YES Network.com

MLB NBA
MLB NBA
 
Jump Menu:
Post Reply
Page 3 of 3  •  Prev 1 2 3
SWB Game 5-3 Betances
3 years ago  ::  May 04, 2012 - 10:13AM #21
BigGuy
Posts: 49,892

Rivera Thoughts: Endings, Scripts and Stories




I'm sure we each had a story written for how it would happen-


The great man would throw one last strike as the stands unleash a wave of camera flashes and cheers. It would come at the end of a long season of cheers. At stadium after stadium, as he is called to the mound for the last time in that city, fans- other team's fans- might stand and offer the polite applause given to a bitter, but not hated, rival. There might even be ticker tape involved, in the finale.


Isn't baseball cruel?


Baseball does this to me in some way every season: changes something I considered immutable, dashes my daydreams.


The human body is a magnificent thing. The grace necessary to turn a double play, to catch a curveball on the fat of the bat and rifle it into the opposite corner, to slide into home around the catcher's tag when just the tips of the fingers graze the plate- that grace is the old fashioned kind of grace, the manifestation of the divine among us.


But we have poured our devotion into human beings, and bodies break. One terrible torque of knee, and ligaments give.


I see the irony of Rivera's injury during batting practice. For years we've regaled each other with stories of Rivera as the supreme athlete, and we've pointed to his flawless outfield performances as proof. Somewhere within Buster Olney's Last Night of the Yankee Dynasty a player says he's sure Rivera would have reached the majors as a center fielder if he hadn't been the greatest closer of all time.


if he hadn't been. We can use the past tense now, can't we?


This is where baseball is cruelest: the story doesn't ever end. We add Rivera to a collection of stories. To Cobb and Ruth and DiMaggio and Musial and Williams and Mantle and Aaron and Rose and Schmidt and Griffey and, now, Rivera. Because we are fans and because this is baseball, we never get to forget; we never get to let the moment's hype obliterate our view of the past.


But this morning, someone new is learning to fall in love with baseball, like we all did. And that means that this morning we are all a little older, because now we are the ones who must say, "If you had only seen the great Rivera."


This team couldn't score in a whorehouse.
3 years ago  ::  May 04, 2012 - 10:24AM #22
BigGuy
Posts: 49,892

Imagining the Ninth Inning Without Its Star




Of course it should not end like this. For Mariano Rivera, the most dignified, humblest star in sports, it should end with a championship celebration, swarmed by joyous Yankees teammates, basking again in glory. That is the fairy tale, but with Rivera, who defied age and injury and decline for so long, it always seemed possible.



Even if Rivera were to lose his final game, well, we have seen that before, too. His rare failures humanized him. If another team had beaten Rivera in the normal course of competition, even in October, it would not have hurt this way.


This just feels so incongruous, Rivera crumpling to the ground on the warning track during batting practice, in the fading sunlight of Kansas City. Nobody ever thinks of Rivera on the warning track — or in Kansas City, for that matter. He chases fly balls before almost every game, gliding carefree across lawns all over the majors, but few have ever paid much attention. Rivera’s time comes at the end, not the beginning, of the baseball day.


The initial diagnosis of a torn right anterior cruciate ligament — plus meniscus damage, Rivera told reporters — was devastating. There are hopeful precedents, like Milwaukee’s Yovani Gallardo, who tore his A.C.L. on May 1, 2008, and came back later that year to start Game 1 of the playoffs. But the injury probably ends Rivera’s season, and perhaps his career. He is unsigned past this season and said this spring that he had made up his mind about whether to continue for 2013.


Nothing could change his decision, Rivera said then, without revealing what it was. But retirement seemed the clear option, and when asked by reporters Thursday night if he would ever pitch again, Rivera, 42, said he did not know.


Understand this about Rivera: his career plans are never assured, whatever he says. After the 1999 season, Rivera told the congregation at a church service in his native Panama that he would retire after four more years to become a preacher. A decade later, at Yankee Stadium in the afterglow of the 2009 title, he said he wanted to pitch five more years.


Rivera, of course, is deeply spiritual. He says often that everything happens for a reason, and that he serves God above all. Now, almost certainly, his decision on his future will be tied directly to how he interprets what happened in Kansas City. Was it a sign that he should retire? Or a sign that he has more work to do?


Either way, Rivera will have to rehabilitate the knee. For any competitor, it helps to have a goal in mind to slog through the monotonous process. The prospect of returning could drive Rivera. It is just too soon to tell.


