Tag: Mariano Rivera

Mariano Rivera to Receive Dedicated Plaque in Yankee Stadium’s Monument Park

Mariano Rivera helped the New York Yankees win five World Series, and many consider him to be the game’s greatest closer. As such, he’ll become the 37th Bronx Bomber to receive a plaque in Yankee Stadium’s Monument Park this summer, according to the Associated Press.

Rivera is Major League Baseball’s all-time leader with 652 regular-season saves, but his dominance in the postseason, where he holds career bests in both ERA (0.70 over 141 innings) and saves (42), was even more impressive.

Rivera closed out three of the Yankees’ five World Series-clinching wins (1998, 1999 and 2000).

Mike Foss of USA Today put Rivera’s dominance into context:

More people have walked on the moon (12) than men who have scored against Mariano Rivera in the postseason (11). … Mariano Rivera has been pitching in the postseason since [1995]. The Apollo Program launched in 1963 and concluded in 1972.

In other words, Rivera has been clutch in the postseason for [eight] years longer than NASA was clutch at sending Astronauts to the moon.

The Yankees retired Rivera’s No. 42 during his final season in 2013, marking the last time it would ever be used. MLB retired the number throughout the big leagues in 1997 to honor Jackie Robinson, though all players who were already wearing it at the time were allowed to keep it, and none lasted as long as Rivera.

The Yankees will hold the sure-fire Hall of Famer’s plaque ceremony Sunday, Aug. 14, before their game against the Tampa Bay Rays and celebrate their 1996 team, with whom Rivera won his first ring, a day earlier.

Rivera, 46, will be eligible for the Hall of Fame in 2017.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Is Mariano Rivera Right About Choosing Dustin Pedroia over Robinson Cano?

Former New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera was revered during his legendary career for his impeccable character, honesty and lifestyle. Controversy never followed the all-time-great closer during a nearly two-decade stint in New York.

Less than a year into retirement, that’s changed. Rivera’s new autobiography The Closer has hit bookshelves across the country. As the New York Daily News‘ Mark Feinsand chronicled, the former Yankees star used his new forum as a chance to voice an opinion on his former teammate and current Seattle Mariners star, Robinson Cano.

More specifically, why Rivera would chose Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia over Cano if the choice between excellent second basemen was left to him. Per Feinsand‘s transcription of Rivera’s book:

This guy has so much talent I don’t know where to start… There is no doubt that he is a Hall-of-Fame caliber (player). It’s just a question of whether he finds the drive you need to get there. I don’t think Robby burns to be the best… You don’t see that red-hot passion in him that you see in most elite players.

Later, Rivera expounded on Pedroia, a star at the “top of his list” of players he admires.

“Nobody plays harder, gives more, wants to win more, ” Rivera wrote. “He comes at you hard for twenty-seven outs. It’s a special thing to see. … If I have to win one game, I’d have a hard time taking anybody over Dustin Pedroia as my second baseman.”

Any player—especially a Cooperstown-bound star and five-time World Series champion—has the right to an opinion on talent, drive, work ethic and on-field baseball acumen. If Rivera truly believes that Pedroia is a better player than Cano, he’s entitled to do so.

However, if the now-retired star is simply using a hot take to sell copies of his new book, the opinion becomes harder to digest. When looking at the Cano vs. Pedroia debate through the prism of on-field performance, it’s hard to see the reasoning behind choosing Boston’s star as the superior player.

As the numbers show, Cano has been a more durable star and far more prolific offensive player since the start of the 2007 season. When factoring in defense and baserunning, the advantage in WAR—using both Baseball-Reference.com’s and FanGraphs‘ calculations—is split, with both players narrowly gaining an edge: 

If there’s one area where Cano is the superior player, it’s in the batters box. When breaking down the Cano-Pedroia debate using solely offensive value, Seattle’s $240 million man stands alone. From 2007-2013, only Miguel Cabrera and Albert Pujols provided more offensive value to their respective clubs.  

