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Sunday, February 17, 2013

MARIANO TO RETIRE? THE TEASING HAS BEGUN

So, my mother is a die-hard baseball fan.  We actually come by it naturally.  My grandmother bled Brooklyn Dodger and later Met blue while my mother and father loved the Yankees.  My father always poo-pooed the National League with their pitchers batting and even their start times, which seemingly always caused sun glare across home plate. 

He always thought the ivy in Wrigley was ridiculous and Shea Stadium moved each time he ventured to the Flushing stadium that was certainly not Yankee Stadium.  So, when I talked with my mom last night about the comeback of Mariano Rivera, she sort of scared me.  Here’s how the conversation went:

Mom“Did you hear that Mariano is retiring?
Me“When?”

Mom:  “He just announced it.
Me:  “Where?  My Twitter page is open, no announcement and ESPN is on the television and no headline.  Can’t be.”

Mom:  “Chuck Scarborough said so.” 
Me:  “That’s just his way of getting you to watch NBC News at 11:00.  If Mo was retiring, I would know.”

Mom:  “Oh, it’s just a tease then.
Me:  “Yes!”

Yes, that is pretty much how it went.  This dialogue got me thinking.  How many times do news people tease us into watching meaningless stories through their half-truth blurbs?  And it always seems like it is a Yankee story at the root of these stupid little blips of nonsense.  Whether ARod stepped out of line again or Jeter sneezed, it becomes a tease for us to watch further. 
But this time, this tease struck a nerve.  Mariano is an exemplar of truth and commitment and it seems as if the media do not believe that he has it in him.  They are already setting him up to fail. 

In an interview with Rivera this week posted in excerpt on the Yankee website and via press conference coverage on ESPN News, Rivera spoke from the heart, like he always does (HERE).  “The love of the game, the passion that I have for this drives me," Rivera said. "I come here to win. This is the preparation for that. When I come here, my mind is already going to a different level. And that is winning championships. Those things start in February. That's the way I think and that's what motivates me."  So what if Mariano is 43.  Why is it dooms day?  Why can’t he compete like he always had?  Even smug, overweight Curt Schilling irritated me this morning as he commented on the Rivera press conference.  He didn’t really contribute much to the analysis but he had this look in his eye that gave away what he may have been really thinking- Mo won’t be the same. 

According to the Bergen Record (HERE), “Everything he (Rivera) did was dissected and archived, processed and overanalyzed. A small army of TV cameras assembled a few feet away from where Rivera threw 25 pitches off a mound, alongside Andy Pettitte, Phil Hughes and Hiroki Kuroda. Rivera’s delivery was pure liquid, as always, and looked (mostly) pain free. Still, he’s wearing a brace and seemed to favor the leg ever so slightly while walking.”  As I said earlier this week in BYB’s piece LET THEM HEAL: THE PRESSURES OF ATHLETES TO GET BETTER, we need to give our players time to heal, and in doing so, turn off the spotlights and let them be. 

Let’s face it.  We are all pulling for Mo.  Even non-Yankee fans are.  He is a true competitor and if anyone can make a comeback, Mo can.


As the infamous lines of Linus in the Charlie Brown classic say, “You’ll see, he will be here, I just know it.”  He was referring to the Great Pumpkin, of course, but in this case, Mariano will rise from his fall and be here- I just know it.



--Suzie Pinstripe, BYB Opinion Columnist
Twitter: @suzieprof




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