Unquestionably, he is the best closer in major league history. His 2.21 career earned run average is the lowest, with a minimum of 1,000 innings, since 1920. He has the most career saves, with 608 — plus 42 in the postseason, to match his uniform number.


Joe Torre, the manager for most of Rivera’s career, always said that the postseason elevated Rivera over everyone else. The evidence is staggering. At a time when the stakes are highest, and the competition is strongest, the man with the best E.R.A. of the live-ball era is actually better. By a lot.


Rivera’s postseason E.R.A. is 0.70. He has not allowed a postseason home run in 81 innings, since Jay Payton in the 2000 World Series, in a game the Yankees won. Rivera’s ability to pitch multiple innings in October, the way the pioneering closers did, has made him invaluable.


And yet, in some postseasons — especially 2002, 2006 and 2011 — Rivera has not had a chance to influence the outcome. As much as we glorify the modern closer, a team must first get a lead for his job to really matter. The Yankees can win without Rivera because their offense should get a lot of leads, and most closers convert a very high percentage of save chances.


Dave Robertson is a premier setup man, a strikeout artist who seems to thrive under stress. Rafael Soriano earned 45 saves for a playoff team in 2010, with Tampa Bay. So the Yankees have options, and they could always shift the struggling starter Phil Hughes to the bullpen to add depth there.


Even so, Rivera’s shadow will loom over his successor. All of his flaws have been forgiven — has anyone in any sport failed as emphatically as Rivera did in Game 7 of the 2001 World Series, and gotten a free pass? When Robertson or Soriano blows a save, it will be set, inevitably, against the backdrop of Rivera’s greatness.


One championship will fix that; when Manager Joe Girardi won in 2009, he escaped whatever shadow Torre left. But the pursuit of the Yankees’ next title has gotten harder, with a rotation that looks ragged and a bullpen without Rivera — for now, anyway.


If this is really it, and that sickening fall at the Kansas City warning track is the final image of Rivera in uniform, take a close look at the words on the billboard he tumbles into. It is a Budweiser ad, but for some reason the tagline says, “Walk Off a Hero.”


Rivera could not walk off the field in Kansas City. But as a baseball hero, he will always walk tall. He does not need to come back to prove it.

This team couldn't score in a whorehouse.
3 years ago  ::  May 04, 2012 - 12:00PM #23
BigGuy
Posts: 49,892

Missing Brett Gardner, Nick Swisher, and Mariano Rivera




These are my outfielders and I want them back.

Al Bello - Getty ImagesMore photos »


These are my outfielders and I want them back.




This post was originally supposed to just be about Brett Gardner and Nick Swisher, but in light of the news about Mariano Rivera's season-ending injury, it's only appropriate that I include him too. This kind of post is definitely not my specialty, so I'm not sure how enlightening any of this will be, but I suppose you can't predict baseball or the stories baseball will make you write.


You'll have to forgive me if this isn't the most eloquent post you've ever read. As I'm writing this, I just found out about Mo about an hour ago, and an hour is just not long enough for the news to sink in that we may have seen the greatest closer of them all pitch for the last time. I know we'd all like to think that's not true, but it's at least a decent possibility considering 2012 was likely the last year for Rivera. Until we find out what all this means for the future, I'll continue to hold out a shred of hope for Mo in 2013.


Things have not gone so well for the Yankees recently. It's almost like they are cursed, if one believes in that sort of thing. The pitching that was once considered a strength has been decimated by a season-ending injury to Michael Pineda and the overall terribleness of Freddy Garcia. Phil Hughes has struggled, and Andy Pettitte may need to perform better than we ever thought when he gets to New York this month. The offense, save for Derek Jeter, has also stumbled of late. That may have something everything to do with the fact that the Yankees have recently lost Brett Gardner and Nick Swisher to injuries; replacing them with the likes of Jayson Nix, Andruw Jones, Raul Ibanez, and Eduardo Nunez as full time players.


Star-divide


If you never took the proper time to appreciate how amazing Brett Gardner and Nick Swisher are, their absence should have made their impact on this team abundantly clear. It's easy to take for granted that Gardner catches anything hit to within six zip codes of left field, and Nick Swisher's ridiculous patience at the plate could have really been used while the offense struggles to push across runs. I have already written that I think that the Yankees should re-sign Nick Swisher this offseason, and I continue to stand behind that. There is just no one who can replace him right now, and he's certainly been making it difficult to argue against him with his play at the plate prior to injuring his hamstring.


