke with the media and an interesting moment occurred.

When asked if he planned to retire at the end of the season, Rivera responded by saying, “I know now, I just don’t want to tell you. I know now. I will let you guys know when I think I should tell you.”

This began a whirlwind of speculation that 2012 would be Rivera’s last year in the majors.  He is entering the last year of his contract, and he enters this year with 603 saves, two ahead of Trevor Hoffman for most all-time.  The closest active player is the Blue Jays’ Francisco Cordero, 276 behind Rivera.

As you can expect, the Yankees aren’t exactly ready to let him go, Hal Steinbrenner, the team’s managing general partner, made that clear.

“He’s obviously a lifelong Yankee,” Steinbrenner said. “When he decides to retire someday, whenever that may be, we all hope he’s going to be wearing the pinstripes. No doubt about that.”

Why wouldn’t they want him back? With how dispensable relievers have become in recent years, it is hard to believe anybody challenging Rivera’s save numbers.  Rivera also holds the all-time postseason saves record with 42, Brad Lidge being 24 behind.  He also is the owner of the best postseason ERA of all-time with a staggering .70 in 141 innings.

Rivera seems intent on keeping his decision a secret until season’s end, he told the media that he only told his family, and that apparently includes Derek Jeter.

“You’re not going to get anything from me about Mo,” Jeter said. “Mo told you what he wanted to tell you. He’ll share his thoughts and opinions with you when he’s ready. I’m not going to sit here and get into the speculation about what people assume he meant. That’s up to him. I’m not going to get involved in that.  You appreciate him while he’s here. I think everyone should just focus on that as opposed to if and when he’s going to retire.”

When Jeter was told that Rivera said he only told family, Jeter laughed and said “I guess I’m family.”

Jeter makes a great point, even at the advanced age of 42, Rivera is easily the best closer in the game. Most people would say he is the best ever, so enjoy watching him.

Everybody knows that athletes have a shelf life, some longer than others, but they can’t last forever, even the great ones.  In Rivera, Jeter, and Alex Rodriguez, the Yankees have three of the greatest players in major league history. All throughout the year in the ninth inning, you will see all three players on the field at once.

So if you are a baseball fan, take it in and appreciate it because three players of that talent level are truly something to marvel at.