Mariano Rivera’s illustrious career will come to a close this weekend in Houston. Here’s what I hope happens, and I truly mean this with no malice in my heart: Sunday afternoon, last game of the season, bottom of the ninth, two outs, Yankees with a 1-run lead, bases loaded, Rivera on the mound, Jose Altuve at the plate…and Altuve hits a walk-off double to win the game.
That’s how Rivera’s career comes to a close…with a whimper in Minute Maid Park against the Houston Astros.
I don’t want this because I hate Mo. To the contrary, I’ve seen the man pitch in person at Yankee Stadium dozens of times over the course of the last 19 years and I admire his abilities greatly. Nor do I want this simply because I’m an Astros fan and I’m looking for at least one moment of success during what has been a miserable three-season stretch of losing. I always want the Astros to win, but this is about more than taking one meaningless game.
I was hesitant to write this column. I’ll admit, I got tears in my eyes when I watched Rivera’s final walk off the mound last night in Yankee Stadium. It was touching and elegant. Rivera is clearly one of the classiest professional athletes in any game, at any time.
I’m happy that I had the privilege of watching him pitch and he deserves a world of accolades.
No, my problems reside with this season-long deity worship of Rivera. This is more about my frustration with Major League Baseball, with its sportswriters and its fans. Continue reading »