Closing it out while fighting an injury


As the Stadium emptied out and the Yanks continued to celebrate into the wee hours of the morning, Mariano Rivera stopped by the ESPN stage to chat with Peter Gammons, Steve Berman and Dave Winfield about winning the World Series. Rivera is just three and a half weeks shy of his 40th birthday, and his face expressed elation at capturing a fifth ring.

He started out the interview by talking about the long wait, putting the ghosts of 2001 to bed and Andy Pettitte. Laughing at how Pettitte performed on three days’ rest, Rivera simply said with a smile, “That old goat is wonderful.”

I know Rivera won’t complain about his workload, but he had a very long season this year. Although his regular season innings total of 66.1 was a seven-year low, his 16 postseason innings are the most he has thrown since 2003. He was clearly feeling the effects of making 78 appearances this year. “I’m beat up, man,” he said to the ESPN crew.

And then he let slip a secret. “My side was killing me. I don’t know how I finished,” Rivera said. Yankee fans had a feeling something was wrong with Rivera during Game 4 when FOX caught him holding a heating pack to his right side, and last night, he confirmed what he called a “rib injury.”

Rivera labored last night. He needed 41 pitches to get five outs after using just 13 to get the previous five outs. His velocity seemed to be a tick lower than usual, and his control wasn’t as sharp as it generally is. When the game, the season, the World Series ended, though, Rivera was on the mound, and he could rest his rib. “We did not want to say about it,” he said. “Thank God we finished that today because I don’t think I could go another day with that.”

After the game, though, Rivera said he could keep going. He wants to pitch for another five years and might just be serious about it. “I’m serious,” he said to Chad Jennings. “I hope the organization does whatever it takes to bring me back.”

In today’s Times, Jack Curry writes glowingly of Rivera, and it’s no secret that Mariano is my favorite player. In fact, for every single playoff game this season, I wore my Rivera 42 2008 All Star Game jersey. Now, we hear he is injured, and he closed out the World Series while hurt. Yet, it doesn’t show. He takes the ball; he throws that cutter; he gets his outs. The legend and the greatness of Mo just continues to grow, and five years after he retires, I’ll be in Cooperstown with him, watching a great player earn a spot in the Hall of Fame.

Categories : Playoffs


  1. Me says:

    Gammons’ face expression.


    • I don’t generally buy into the whole ESPN bias argument, but Gammons did not exactly sound thrilled to be there last night in that video.

      • radnom says:

        It’s not that there is an organizational bias from on high, like a certain news channel, but there are definitely very real individual biases, in all directions.

      • jsbrendog says:

        what a cock that gammons!

        “well we finally forgot about the three broken bats in arizona”

      • Jamal G. says:

        His reaction to Mariano Rivera expressing a nine-year wait like it was a lifetime was priceless – it’s like he was saying, ‘You son of a bitch.’

      • Pete says:

        Gammons is getting old – it could just have been waaaay past his bedtime…

        Had there been no game, he’d already have been in bed 3 hours prior with his teeth in a glass on the dresser.

    • kimonizer says:

      No kidding. I love that he essentially said “So you on this year, remember the last time you were here and you blew the save!” Not very classy

      • RIYank says:

        Agree with all that, but to me the most striking thing about that part of the interview (of the whole interview, in fact) is that Rivera’s classiness so completely overwhelms the general blowhard, goony, lowest-common-denominator atmosphere of that ESPN bunch. Even Gammons. To me when Gammons spoke it was like watching someone being very rude to Queen Elizabeth in her presence: instead of damaging the target it just makes the fool look like more of a fool.
        There’s only one, and there will never be another. He is everything you want and hope for in a player. He’s just Mo.

  2. Mike Axisa says:

    I love how Mo just rolls up to the set unexpectedly, uses Dave Winfield as an armrest, and just joins in.

    The guy uses Hall of Famers for armrest. Is there anything more awesome?

  3. Raf says:

    in Mo we trust.

  4. JSquared says:

    Well, 5 out saves with an injury… seems that we call him God, and thats an understatement… 5 more years!! 5 more years!! (atleast!!)