Then, of course, there's Mo. Seeing him fall down on the warning track while shagging fly balls was every Yankee fans worst nightmare and that nightmare was being played on repeat on both YES and MLBN. The preliminary word of "twisted knee" didn't sound so bad, but it was almost impossible to put the idea that it could be much worse than that out of your mind for long. The game ended with a failed rally and moments later we find out that we've lost Rivera for the entire year, and possibly forever, if he decides that this is it. That is a lot to deal with at once. Rivera has been just as much of a symbol of the Yankees for me as Derek Jeter has over the years, and it's difficult to imagine that we may have seen the last of him coming into games with his Enter Sandman music to throw one pitch that continues to fool everyone. If this is really it for him, and I hope with everything in me that it's not, we have been so fortunate to watch both Mariano Rivera the baseball player and Mariano Rivera the man represent the Yankees for as long as he has.


Injuries so far this season have been devastating, especially in the outfield where there is little in the way of adequate replacements. I don't think it's too soon to think about bubble wrap and calcium supplements being mandatory for all Yankee players. A long term injury to any outfielder would spell disaster, unless you're into the whole Ibanez gif machine thing. With older players, injuries are always at the forefront of your worries, but the depth is just weak enough that an injury to anyone could have tremendous implications. The Empire State Yankees roster is not one you want to pick out new every day players from.


I suppose not everything is doom and gloom, though. There is an overwhelming chance that the Yankees will be just fine. This is a great team that has not yet performed like we know that they can, which should provide a lot of hope for the rest of the season. David Phelps did not look lost in his first major league start, hopefully signifying that he is more than capable of taking Freddy Garcia's spot permanently. He definitely has Andy Pettitte to worry about, but then again, so does Phil Hughes. We also will (likely) get to see what David Robertson, who many people already supposed would take over the closer role when Rivera decided to retire, can do in the 9th inning on a consistent basis. So far in 2012, he has kept everyone's blood pressure at more manageable levels, and not put on as much of a Houdini show as he has in the past. Here's to more of that, and a whole lot fewer injuries going forward.


This team couldn't score in a whorehouse.
3 years ago  ::  May 04, 2012 - 12:35PM #24
slabtown
Posts: 4

Does anyone here believe Betances will ever become consistent enough to make it to the big league club? It seems like he been considered a top prospect forever. Now I know he had injury issues early in his career, but you would think if he had big league potential he would be in the Yankees rotation by now.


 


 

3 years ago  ::  May 04, 2012 - 1:24PM #25
dixieyank
Posts: 3,103

May 4, 2012 -- 12:35PM, slabtown wrote:


Does anyone here believe Betances will ever become consistent enough to make it to the big league club? It seems like he been considered a top prospect forever. Now I know he had injury issues early in his career, but you would think if he had big league potential he would be in the Yankees rotation by now.


 


 




No. If I am Cashman, I am working to trade him for anything of value before he becomes Brackman 2.0

3 years ago  ::  May 04, 2012 - 1:28PM #26
BigGuy
Posts: 49,892

May 4, 2012 -- 12:35PM, slabtown wrote:


Does anyone here believe Betances will ever become consistent enough to make it to the big league club? It seems like he been considered a top prospect forever. Now I know he had injury issues early in his career, but you would think if he had big league potential he would be in the Yankees rotation by now.


 


 




I'm losing it fast on this kid.  He's got some serious control issues and doesn't look like that's improving. There's some speculation floating around that he may be headed to the bullpen if he doesn't get straightened out.  On the surface that seems like a dumb idea because of his lack of control, but the thought is that he'd be more focused in a reliever role.  They did that to Brackman last year and he did improve is control and hard to believe, but he was even worse than Betances. 

This team couldn't score in a whorehouse.
3 years ago  ::  May 04, 2012 - 1:35PM #27
61in61
Posts: 19,099

Losing Mariano is quite a shock. This isn't the way they drew it up in ST. Pineda out, Mo out. I hope they can avoid the curse of the "bad things happen in 3's" scenario.

3 years ago  ::  May 04, 2012 - 4:45PM #28
BigGuy
Posts: 49,892

May 4, 2012 -- 1:35PM, 61in61 wrote:


Losing Mariano is quite a shock. This isn't the way they drew it up in ST. Pineda out, Mo out. I hope they can avoid the curse of the "bad things happen in 3's" scenario.




What a downer.  Losing Pineda was bad enough.  I feel terrible for Mo if his career ends like this. He deserved to go out on top.

This team couldn't score in a whorehouse.
Page 3 of 3  •  Prev 1 2 3
Jump Menu:
 
    Viewing this thread :: 0 registered and 1 guest
    No registered users viewing

Yankees Forum