New York Yankees relief pitcher Mariano Rivera tore his ACL shagging fly balls before a game today, and ESPN is talking about him with the past tense sad face, like he was torn apart by wild dogs on live television.
They may be jumping to conclusions, but it’s hard to blame them. Rivera is 42–one of those blessed few professional athletes who are older than me and allow me to hold onto my belief that if I did a few sit-ups and practiced really hard for a few weeks I could probably make a pro team myself–and he’s made noises about retiring this year anyway, so he may not want to go through the rehab that would be required to come back at 43.
If he’s going out now, he’ll leave the game as the greatest relief pitcher of all time, his career all the more amazing in light of the fact that he basically only threw one pitch: the cut fastball. He threw it in every situation, everybody knew it was coming, and nobody could hit it. It was incredibly frustrating for me as a fan of any team that was playing against the Yankees.
But Mariano Rivera was hard to root against. He’s a devout Christian, philanthropist, and family man whom I’ve never heard anyone say a cross word about, except under their breath as they walked back to the dugout with a broken bat. Best of luck to him.