November 10, 2012 by Matt Musico
It’s a sight that many Yankees fans have been waiting to see since Mariano Rivera went down with a torn ACL after shagging some fly balls during batting practice back in May. At The Hackley School in Tarrytown, NY, the iconic closer got back up on the hill for the first time since his surgery, and threw 25 pitches off the mound while doing a shoot for a commercial. When he first injured himself, Rivera promised reporters he would return in 2013, not wanting his storied career to end this way. As recent as a week ago, Rivera sounded unsure about whether or not he wanted to don the Pinstripes again next year, but he’s now decided he wants one more summer in the sun.
Technically, he’s a free agent now that his two-year/$30 million contract ran out at the conclusion of the 2012 season, but it’s surely going to be the Yankees or no one for Mariano when it comes to teams he will consider signing with. He showed no ill effects on the mound from his injury, and he reported that his rehab has been going well. There have been his good days and bad days, but he’s well on his way to being 100%, and fans are already looking forward to hearing “Enter Sandman” at the start of the ninth inning in the Bronx once again.
Rivera doesn’t have anything left to prove in his career; he’s the all-time career saves leader with 608, he’s been selected to 12 All-Star games, he owns 5 World Series rings, and is well-regarded as the best postseason relief pitcher in the history of the game (8-1 record, 0.70 ERA, 0.76 WHIP, 42 saves, 110 Ks in 142 IP). However, he wanted to come back and pitch next season to end things on his own terms:
“Like I told you guys before, I didn’t want to go out like that. At the same time, we haven’t discussed anything. We’re talking, so hopefully we’ll finalize everything.”
I doubt the contract negotiations will be hard, but I love the fact that Rivera wants to finish his career how he wants to finish it. In just about anything in life, specifically in professional sports, we rarely get to end things the way we want to; there are plenty of extrinsic factors preventing that from happening. When we’re talking about baseball, there are numerous players that hang on as long as possible because they’re not ready to say they’re finished yet, while others have to retire too soon for various types of reasons. For Mariano Rivera, he has the opportunity to close the book on his Hall of Fame career the way all ballplayers dream of doing it…at the top of their game.
I applaud Mo for giving it one more season; having him around is good for baseball, and allows him to have a proper send off in what will likely be his final season in Pinstripes.