It’s impossible to draw the line between Rivera’s opinion and raw, unfiltered statistics that the former player may or may not have had handy when expounding on the subject in an autobiography. In reality, it doesn’t matter. Choosing Pedroia as a better player is a matter of debate, even if the statistics give Cano an edge.

On the other hand, two aspects of the excerpt paint Rivera in a poor light: The choice of Pedroia to “win one game” and questioning Cano’s “burn” and “red-hot passion” to be the best he can be.

Let’s start with Pedroia over Cano for the purpose of one win-or-go-home game. As chronicled, both players are brilliant, transcendent talents at second base. During the seven-year stretch studied, few players in baseball provided more value in all of baseball. 

Yet, part of Cano’s value is rooted in his durability. From 2007-2013, major league teams each played 1,134 regular-season games. Over that span, Cano missed just 14. In other words, he suited up for an average of 160 of 162 games per season. During that same span, Pedroia missed 149 games—the equivalent of almost a full regular season.

In order to justify Pedroia over Cano, the current Red Sox star would have to be healthy and actually on the diamond in a do-or-die game. Based on how the last seven years have gone, that’s far from a guarantee in Boston. With Cano, playing time is a lock.

Undoubtedly, the most inaccurate part of Rivera’s rant centered around the idea that Cano doesn’t strive to be the best or have the burn to become an all-time great player. For years, Cano’s on-field demeanor has confused baseball pursuits and fans. Because of all-world gifts and talent, Cano doesn’t always come across as a gritty, hustling player, like, say, Pedroia.

Confusing grit for drive is a mistake made by fans but shouldn’t be given credence by a former teammate. When Rivera chose to question how hard Cano works at his craft, he basically admitted to a lack of awareness in the clubhouse that he once policed.

After all, if Rivera had simply paid attention during recent offseasons, he would have been privy to stories of Cano’s winter baseball boot camp, per Daniel Barbarisi of The Wall Street Journal:

Cano rousts his pupils out of bed as early as 5 a.m., just as the sun rises over his hometown of San Pedro de Macoris in the Dominican Republic. Most days, Cano wants to hit the track by 6:30 a.m., and woe to anyone who holds him up. His students are universally shocked by the rigor. They are all major leaguers, and they thought they worked hard. Then they joined up with Cano.

“I was like, ‘Wow. When do we finish?'” said former Yankee Eduardo Nunez. “And then he tells me we just got started. And then we did it again. Every day.”

Book excerpts aside, any city would be lucky to have second basemen like Cano or Pedroia. Both are stars, work hard and give their respective teams a chance to win on a nightly basis. Choosing one over the other is a matter of opinion, but facts are vital to forming an educated take.

After sharing a clubhouse with Cano for nine seasons and battling Pedroia for nearly a decade, it would be easy to assume that Rivera had the requisite information to deliver a measured and deliberate response to the great second base debate. Yet in this case, that wouldn’t be a very good strategy for selling books.

Agree? Disagree?

Comment, follow me on Twitter or “like” my Facebook page to talk about all things baseball.

Statistics are from Baseball-Reference.comESPN and FanGraphs unless otherwise noted. All contract figures courtesy of Cot’s Baseball Contracts. Roster breakdowns via MLBDepthCharts.com.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Mariano Rivera Talks Panama, A-Rod and More at Street Re-Naming Ceremony

Mariano Rivera continued to be showered with recognition this past week, as the corner of East 4th Street and Broadway was temporarily re-named “Mariano Rivera Way” on November 21.

The event was sponsored by New Era Caps, as it was in honor of the limited edition cap they released on the same day. The cap features each of Rivera’s five World Series rings, the commemorative Rivera patch sported by the New York Yankees on Rivera’s final homestand and a list of his accomplishments—amongst other things.

New Era CEO Chris Koch spoke a few words about Rivera and the company’s intent with the new cap before handing the stage off to Rivera, who was brief in his address to the small crowd in attendance.

His reaction to having his name hang over the intersection, though, was priceless.

The media was then given the opportunity to interview Mo in a brief 20-minute session, and you can bet that Bleacher Report was right there for the action. I was able to ask the greatest closer of all time about the Yankees’ plans to play a few exhibition games in Panama City during the upcoming spring training to honor him, and he was humbled by the gesture.

