The game’s best closer of all-time announced Saturday morning his intentions to retire from the game of baseball at the end of the 2013 season. Mariano Rivera made his announcement with his wife and children by his side at the New York Yankees’ spring training complex in Tampa, Fla.
Beginning with opening day, baseball teams around the major leagues will be sending off Rivera in a similar fashion to how they did when Chipper Jones announced his retirement. The 43-year-old closer is arguably a better player with more accomplishments than Jones and should get a better send off.
Rivera owns one of the most impressive postseason statistical lines in history. In 16 postseasons, the future Hall of Famer is 8-1 with 42 saves, a 0.70 ERA and a 0.76 WHIP over 141.0 innings. The closer has only blown five saves; that is correct, five. His first career postseason blown save came in his first season as the closer of the Yankees. Five-years later he blew a save against the Arizona Diamondbacks in game seven of the World Series, giving the series win to the Diamondbacks.
The 2004 postseason was the worst in his career, blowing three saves. Two of Rivera’s blown saves came against the Boston Red Sox in the American League Championship Series, one in game four and the other in game five. The blown saves allowed the Red Sox to become the first team in MLB history to comeback from a 3-0 series deficit and advance.
Red Sox Nation was cheering on Saturday morning, however when the closer comes to beantown, they should cheer for him as well, not boo. Rivera is one of the most respected Yankees of all-time. People can’t argue with his statistics, accomplishments and overall dominance at his position. Although he is a Yankee, the man can close out a game.
Additionally, his blown saves were part of the reason the Red Sox went on to win their first World Series in 86 years. Rivera wasn’t the sole reason, however he was a piece of the puzzle. Red Sox fans nationwide should cheer for his career, knowing that their team was one-of-four teams to make him blow a save in the postseason.
Thank you Mariano Rivera.