  5. radnom says:

    his 16 postseason innings are the most he has thrown since 2003

    I can’t believe its really been that long since they went this deep in the playoffs.

  6. Jackson says:

    It’s hard to see an end to Mo’s awesomeness. I have a feeling he’s going to be sawing off bats when he’s 50.

  7. Count Zero says:

    Definitely one of my favorite athletes of all time. There is no Yankee I respect more than Mo. There might not be any athlete I respect more than Mo.

  8. Bill R says:

    I really think they should just stay with mo on a year to year basis until he cant do it anymore. I’m mean what have we got to lose?

  9. Mike Pop says:

    Heh, I love how he’s just leaning on Winfield the whole time.

  10. Kiersten says:

    “I hope the organization does whatever it takes to bring me back.”

    Me too, Mo, me too.

  11. Tank Foster says:

    The difference between Mo and Pedro is that Pedro talks about his injury or his illness or whatever the hell it was, right after game 2, sort of excusing himself for the game, or even in advance for his next effort.

    Mo says nothing until it’s over, and I’ll bet if he weren’t euphoric and had a chance to reflect before speaking, he might not have said anything even then.

  12. Salty Buggah says:

    “I’m proud of those four guys”

    Those four guys include himself. There goes Mo talking about himself in 3rd person again. Thanks himself by saying “Thank God” again.

  13. jim p says:

    and five years after he retires,

    That’ll be 10 years after the youngest here retires. Mo has 3 unhittable pitches he hasn’t even broken out yet, and one of those can’t even be described. Your grandchildren will see Mo’s 1,500 save.

    • Tank Foster says:

      Heh…I wish, but we all know someday it has to end. He may last longer than any reliever ever at a high level, but he will decline. At some point, we’ll start noticing that more and more cutters aren’t biting, and are getting hit for line drives. He’ll reach a point where he doesn’t break bats anymore, and lives entirely on precise control with a fastball. He may break out a changeup or something. But it won’t last forever. Maybe the end is 2 or 3 seasons away, I don’t know. But it will end. Everything comes to an end. Which is why we’re all so freaking lucky to be watching it.

      • Thirty5Thirty6 says:

        Heh…I wish, but we all know someday it has to end. He may last longer than any reliever ever at a high level, but he will decline. At some point, we’ll start noticing that more and more cutters aren’t biting, and are getting hit for line drives. He’ll reach a point where he doesn’t break bats anymore, and lives entirely on precise control with a fastball. He may break out a changeup or something. But it won’t last forever. Maybe the end is 2 or 3 seasons away, I don’t know. But it will end. Everything comes to an end. Which is why we’re all so freaking lucky to be watching it.


      • king of fruitless hypotheticals says:

        DUDE…Mo has a knuckle curve that Mo is afraid will shorten Jorge’s career, and Mo has mad respect for Brian’s money and George’s team–Mo wouldn’t dare damage the goods.

        just you wait…

  14. Tank Foster says:

    Actually, Gammons looked pitiful to me – similar to how Dick Clark looks now on New Year’s Eve. It’s sad, actually.

    The broken bats reference–it stings to hear that as a Yankee fan. You want to wring his chicken neck.

    On the other hand, how many freaking things can you ask them about “the core four” and all the other touchy-feely crap? The question may have been motivated by something negative, and I don’t think that’s the right place to ask that question, but I would love to hear an indepth interview with Rivera and hear how he really felt about 2001, and the 2004 ACLS. Because he’s such an incredible star, and continued to be a star, even after those crushing defeats, you want to know how someone with that resiliency thinks.

    Lidge was destroyed, I think, by the Pujols homer. A champion golfer, Tony Jacklin, admitted openly that when he was defeated by Lee Trevino in the 1971 British Open (where he choked on the final 2 holes) that he was never the same player after that; it killed him. Mo has suffered a couple of devastating defeats, but it never seems to affect him, at all, long term. Why is that, other than him being a deity?

    • jsbrendog says:

      it wasnt a question. it was a statement. go ahead and listen again. he says it as point of fact. there is no discernable question anywhere in the statement referencing arizona

      • Tank Foster says:

        Ok I guess I missed that. But if it wasn’t a question, it was an implied question, why else would he mention it? And I would like to hear him answer a question about it.