I will be there, definitely. It’s amazing,” he said. “Thank God for that, for the organization and the players. Hopefully, it happens.

“It will be something that I will never forget.”

Questions regarding the ongoing sagas of Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano were also asked. His opinions on the Rodriguez debacle were semi-neutral, though he did say what would happen if A-Rod decided to tell him his story.

In regards to Cano’s contract, Rivera claimed that, “I want him to to do what is right and what is good for him—not anybody else.”

Of course, Rivera spent every day of his 19-year major league career with the Yankees. That being said, he was a free agent before and knows what it’s like to be a part of negotiations.

The afternoon was capped off by a photo opportunity of Rivera holding the “Mariano Rivera Way” sign that resided over East 4th and Broadway for the day, and he was all smiles while various media outlets snapped picture after picture of the Yankee legend.

His retirement may have occurred a few months ago, but the always humble Rivera will continue to be showered with praise and accolades for the foreseeable future. The exhibition games in Panama are a perfect example of how the Yankees will forever honor him.

Unfortunately, fans who were hoping to see Rivera in uniform again as a coach sometime down the line will be sadly disappointed by the rather lighthearted quote he offered regarding the possibility.

“No, I don’t want to.”

Rivera is apparently thoroughly enjoying retirement, and he deserves everything that a retired man should enjoy. As the awards and honors keep coming, Rivera will continue to take it all in.

I was just honored myself to be a part of the special honor on November 21.


*Note: All quotes and photographs were recorded/taken first-hand.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Mariano Rivera Bobblehead Night a Disaster as Yankees Receive Shipment Late

Even Mariano Rivera can’t make the save in this situation.

There was mass chaos before the New York Yankees’ game against the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday night, as the team was holding a bobblehead giveaway in honor of its retiring closer. The only problem was, the bobbleheads didn’t actually show up before the game.


UPDATE: Tuesday, Sept. 24, at 8:38 p.m. ET by Joseph Zucker

Have no fear, the bobbleheads are here. Well, at least they’re on their way, according to Daniel Barbarisi of The Wall Street Journal:

While the bobbleheads may have arrived in the third inning, the chaos did not subside, according to Rob Powers of New York City’s WABC-TV Channel 7:

The sheer mass of people appears to be overwhelming, as you can see in this photo from @amazingjr87:

—End of update—


Instead, as MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch reported, the first 18,000 fans in attendance received vouchers:

That led to The Newark Star-Ledger‘s Andy McCullough dubbing the promotion “Mariano Rivera Voucher Night”:

This is the message that awaited fans as they entered the stadium, courtesy of Mark Feinsand:

Here’s what the voucher looked like. If you close your eyes, it looks exactly like a bobblehead, via @IsaYankeeDiva:   

Plus, wouldn’t you rather carry around a little ticket than a bulky box? Perhaps the Yankees thought they were just putting the fans first here.

In all seriousness, bobbleheads are generally the most popular promotion during the season. When you combine that with Rivera’s impending retirement, you get what were some crazy lines of fans dying to get their hands on the freebie before the game.

When looking at the images outside the ballpark, you can only imagine how upset people were to receive the voucher instead of the real thing.

There was a massive swell of humanity waiting to get through the gates, via @Zellyanks:

Here’s another look at the crowd waiting to enter Yankee Stadium, per YES Network:

Fans wanting a bobblehead needed to get in line pretty early by the looks of this photo, courtesy of the Albany Times Union‘s Mike Gwizdala:

The Yankees hopefully learned a very valuable lesson Tuesday night: Make sure you physically have the bobbleheads before announcing a Bobblehead Night, especially for one of the most revered players in franchise history.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Where Mariano Rivera’s Cutter Ranks Among Most Unhittable Pitches Ever

When Mariano Rivera retires after the 2013 MLB season, his cutter will also leave the sport forever. All active players who have been victimized by it will rejoice, knowing that they’ve outlasted a near-unhittable pitch.

How does it compare to baseball’s filthiest offerings ever? That’s what we’ll be ranking in the following slides.

