Mariano Rivera has been away from pitching in the ninth inning for a long time. It’s his longest-ever layoff, in fact, and the New York Yankees closer can’t wait until he can get back to doing what does best.
Before that time comes, though, he’ll be busy in camp doing the other thing he does best – toying with the media about his potential retirement.
The will-he-or-won’t-he question has become a yearly routine for the 43-year old by now; Mo has the answer, of course, just as he had it last season, and the year prior. Better yet, the future Hall-of-Famer has no problem telling the baseball world if 2013 will be his final season or not.
…just not right now.
You didn’t think it’d be that easy, did you?
That said, Rivera doesn’t plan on keeping folks in suspense for very much longer. Although the 18-year veteran did say that “[he] won’t give it up until [he's] ready for that”, and that the announcement will come at “the right moment”, that moment is going to come sooner rather than later.
According to Bryan Hoch of MLB.com, Mo’s decision will come before the season begins.
It’s not the first time that Rivera has set up a prelude to a potential decision announcement about his career, and the cat-and-mouse game has been something that he seems to have a little fun with. Still, you can imagine that there are reasons why Rivera might want to wait “another day or week” before giving his answer.
Mainly, there’s the personal quest of him trying to return to form coming off ACL surgery last season. At the point of his injury last year, he didn’t give a clear answer about whether he’d return this year, but that quickly changed once he found out the extent to his injury.
Rivera was determined to come back, and he wanted to do it at the top of his game – so that he can leave it on his terms.
Perhaps he’s still taking the time in camp gauging whether he can do so, and the decision may change based on whether he thinks he can pitch on through 2014 and on. Or perhaps, he’s just enjoying building the anticipation of the announcement, and stringing the media along for the ride.
Either way, the Yankees’ own little version of the Decision should come before Opening Day, with Mo being the show-runner and star.
To have it any other way would just be un-Rivera-like, and after such a long time away, the Yankees’ closer “will do whatever it takes to be [himself] again”.