    • TheLastClown says:

      He’s said it over & over again.

      He has a deep, unflappable faith in the All-mighty.

      People with intense religious conviction like that don’t put too much importance on little things like baseball games.

      He’s got perspective.

      • Tank Foster says:

        That’s what he’d say if you asked him “how do you rebound from failure.” I want to know his answers to questions like “how did you feel or what was going through your mind during the 9th inning in game 7 in 2001″ etc. But you’re right that that is the basis of his life and he would invoke that to explain all of his success.

        I’m a pretty religious person and I find it almost offensive that the sportswriters seem to blow him off when he says this. As if they’re afraid to acknowledge it or talk about it any.

  15. Jeter might be the face of the Yankees, but Mo is so transcendent that you don’t have to be religious to understand he is a gift from God.

  16. Pete C. says:

    Someone should have gotten Mo a chair. Making him stand like that while they spoke to him was just awkward to begin with. Mostly though the talent at ESPN are a bunch of dicks,I played golf with Tom Meese a couple oyears before he passed away, he was cool, I’ve heard Berman’s ok, and So’s Bob Golic but mostly everyone else there has a tendancy to be a little smug. Plus Christ didn’t Gammons used to write for the Globe.

  17. Kiersten says:

    I bursted out laughing at Gammons’ face when Mo mentioned waiting 9 years for this. Priceless.

  18. Handtius says:

    Mo is just amazing. He makes it look so easy.

  19. If I ever have half the class Mo has I’ll consider it a life well spent.

  20. Mr. Exceptional says:

    I’m not buying the Gammons hate here. Yes he’s a Red Sox shill, but he always praises Mo. He calls the guy the most valuable player over the last 15 years. You guys know better.

    Let’s get some perspective.

    On a side note, I’m betting Mo is the first ever unanimous Hall of Famer.

    • I think it’s possible that

      A) Gammons respects Mo as the greatest closer ever
      B) Gammons admires Mo and considers him a personal friend, after a decade and a half of covering him closely as a baseball reporter
      C) It still pains the shit of of Gammons to sit there and watch Mo bask in the glory of victory, because he knows that means the team he loves has lost and the team he hates has won and that arrangement is likely to continue for as long as this great man that he respects and admires is in the employ of the Yankees.

      He praises, respects, and admires Mo, and hates every second of doing so.

    • vin says:

      Nah, there’s too much reliever hate out there for a unanimous election.

      • I doubt the reliever part of it has much to do with it. There’s just too many old-guard BBWAA idiots who do shit like intentionally vote against Rickey Henderson because they want to make sure that nobody ever gets in unanimously, because Miscellaneous Dead Player X whom they love with all their heart didn’t get in unanimously.

        We need to wait for more of these schlubs to die and get replaced with younger, smarter writers who value reason over narrative before someone gets 100% of the vote. Probably takes another generation or so.

        I predict the first guy to get a unanimous first ballot HoF vote hasn’t yet played in the majors. He may not ever have been born yet. But, it will happen.

    • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi says:

      About what, exactly, are people here losing perspective? What Gammons hate? You just stipulated that Gammons is a shill for the Sox, which is pretty much the same thing everyone else has said or joked about. Just because you add ‘but he says nice things about Mo’ to your comment doesn’t mean you’ve kept things in better perspective than anyone else here.

      • Mr. Exceptional says:

        Relax Frances, no personal affront meant to you.

        Perspective relates to the fact that Gammons is actually an accomplished individual who can put personal bias aside to acknowledge a great individual or achievement.

        I really don’t think the guy was gulping back bile as suggested.

        You’re a Congressman, you should know the difference.

        • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi says:

          “Relax Frances, no personal affront meant to you.”

          A) It’s “lighten up, Francis,” not “relax, Frances.”
          B) I didn’t ‘take personal affront,’ I didn’t make any of the comments (about Gammons) to which you referred. Thanks anyway, though.

          “Perspective relates to the fact that Gammons is actually an accomplished individual…”

          Nobody here has argued the opposite.