Thanks to the evolution of pitch-tracking technology, it’s now possible to determine which particular pitch is being thrown in any situation. Using that information, we can see precisely how unhittable a pitch is in terms of the batting average against it, and how often it results in contact, a home run or a strikeout.

These advances, unfortunately, didn’t come along until the 21st century. Therefore, in creating this list, we needed to rely quite a bit on broader statistics and personal testimony.

You will hopefully find it enlightening, nonetheless.


*Stats provided by Baseball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted. Updated through the games of Sept. 20, 2013.

Begin Slideshow

A-Rod Says Teammate Mariano Rivera Is His Role Model

Alex Rodriguez has admitted that New York Yankees teammate Mariano Rivera is his role model.

According to XM MLB ChatRodriguez described what it was like to compete against and play with Rivera in an interview during Sunday’s Yankee radio pregame show with Suzyn Waldman:

He’s our Roberto Clemente in many ways. And I love him, I love him to pieces. And I’m having such a great time playing the game, and he’s a major part of it. Me coming back and having the privilege to put on the pinstripes and share the uniform with Mariano Rivera is a moment I’ll never forget.

when the moment gets really, really, really tough, and New Yorkers can appreciate this about Mariano, the best Mariano Rivera always stands out. And he’s my hero and a role model and a dear friend.

Putting aside any personal feelings any fan has towards Rodriguez, he’s right. Rivera is a role model for kids and fans alike.

While I aim to be my son’s role model, I inevitably know he’ll look up to some professional athletes as well. Rivera is one of those athletes, and I would have no problem with my son looking up to him. He’s that good of a ball player and that good of a human being.

Now, it would be easy to ask why Rodriguez didn’t follow Rivera’s example when it comes to his latest allegations on performance-enhancing drugs. But that’s not what this story is about. This story is about the words A-Rod used with which so many of us agree.

So, what makes Rivera a role model to so many?


He plays the game the right way

Regardless of where you stand in your religious beliefs, you have to admire where Rivera stands in his beliefs. A devout Christian, Rivera slowly became one of the best closers to ever play the game.

And he’s done it the right way. 

Outside of the fake Shane Spencer call on ESPN Radio 104.5 FM, nobody has accused Rivera of taking PEDs. And there would be nothing that would make you think he has taken them.

He is the career leader in saves with 651 and has had nine season of 40 or more saves. Throughout his 19-year career, his numbers are consistent. He had an ERA below 2.00 11 times and never had a spike in numbers.

In fact, according to FanGraphs, his velocity followed in line with getting older.

Baseball fans won’t fully understand what he brought to the game until he’s no longer in uniform.


Humanitarian work

When looking at everything Rivera has done in terms of humanitarian work, I’m just in awe of how much he gives of himself.

According to an Ed Lewi Associates press release, Rivera has come up big in his charitable works:

Away from the ball field, Rivera is well-known for his charitable endeavors on behalf of children through the Mariano Rivera Foundation, which addresses children’s needs through programs that focus on education, health and wellness in his adopted community of New Rochelle and his native Panama.

According to James Traub of the New York Times, Rivera distributes at least $500,000 a year to underprivileged children in the U.S. and Panama through church-based institutions: 

Rivera is quite possibly the world’s most famous Panamanian, but he said that he makes a point of staying “under the radar” when he is there—which isn’t often, because during the off-season the boys are in school and he is loath to leave. When he does put away the mitt, Rivera says, he will devote himself to his philanthropic work.

Rivera gets it. It’s not about throwing a baseball 100 mph. It’s about getting that education so that you have something to fall back on in case you don’t go pro in a sport.

I put Rivera in the same class as Clemente, because both realized they had a higher purpose with the gifts God gave them. Like Clemente, Rivera has given his time and money to those less fortunate. 


He made his farewell tour about the fans

ESPN’s E:60 recently did a profile on Rivera and his farewell tour, according to ESPN New York’s Ian O’Connor.

Throughout his farewell tour, Rivera made sure to meet with fans and stadium workers in opposing ballparks, learning about them:

Harry Clark, 13, is one of them. “Just a beautiful boy,” Rivera says from the visitors dugout during his last regular-season trip to Boston.

