Jobu reacts to the potentially career-threatening injury suffered by Mariano Rivera on Thursday afternoon.
When I got the text message from my buddy Tom last night, my reaction was so grave that my girlfriend thought there was something wrong with a family member. In a way, she was kind of right. Mariano Rivera might not be family, but he’s been a part of our lives as Yankees fans for almost 20 years. This one hurts a lot.
Don’t get me wrong. This is not an obituary post. I am not here to review the life and career of one of the greatest Yankees to ever put on the pinstripes. As a fan, I hope to see him again on the Yankees Stadium mound. This post is more of a see you later than a goodbye. Watching Mariano tear up during his post-game interview, you could see how devastated this man was. He felt like he had let his teammates down, and you didn’t need him to tell you that he was in more mental/emotional pain than physical (he did say it as well, I’m not putting words in his mouth).
It’s a shame when any athlete gets injured off the field. Rivera tore his ACL and meniscus while shagging fly balls in the outfield before the game. It’s something every pitcher does, and it’s something Mariano says he loves to do more than anything. That’s no secret to Yankees fans, who know that it is Mariano’s dream to play centerfield for an inning in a major league game before he retires.
Some of you might say that, at his age, he shouldn’t have even been doing that. That, at his age, he should be taking better care of himself to make sure his old man body doesn’t deteriorate (we all know his arm probably never will). I think sometimes bad things happen. Mariano has been shagging fly balls during batting practice his entire career. It’s not a dangerous activity. He wasn’t running sprints, or playing on a trampoline (sorry, Joba). Bad stuff happens sometimes. That’s it.
The real question is whether or not this spells the end of Mariano’s career. Rivera teased his retirement all spring long, but he had certainly not confirmed that he was going to walk away. Now, looking at a minimum of six months recovery and rehab time, is it going to be worth it for him to attempt a comeback if he was planning to retire anyway?
Something about ending his career while writhing in pain on the Kauffman Stadium warning track doesn’t seem right to me. Knowing Mariano as a competitor, he’s the kind of player that wants to go out on his own terms. These were not Mariano’s terms. His terms involved one last 40 save, sub-2.00 ERA season and a possible deep playoff run. For it to end like this seems wrong. It robs him, and Yankees fans, of the glorious farewell tour that he might deserve more than anyone in the sport. I can’t see him being satisfied with this end.
Rivera Tearfully Explains The Injury
The main thing pulling him from the game has been his family life. He’s said every year it gets harder and harder to leave them to go to spring training. If anything, these six-to-nine months he’ll spend in recover and rehab will be good for Mariano. He’ll get to be home with his family, and all that rest can’t be a bad thing for his 42-year-old arm. I really hope he decides to come back for one more year. Not so that he can hang on for one more year like the Roger Clemenses of the world, but so that #42 can go out on his own terms.
We’ll miss you the rest of the season Mariano, although I think you’ve done a wonderful job preparing David Robertson to step in for you. I hope to see you again in 2013 for your real goodbye. See you soon, Mo.
I don’t even think Red Sox fans are happy about this right now…
Featured image courtesy of: Fox Sports Kansas City
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