Jun
29

ESPN’s Sunday Conversation with Mariano Rivera

By

Mo talks about the all-time saves record, which closers he thinks are better than he is, when he’ll retire, and lots more. Check it out in case you missed it last night.

Categories : Interviews
  • jsbrendog

    how do you know when its time ti retire?

    when im not efficient. when im not competitive.

    translation: never.

    • Mike Pop

      Heh.

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

    Holtzman [incredulously]: “You think all those guys are as good as you?”
    Rivera: “I think they better than me. I think they better than me.”

    Unbelievably humble, too. Literally, he is unbelievably humble. As in, in order to be that humble, he cannot believe in the truth, because if he believed in the truth he would be forced to say that those other peons couldn’t even remotely touch his shadow. So instead, he fabricates lies to himself in his own mind to make himself think that he’s not as good as Francisco “Three Walks an Inning” Rodriguez to keep himself humble and hungry.

    Amazing. The Good Mo works in mysterious ways.

    • Ivan

      It really is, the guy is almost too good to be true but he is true. The guy is really one of the more special athletes we have ever seen.

      I feel really lucky to watch Mo in my lifetime.

      • jsbrendog

        its a shame that for every 1 mo there are like 25 T.O.s

        why can’t there be 25 mo’s for every 1 TO?

    • Mike Pop

      But, all Yankees are selfish.

      Seriously though, Mo is the man. You’re right, for him to even say that when he knows it’s not true. Just awesome.

  • Ivan

    When Mo said all them closers were better than him, he had one of them looks that said “Nah im just fuckin with ya, they can’t fuck with me”

    • Bryan

      He has respect for all those guys but he knows they can’t touch what he’s done. My favorite part was about Papelbon having to wait until he retires if he wants the Yankees closer job hahaha

  • ArodMVP217 Retire 51

    Mo Plays for Keeps

  • mikef

    The true heir to the MCCarthy/DiMaggio Yankees of the 30’s, and even the core guys of the 50’s like Bauer, Moose, Richardson, Kubek, MacDougal etc & 90’s like Tino, Girardi, Jeter, ONeill – classy, professional, understated, represents the team and sport well and absolute winner.

    He will be missed when he is gone – just look across town at Mr. Heart-Attack, who shows up himself and his players, and melted down last night…..and who likely would be the best-case option if No Mo

    • the artist formerly known as (sic)

      O’Neill understated?

      • http://myspace.com/lincolnsworld Link

        LOL

      • jsbrendog

        everyone who wasnt a yankee fan thought oneill was a melodramatic crybaby. so i wouldnt call him understated. i enjoyed his temper tantrums tho myself

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        -Germans?
        -Nevermind, he’s on a roll.

        • I Remember Celerino Sanchez
          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            I’m so disappointed there’s not an unedited version available on YouTube. That stupid dog mascot ruins it.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            This one is all sorts of awesome, though.

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....re=related

            • I Remember Celerino Sanchez

              That is one amazing movie scene.

              • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                True story: R. Lee Ermey sent in a video of himself berating people as a drill sergeant (in uniform) as his audition tape. Kubrick loved it and gave him the role.

            • I Remember Celerino Sanchez

              Actually, since this is a threat about Mo, this clip is far more appropriate (in light of the key use of the word “closing”):

              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TROhlThs9qY

              • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                Ironically, coffee is apparently not for closers only.

                • I Remember Celerino Sanchez

                  Ha ha! I missed that connection.

    • Observer283

      I hate to do this, but:

      DiMaggio was an unbelievably graceful baseball player. No doubt one of the very, very greatest to play the game. But there is overwhelming evidence that he was not a good teammate, not very classy, and, frankly, a difficult person to deal with.

      Paul O’neill was my absolute favorite baseball player growing up. In fact, the two athletes I paid the most attention to in the ’90s: 1. Michael Jordan. 2. Paul O’Neill. But the man smashed water coolers. Repeatedly. I mean, no fixture was safe in the Yankee dugout or clubhouse if he made an out. Fiery? Yes. Classy? Um, no.

      And these are two examples from the era you refer to. There are certainly others we view in incredibly high esteem from those teams who had personal foibles. Unfortunately, we fans tend to deify players who were on winning teams and demonize players without championships far too often.

      We should judge players based on their play on the field and realize that every “winner” isn’t a saint and every “loser” isn’t a devil.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        Ty Cobb stabbed a guy.