A beautiful, brave and incredibly mature boy from Wellesley, Mass., who says on the phone that he’s been fighting an inoperable brain tumor for years, and that his time talking with Rivera “was one of the most amazing experiences of my life … Mariano told me, ‘Keep it up. Keep fighting. I know you can get through this and get better.’

Rivera is told what the boy says, told that Harry Clark promises to be a Red Sox fan and a Mariano fan at the same time.

“You see what keeps me going?” Mo says. “It’s not money. It’s not fame.”

Then there was nine-year old Sam Bresette (a Royals fan), who met Rivera in May. While meeting Rivera was great, Bresette wished his brother Luke would have been there. Only he couldn’t because he had been killed in March when a giant display board at Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport in Alabama collapsed and killed him.

Rivera spoke to the family about his own trying time in Kauffman Stadium where he tore his ACL last year.

But Rivera fully understood that a torn ACL isn’t in the same ballpark with a broken heart. Mo hugged Luke Bresette’s father, Ryan, a former Royals batboy, and whispered in his ear, “You are a stronger and braver man than I will ever be.”

Those are only two stories. There are countless others of him meeting with wounded veterans, cancer patients, victims of the Boston bombings, a 45-year employee of the Angels and many more.

Rivera has been humble throughout, realizing that if not for the fans, he wouldn’t be in the position he is in today.



Rodriguez had it right when he said Rivera is a role model.

He’s a role model both on and off the field. He shows you how to play the game the right way and how to be a good person off of it.

Although Boston fans didn’t like him when the two teams played, it would be hard to find one fan who doesn’t respect him. The ovation fans gave him showed not only how much he meant to the rivalry, but how much he meant to the game.

That’s why I put Rivera in the same class as Clemente. Both made baseball better for fans, on and off the field.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Rays Pay Tribute to Mariano Rivera with Sweet ‘Enter Sandman’ Sand Sculpture

The New York Yankees’ Mariano Rivera is savoring every last stop amid his MLB farewell tour. His latest visit brings him to Tropicana Field where he was greeted by a beautiful sand sculpture in his honor. 

MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch delivers a couple of tweets that show off the sand homage to Rivera and his walk-up music, Metallica’s “Enter Sandman.”

Not quite sure that is a perfect resemblance for Rivera, but that would be picking nits, because this is an awesome gift for one of the league’s most well liked athletes. 

And really, the smile on Rivera’s face should say it all. 

As we have seen, Rivera has received gifts at most of the stadiums that he passes through on what is his final season in the majors. 

After more than 18 years and what is currently 645 saves, Rivera is calling it a career. Soon we will see him run to the mound in the ninth for the last time, the sweet sound of Metallica blaring in the background. 

At least for one season, we are all Rivera fans. Sports Illustrated has a nice breakdown of the various gifts Rivera has received so far. 

The San Diego Padres gave him a tricked-out beach cruiser, the Dodgers gave him a fishing rod along with $10,000 for his foundation. 

Of course, the best was the Twins’ gift of a rocking chair made of broken bats, via the New York Daily News

That cutter is where good bats went to die after all. 

This is just the latest example of what the league thinks of the Yankees star closer—a classy guy who has fans and organizations going above and beyond to send him off in style. 


Hit me up on Twitter

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Mariano Rivera Honored by Former Padres Closer Trevor Hoffman in Fitting Tribute

Mariano Rivera‘s farewell tour rolled into San Diego’s Petco Park on Friday night where Mo was met by a familiar face at home plate—former Padres closer Trevor Hoffman.

It was fitting that Hoffman was the man to present Rivera with his gift, as it was Hoffman’s career saves record that Rivera broke back in 2011. Hoffman is widely considered the second-best closer of all time, right behind Rivera.

As for the gift, well, let’s say that Rivera will be able to cruise in style for years to come:

Not to be outdone by some of the other impressive tributes that Rivera has received in his final season, Hoffman and the Padres raised the bar. Not only did they present Rivera with one custom beach cruiser, but they gave him five—one for each member of his family.

