Results tagged ‘ Mariano Rivera ’
I’m guessing Yankees fans have heard this story before, but I don’t recall it. Here’s Bob Klapisch, relating the story of Mariano Rivera discovering his cutter. Given how dominant and unique Rivera is, it’s not terribly unlike a superhero creation story:
Its genesis is well known in the Yankees’ family, although Rivera still takes pleasure in explaining how a simple game of catch with Ramiro Mendoza changed his life 15 years ago.
“All of a sudden the ball started moving, cutting, in a way I’d never seen before,” Rivera said. “I wasn’t doing anything different, yet it had a life of its own. So, tell me, how do you explain that? [Mendoza] kept asking me what I was doing to make the ball move like that, and I had no answer. To me, the pitch was a gift from God. How can I really teach this pitch if I can’t explain how it came to me in the first place?”
And that’s the crux of Klapisch’s piece: Rivera will try to teach it to anyone who wants to learn it, but no one else can do it. His remains the single most lethal pitch in baseball after all these years, and it remains his alone.
I never get too wrapped up in mythologizing baseball players. But if one of our era deserves it, it’s Rivera. He’s just a different case altogether.
Source: Hardball Talk
If you are one who regularly visits ESPNNewYork.com you are probably familiar with the work of Wallace Matthews.
Just in case you haven’t been unfortunate enough to run across the drivel he passes off as objective journalism here is a great link to a piece appropriately titled “Wallace Matthews Will Not Rest Until All Yankee Fans are Miserable“.
The guy is a tool. He was pretty much tossed out on his ass from Newsday and only got a job at ESPNNewYork because he tries to push every emotional button on Yankees fans.
He is a so-called “Yankees beat writer” yet every Yankees fan who knows of him would tell you he is an unofficial employee of the Boston Red Sox (which technically since he work for NESN West, i.e. ESPN he kind of is lol.)
But anyways. I digress.
Yesterday I stumbled across this little tidbit from the fore-mentioned curmudgeon.
The man who succeeds Mariano Rivera is going to have a tougher job than Bobby Murcer trying to replace Mickey Mantle, Tino Martineztrying to replace Don Mattingly, or Joe Girardi trying to replace Joe Torre.
That’s because he won’t just be following a great, he will be following the greatest ever. Think Larry Holmes trying to follow Muhammad Ali.
By definition, it is impossible to replace the irreplaceable, and assuming Rivera is entering the final season of his unparalleled career as the Yankees’ closer, anyone who tries will be set up to fail. The position doesn’t call for a pitcher so much as a sacrificial lamb.
I completely agree with him.
Aw, man. Just saying that made me throw up in my mouth.
But I completely agree with him.
S***, I did it again.
Statistically it’s a no-brainer. DRob is the guy. The dude tossed 66 IP of ball with a microscopic ERA of 1.08, striking out 13.5 batters per 9 innings.
The big blemish on his record was a high walk rate, which created some “jams” he had to wiggle out of earning the nickname Houdini along the way. This could be problematic as a closer.
Without being too obvious, as closer there is nobody behind you to put out your fires. You are truly a man on an island, left to his own devices.
But we aren’t talking merely about statistics when we are talking about replacing Mo.
We are talking about replacing freakin’ Mo.
Bruce Sutter and Dennis Eckersly could have secretly spawned a cybernetically enhanced love child who was schooled in the ways of closing like he was a Jedi Knight and that could would have ZERO chance of replacing Mariano Rivera in the hearts of Yankees fans.
Whomever follows Mo is going to be dissected in ways no other human being, let alone professional baseball player, has ever been.
So why on Earth would you want to sacrifice your young, promising star of the future when you have a well-compensated former closer on your roster already?
You wouldn’t and you shouldn’t.
Sorry Mr. Soriano, you are the one drawing the short straw on this one. Best of luck!!
Get a load of this. Buster Olney tells us:
The Yankees considered trading Mariano Rivera twice in the span of one calendar year. First, in May 1995 — as former GM Gene Michael told the story many years ago — the Yankees were involved in talks with the Tigers about David Wells, and the Tigers were interested in Rivera. One day, Michael got a report from the team’s Triple-A affiliate in Columbus, in which there was word that Rivera’s fastball had been clocked at a consistent 95 mph the night before, and he had touched 96 mph.
There was a major split between the New York and Tampa branches of the Yankees‘ front office at the time, and Michael’s initial thought was that Rivera’s velocity reading was an artificial production of the Tampa group, in an effort to pump up the team’s prospects. Michael called to Columbus and asked them to double-check their radar readings; the word came back that the radar gun was fine.
Then Michael called a scout from the Tigers, Jerry Walker, who he knew had been trailing Rivera, and in the midst of talking about other players, Michael asked Walker about Rivera’s velocity — and Walker confirmed that Rivera’s fastball had been in the mid-90s. Michael ended all consideration of trading Rivera that summer, convinced there was more in the young right-hander that he hadn’t yet shown.
But in the spring of 1996, the Yankees were again talking about trading Rivera. Veteran shortstopTony Fernandez had gotten hurt and, early in spring training, Yankees officials — including owner George Steinbrenner — decided to commit the position to Derek Jeter, the organization’s top prospect. After Jeter struggled in spring training, however, one of Steinbrenner’s advisors, Clyde King, told Steinbrenner that he didn’t think Jeter was ready.
The Yankees needed another infielder, King believed, to start the year. Under orders from Steinbrenner, the Yankees‘ front office reached out to the Seattle Mariners about veteran shortstop Felix Fermin, and in return, the Mariners asked for either Rivera or Bob Wickman.
With spring training coming to an end, the Yankees‘ staff met and there was a spirited discussion about why the trade shouldn’t be made — but it wasn’t because anybody was lobbying for Rivera, as one participant recalled. The debate focused on Jeter. “We had all said we would stick with Jeter, no matter what,” Michael argued. “That’s what we should do.”
Steinbrenner, typically anxious about spring training failure, was talked off the ledge, and almost accidentally, Rivera remained with the Yankees. Fermin had 16 more plate appearances in the big leagues before he retired.
Oh, the humanity. One trade could have possibly re-railed Jeter’s career AND dealt the greatest closer of all-time away before he had established himself.