        • the artist formerly known as (sic)

          He also cleated a guy so bad he get suspended, I believe.

          • Mister Delaware

            Didn’t he beat up a fan who didn’t have any hands or something? If not, lets start that rumor. Take that, Detroit!

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

              All three of those things are totally true. No snarkiness or hyperbole.

              Cobb did stab a guy, get suspended for sliding spikes up, and beat up a disabled man.

              • ArodMVP217 Retire 51

                ^Thank Mo for Civil Rights

  • Andy In Sunny Daytona

    If loving Mo is no, I no wanna be si.

  • UWS

    When he listed K-Rod as one of those better than him, I couldn’t help but imagine the sort of gyrations and contortions Mr Rodriguez would execute if he nailed his 500th save. Mo? A handshake and a hug. ‘nuf said.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      K-Rod would probably fulfill Dennis Rodman’s long-stated threat to just rip off all his clothes and run off the court field naked.

      Either that, or he’d set himself on fire.

      • jsbrendog

        can i have option b?

        • ClayBuchholzLovesLaptops

          I take a followed by b.

    • the artist formerly known as (sic)

      Here’s a question. Last year I remember someone saying that Mo had asked for KRod’s locker to be far away from his in the locker room in the All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium. Is this true, apocryphal, made-up?

      • billbybob

        Great vocab word…apocryphal. Anyways, I don’t recall hearing anything about that, so your sources may indeed be apocryphal.

  • Stryker

    love the line about drinking coffee/PEDs. Mo is just absolutely incredible.

    just a thought about if/when Mo retires — here’s a guy who has been playing for about a decade and a half. but he plays and has played in 5 innings a week at the MOST for some time now. given the lighter workload compared to other pitchers who are playing/have played well into their 40s (clemens, wakefield) do you think it’s possible he could very well stick around for another few years beyond his current contract?

    • jsbrendog

      once the cutter wont cut it anymore he should leanr to throw a knuckleball and pitch until he is 70.

    • http://myspace.com/lincolnsworld Link

      I think the main thing is just like he said, when he becomes less effective. Even though he hasn’t logged the kinds of innings those pitchers have, he still is getting older. And even if he threw one inning a week, age will eventually slow his pitches down and make him hittable. I do believe he will pitch at least 2-3 more seasons.

    • Andy In Sunny Daytona

      I look forward to the day when Melvin learns from Mo. After all, Mo is the only one who can teach Melvin anything.

      • Billy

        mo, jesus, and melvin all in one organization

  • Jake H

    MO is just the man. Some humble. I loved the PED’s remark.

    • Billy

      he definately is the total package. great player, great teammate, great person. there’s not much else you can say

  • Billy

    this guy is the epitomy of class. if asked the same question, papelbon probably would have said he’s better than all of them

  • JP

    What comes across nicely in that interview is his sincerity. In post-game interviews, Mo seems to know all the jock-speak buzz words that all players know, and he uses them. But in that interview, it seemed really candid and different for some reason. It was interesting that he was as humble as he was about the other closers, but you could see what he really thought of Papelbon in the later question. “He’ll have to wait for me…” Classic.

  • http://forums.projectcovo.com/images/smilies/e6omir.gif OmgZombies!

    I got into a argument a few years back that he was a top 15 Yankee of all time, and people were like hes a closer and not as important. How wrong they were….

    • Billy

      did the argument come to blows?

      • http://forums.projectcovo.com/images/smilies/e6omir.gif OmgZombies!

        Noo it was like more smh, like you will see in a couple years.
        Similar to how I feel when they say Joba should be in the pen.

        • the artist formerly known as (sic)

          Closers aren’t important, but Joba should…be…in…the…pen?

          Sounds like a bright group.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      No, they were right.

      Mariano Rivera is the best closer in the history of the world.

      But no, he’s not one of the best 15 Yankees of all time.

      Ruth, Gehrig, Lazzeri, Combs, DiMaggio, Berra, Ford, Mantle, Dickey, Jeter, Mattingly, Williams, Guidry, Gomez, Ruffing, Chandler… that’s off the top of my head.

      Top 15 Yankee of all time is a tough, tough group to crack.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        Upon immediate reflection, maybe I’d remove Mattingly from that list, but I may add in Elston Howard, who people forget about.

        I think if we really sat down an made a list, Mo would be somewhere between #16-#20.

        • http://forums.projectcovo.com/images/smilies/e6omir.gif OmgZombies!