          “… who can put personal bias aside to acknowledge a great individual or achievement.”

          Arguing the opposite of this, jokingly, doesn’t mean someone ‘lacks perspective.’

          “I really don’t think the guy was gulping back bile as suggested.”

          Nobody suggested that, you just made that up. And, again, disagreeing with the notion that Gammons didn’t look uncomfortable during that segment does not mean one lacks perspective.

          Just… Choose your words more carefully.

  21. vin says:

    It finally dawned on me yesterday that He always manages to take over every interview.

    I’m at work, so I haven’t had the chance to watch this ESPN video, but I’m assuming its no different than when He answers Kim Jones’ question, then brings up a new topic on His own, and fully elaborates on it.

    The man is a treasure.

    5 more years… sign me up.

  22. NYQ says:

    Anyone know what channel will be showing the parade?

  23. Jake H says:

    I would love it if the Yanks did a Wakefield type deal for Mo. Just pay him 10 million a year and have it renew if they excersise the option.

  24. Amy says:

    He has the most beautiful smile … he’s such a joy to watch, on the mound and off.
    “And Thank God for that.”

  25. Mark B says:

    Every time I see Mo on the mound I keep thinking I am seeing the best that ever was and the best that ever will be!

  26. Mike Nitabach says:

    Wow! This just further cements my admiration for Mo.

    I am disappointed I won’t be back in NYC in time for the parade. For all of you who will be there, HAVE FUN!!!!!

  27. Alex S says:

    it’s been bothering me all day but i really need to know why was there no dog-pile? everyone just sort of jumped around

    • Mike Nitabach says:

      Maybe they were all in so much pain from accumulated nagging injuries and wear-and-tear that they just couldn’t bear to pile on each other?

    • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster) says:

      The Yankees are so team oriented that they didn’t like the symbolism of people being “on top” or “on the bottom” of the dogpile, of course!

  28. JM says:

    I’m definitely purchasing an authentic Mariano home jersey with patches and all. He is my favorite Yankee. So humble and everything compared to the idiot relievers we have now… priceless.

  29. Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster) says:

    Mariano is like Brett Favre except that he never has a bad season and actually still does well when he’s injured.

  30. Hey Philly, Yankees ain't the Rays says:

    This is a nice piece on MO:

  31. Mosanna in the highest.

  32. RobC says:

    Mo is why I am a Yankees fan.
    The world needs to know more of him.
    he should do more interviews

  33. Hey Philly, Yankees ain't the Rays says:

    Pretty tired of all the backhanded garbage questions from all sides in the aftermath.

    Even discounting all the $$$-so-it’s-not-fair-and-doesn’t-count talk,

    you’ve got Gammons going “You succeeded! Remember when you failed?”

    And local news guy after local news guy asking “So, Andy. You won. How does that feel when you are old and likely to die soon?”

    etc. etc. etc.

    For one freaking day can’t we just have the following over and over again plsthxbye?

    “Wow. Winning the World Series. Again. How great does that feel?”

  34. Paul M says:

    It’s starting to hit me that the season is over, and I’m getting sad. And, I can’t even go to the parade. Someone cheer me up, I don’t know how I’m going to get through this winter without baseball.

  35. crapula says:

    What I remember from 2001 (besides being sick at heart that night and all winter) was Mo standing there after the game answering every single question with dignity and poise until there were no more. I don’t think I’ve ever respected a baseball player more.

    Oh and Peter Gammons is a sphinctered twat splintered bat.

  36. Marsha says:

    I know no one is going to read this except maybe Ben, but forget the parade–we should have an RAB meet-up at Mo’s Hall of Fame induction. As I said to Ben’s dad tonight, when Mo retires, I’m making our hotel reservation for five years hence as we are planning a family outing to Cooperstown. All RABers are welcome to join us.

  37. fox says:

    “Well Chris… it is a blessing of the Lord”

    Mo saying that into the camera is probably what ill remember most when I am graying and reminiscing about WS past, chills down my spine, even remembering the first time i saw it is like those old slow-mo clips of Arthur Ashe talking or something; just wonderful.

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