That’s a classy move right there, and it’s one that Rivera, a class act himself, likely appreciated more than we’ll ever know. You can watch the entire pregame ceremony here.

For those wondering just how many saves were standing at home plate for the presentation, Pete Caldera of the Bergen Record has your answer:

Rivera has picked up an impressive array of gifts from teams around baseball this season.

The Minnesota Twins presented him with a rocking chair made from broken bats, the Oakland Athletics gave him a surfboard and the Cleveland Indians presented him with a personalized gold record of Metallica’s “Enter Sandman,” which has been Rivera’s entrance music at Yankees Stadium and sign to the opposition that the game was, for all intents and purposes, over. 

Even Delta Airlines got in on the action, dedicating a 757 aircraft in his honor that will fly out of New York’s John F. Kennedy airport.

The biggest and most emotional tribute is yet to come, as Rivera will be honored by the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on September 22 before their afternoon game against the San Francisco Giants.

That, folks, is going to be must-watch television right there, whether you’re a Yankees fan or not.

For there’s only one Mariano Rivera—and all of baseball will miss him when he’s gone.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Mariano Rivera Takes Field in All-Star Game to Enter Sandman and Huge Ovation

Mariano Rivera has pitched in the final All-Star Game of his Hall of Fame career.

The New York Yankees closer is the best of all time, and he made one final trip to the mound during the Midsummer Classic on Tuesday night.

Citi Field erupted when Mo came onto the field, with both fans and fellow players saluting one of the greatest players in baseball history.

As Rivera made the trip to the mound from the bullpen, all eyes were on him, and it ended up being the best moment of the night.

Rivera knew that this would be his last All-Star Game, and he thanked the crowd for their support.

Twitter absolutely exploded after Mo took the mound.

The 13-time All-Star commanded the respect of baseball fans during the game, and they were more focused on him than Neil Diamond when he came on the big screen.

Mo has earned reverence from his peers as well, and they did what they could to make this moment special.

If that weren’t enough for you, NL All-Star and veteran Michael Cuddyer called this an incredible moment.

While Mo pitched the eighth instead of the ninth to ensure that he did in fact make an appearance, the unusual circumstances didn’t temper the moment.

We said goodbye to one of the greatest players of all-time tonight, and it was a special moment indeed.

It might have been just another stop on Mo’s much ballyhooed retirement tour, but pitching in one more All-Star Game in front of thousands of adoring fans was the best way for him to go out.

You couldn’t have scripted it any better.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

American League All-Stars Pay Homage to Legendary Closer Mariano Rivera

New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera will be participating in his 13th and final MLB All-Star Game on Tuesday, and his American League teammates paid homage to him in fitting fashion.

In a pose that suggests reverence, some of the game’s greats, including Robinson Cano, Miguel Cabrera, David Ortiz and Felix Hernandez, seemingly look down in wonder at the closer who has amassed more saves than anyone in the history of the game.

The 43-year-old Rivera has been pitching unlike a man ready to retire; he entered the break with a 1.83 ERA and 30 saves. He’s also coming into the Midsummer Classic with an unblemished record in previous All-Star appearances, with four saves, five strikeouts and just five hits allowed in eight total innings.

MLB commissioner Bud Selig took time out of his busy schedule to comment on Rivera’s final All-Star game as well. 

Fans on Twitter certainly appreciated the message of the photo as well, with a number of touching notes.

And the most fitting way to honor Rivera Tuesday night is, of course, obvious.

With the National League holding home-field advantage at the Mets‘ Citi Field, it could easily come down to the bottom of the ninth—an all-too familiar scene for a man with 638 career saves. 

One thing is for sure—New Yorkers and fans across the country will be tuning in en masse to watch in the late innings to see Mariano Rivera enter the game to his familiar tune “Enter Sandman.”

It’s bittersweet for fans who have had the pleasure of watching Rivera for the past 19 years, but a glorious exit nonetheless. 


Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Copyright © 1996-2010 Kuzul. All rights reserved.
iDream theme by Templates Next | Powered by WordPress