          Well we have the Obvious ones
          Ruth Gehrig DiMaggio Mantle and the rest are debatable. So hes easily in my top 10

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            Okay, sorry, no. Besides those four you named, there’s no way Mo’s better than Berra, Ford, Dickey, Gomez, Guidry, or Jeter. Mo’s not a top 10 Yankee.

            • JP

              That’s in the 100% dispassionate, numerically calculated contribution scale.

              But let’s consider another scale – how well someone excels in their given role. Not any role, like utility player, obviously, but a “real” role.

              Relative to relief pitchers, nobody is better than Mo. Probably ever. You can argue about some of the older ones who pitched more innings.

              But Mo is better, among relief pitchers, than Mantle was, among outfielders? Maybe?

              Anyway, that’s a long way of saying that I know what you mean, but I have a hard time not ranking Mo in or very near my top 10 Yankees ever.

        • R.I.P. Michael Jackson

          mo should def be in the top 15 at least. he’s much better than lazzeri and chandler.

        • Jamal G.

          Alex Rodriguez would like a word, just six seasons in or not.

          • Billy

            a liitle early, no? he should finish his yankee career first. he may or may not win a ring, which will define his yankee career, similar to dave winfield

            • Tampa Yankee

              # of rings does not define a career just ask Ted Williams and Ernie Banks.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            I was going to go there too, but I wanted to avoid the lightning rod.

            But yeah, he’s in the discussion too.

            • jsbrendog

              really? already? not takig anything away from him but isnt it a bit early to put him in that list after only 6 seasons?

              • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                He’s not top 20.

                Yet. But 10 years from now, I’d be shocked if he’s not.

                • jsbrendog

                  right. no disagreements there. i was just saying jamal seemed to be putting him in there now and i gotta go with billy in that it’s too early yet

      • R.I.P. Michael Jackson

        he’s better than lazzeri and chandler

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          Well, Chandler is debatable, yeah, but Tony Lazzeri has a career 121 OPS+ from second base. .292/.380/.467 from the 4 spot is nothing to sneeze at. I’ll take Lazzeri.

          Bottom line is, I don’t think anybody can be “so wrong” regarding whether or not Mo is a top 15 Yankee, because he’s right on the edge of #15 one way or another. Mo’s most definitely not a top 10 Yankee, and that alone makes it a hairsplitting argument, because deciding amongst #11-#20 is highly debatable.

          • Billy

            well he is second all time in saves and one could argue he’s the most valuable yankee of the era and the yanks wouldnt have one any of the four rings without him. he’s the greatest closer of all time and may be the best yankee pitcher ever. i’m more open than you are about him possibly in the top 10

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

              one could argue he’s the most valuable yankee of the era and the yanks wouldnt have one any of the four rings without him.

              One most certainly can argue that that’s not true at all.

              he’s the greatest closer of all time

              No argument.

              and may be the best yankee pitcher ever.

              Not remotely. Ford, Gomez, and Guidry are all much better pitchers than Mo. Chandler and Ruffing are in the conversation. But AT BEST, Mariano is the fourth best pitcher in Yankee history. At best.

              • Billy

                i totally disagree about not in the top 15 but i guess he’s not the best pitcher, but some can argue that he is

              • Observer283

                TSJC, i agree completely. There is not a shot in heck that you will convince those that disagree on this issue. Mo cannot be measured by an objective standard in their minds. So the subjective feelings they have towards Mo will win out.

                • JP

                  You can argue that you have to rate Mo a bit higher because he operates in leverage situations, and those situations are even more “leveraged” so to speak in post-season play. A win is a win is a win, and they all “compute” the same, but I think maybe you have to give someone a bit more credit for what they do in postseason play.

                  I’m not getting into the “clutch,” thing. I’m just saying, not judging “guts” or anything else, if you happen to have a good record in postseason, that should count for more.

                  Though, I guess the Yankees have won so many titles, lots of guys have great postseason records.

              • Count Zero

                Overall, I agree. But I’d say Guidry is debatable. No doubt, he was amazing for a five year span, and 1978 was well…ridiculous. But you could make a case for Mo over Guidry.

                Difficult to compare a starter to a closer, but you could point to the admittedly subjective stat that Guidry finished in the top 5 in CY balloting 4 times with 1 win, Mo 5 times with no wins.

