When this amazing fire-baller comes out of the New York Yankees bullpen and the start of “Enter Sandman” begins, fans know the pitcher coming in is on his to way sending the other team to bed.
Mariano Rivera has been the Yankees closer so long that it’s hard to imagine the pitcher, who has given up less runs in the post-season than people have walked on the moon, not being in pinstripes after the 2013 season.
It is sad, but all good things must come to an end. So why is Rivera coming back for the 2013 season?
Even though the Yankees aren’t out of anything and have many good players, he isn’t coming back to a team like any other Yankees team he has ever been on. Rivera is coming back to do all he has known for 18-seasons — save a win for the Yankees.
In a recent Spring Training Game, the broadcasters were talking about Rivera and the next day being the start of his farewell tour. All Yankee fans want Rivera back. They feel better seeing him come out of the bullpen to shut the game down in the 9th inning. No fan wants to think the MLB All-Time Greatest Closer is coming back just for a farewell tour.
Rivera is coming back in 2013 with a purpose — to end his career his way. This proud man has said he wanted to leave MLB on a high note, rather than end his career after a fluke injury. Rivera represents everything good and pure about baseball. To have a negative thought about his intentions is ridiculous.
Any talk about Rivera coming back for any reason other than to help the Yankees win games could start a fight with a Yankees fan. Messing with anything to do with a Yankee great is not the best idea, but it is something that has been brought up by those covering MLB.
So many athletes do love the lime-light and have come back as a shell of the player they once were, just to be showered with love from the fans, but Mariano Rivera is not just any athlete.
Rivera could have left after last season’s injury and no one would have questioned his greatness. The reason he is coming back is what so few professional athletes care about anymore – something other than themselves. Even with father time calling his name, Rivera still has enough left in the tank to be the best closer in all of MLB in 2013.
This Yankees team that Rivera is coming back to is far from guaranteed to make it anywhere in 2013. Most “experts” are predicting the Yankees will finish at the bottom of the AL East, yet Rivera is coming back because he feels with him at the back-end of the bullpen, the Yankees have the best chance to prove everyone wrong.
Without a doubt, there is a chance the Yankees could get it together and shock the world by making an amazing run at another World Series, though realistically, the chances are slim this season. This makes what Rivera is doing even more impressive. Rivera is putting his body and the last images of him playing the game he loves on the line, to help the only team he has ever played for make a run at another ring.
Some worry that Rivera isn’t the same pitcher – the pitcher that has made so many players look foolish for 18 seasons, chasing his famous cutter. If Rivera has a bad season, does it change the way Yankee fans think of the greatest closer in the team’s history? If it does, then they know nothing about baseball.
The 2013 Yankees are full of “what ifs”, but rest easy pinstripe fans, the one man fans don’t have to worry about is Rivera.
Rivera will go out his way, and by doing this, he will give the Yankees a better chance at winning. He may be coming off a knee injury, but the man Rivera is, and what he stands for, would not come back just for a victory lap around MLB. He is coming back for one reason – to help his teammates win. He may be older, he may be coming off an injury, but Rivera at 75 percent, is better than any other closer in MLB.
Nik Swartz is the Featured Columnist for the New York Yankees. Follow him on Twitter @sweetnesz13