                Also, Guidry posted an ERA+ over 200 once, and then a 146 and 140 for a career mark of 119. So I think that Mo’s 9 200+ and 2 300+ for a career 197 is pretty comparable even though it was in relief. And Mo has more longevity albeit with less than half as many IP.

                Apples and oranges, but I think it’s tough to say Guidry definitely ranks above Mo on the list of Yankee pitchers. I’d say it’s pretty damn close.

                • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals

                  Can we put Thurman Munson in as an Honorable Mention?

      • prime

        Mo is easily a Top 10 yankee, and very possibly a top 5. It’s easy to discount his contributions because he only pitches roughly 70 innings a season. For 15+ years he has been, far and away, the most dominating person in baseball at his position (and also the best ever). His post-season numbers are just icing on the cake. You have to judge him by his peers (and not comparing him directly to the others on this list) and imagine if he was replaced with any other relief pitcher in MLB over those 15 years.

        The guy redefined his position, and years from now, I’m certain we will have an award named after him (for the best closer/reliever of the year). His signature pitch, the cutter, will also be remembered as one of the best (if not the best) pitches of all time.

        All of the other guys on this list are great, great yankees. They have longevity, rings and numbers, but they aren’t all best of all time great. Rivera has rings but really has absolute domination at his position, the likes of which only ruth, gehrig, dimaggio, mantle, probably berra (and maybe jeter if he nears 3500-4000 hits) can match.

  • R.I.P. Michael Jackson

    i think the best comment he made was that he doesnt play for records, just for the love of the game.

    • donttradecano

      unlike the closer across town

  • http://sixtyfeetsixinches.wordpress.com Aaron S.

    Saw this yesterday during Sportscenter. TSJC is right, the man is amazingly humble. It’s shocking almost. But damn am I glad he’s wearing pinstripes.

  • Mattingly’s Love Child

    I was going to stay up to watch this on Sportscenter last night but I feel asleep, so thank you Mike for posting this!

  • Charlie

    Wow, Mo is even more awesome than i thought.

  • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

    Sometime at the beginning of 1999 I decided that Derek Jeter being my favorite baseball player was too bandwagon.

    So I chose Rivera because I like the way the name ‘Mariano Rivera’ rolls off the tongue.

    I have never regretted this choice.

    42 forever.

    • http://farm1.static.flickr.com/153/413671602_daded72a81_m.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

      Shouldn’t your favorite player be your favorite just because he, like, IS your favorite? Your mind works in mysterious ways. ;-)

      • UWS

        This should not surprise you. After all, she is a woman.

        • radnom

          In that case – shouldn’t she have a new favorite player each week?

          • UWS

            Her mind works in mysterious ways.

  • Bob Stone

    Mariano is and always has been a class act. And that’s on top of being the greatest closer of all time. I thought his answer about other closers being better than he is to be more than humble (and you wonder if he is just putting on a humble act). But what I enjoyed the most was his answer to the question about Papelbon (the talented but no class antithesis to Mo) saying he would play for the Yankees. It was just great when Mo said he couldn’t close for the Yankees until he is gone. LOVED that comment!!

    • Bob Stone

      . . . and I have to add that it has really been a supreme privilege to watch him ply his trade all these years. It’s hard to imagine the current Yankees without Mo. The very thought that non-Mo Yankees is somewhat near at hand makes every appearance that much more precious.

  • Eric S

    “I don’t play for records. I play for the New York Yankees”

    So speaketh Mo.

  • crawdaddie

    There are certain players that know they’re so good that they don’t have to say it nor act like it. They’re comfortable and confidant enough to let their career speak for themselves without having to say a word to demonstrate to others how great they are as ballplayers. Rivera is like that so is Jeter.

    • Bob Stone

      I agree completely. That is one of the elements that makes them so classy.

  • http://ieatsoupwithafork.blogspot.com/ matt

    mo is such a good guy

  • ClayBuchholzLovesLaptops

    I love you, Mo!

  • Salty Buggah

    Mo is the best, nothing more is necessary.

    • Mattingly’s Love Child

      ditto

  • K.B.D.

    I will have absolutely no clue what to do when Mo retires. His replacement will have to be a supremely resolute mental state to endure all the crap he inevitably will when he blows a save. Only Melvin could manage that. But seriously, that is possibly the most unenviable position to have: heir to Mo.

  • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

    I think watching him walk last night was one of my favorite moments in my 14+ years of being a Yankee fan.

    • Mattingly’s Love Child

      14+ years. Damn you’re young! (being said by the 27 year old…)