While he was shagging fly balls in the outfield before the game in Kansas City last night, the greatest closer of all-time Mariano Rivera landed awkwardly and crumbled into a heap, clutching his right knee.
He was carried to a cart by his teammates and transported to a local hospital for an MRI. Soon after, Yankee fan’s worst fears were realized, Rivera had torn his ACL and meniscus in his right knee and his 2012 season was over. He will have reconstructive knee surgery and faces a 6-8 month intensive rehabilitation process. Worse still, with a lengthy recovery ahead of him at the age of 42, his Hall of Fame career may be over.
I’m not going to get into his legacy right now its clear he stands alone as the Greatest Closer of All Time. He has the most saves of all time in both the regular season and the post season. Known for his borderline superhuman durability, his iconic career should not end in a freakish injury while shagging fly balls, and Yankee fans worldwide wish him a quick and speedy recovery.
I wanted to get into the two reactions that I’m hearing from Yankee fans in NYC this morning its going two ways:
1) Rivera is an idiot! What the hell was he doing shagging fly balls in the outfield? He deserves an injury like that for fooling around in the outfield, it was bound to happen, he should know better.
2) Typical Girardi! How on earth could he let his star closer shag fly balls and risk injury? He’s a terrible manager!
Both of these reactions are foolish, and any Yankee fan who has followed Rivera’s storied career over the past decade knows that they are completely false.
Rivera loosened up before every single game by shagging fly balls during batting practice for the last two decades. His freakish athleticism prompted one of his minor league umpires to call him “The best outfielder on the team.” He planted his foot on the run and his knee gave out during his daily routine, his legendary durability finally gave out, and his seemingly invincible 42 year old body finally failed him.
Rivera had been hinting that the 2012 season would be his last before the injury occured, already the Greatest of All Time, his legacy as the best pitcher in the history of the winningest organization in all of sports is cemented. Rivera was still playing because he was still able to do his job better than anyone else and because he loved the game, that’s what makes this injury so tough to deal with as Yankee fans. One has to wonder if Mariano Rivera will call it a career, or will he rehab the knee and attempt to come back, just to prove all the experts and scouts wrong again.
One more thing, most baseball fans have been very gracious, and lament seeing the best ever down in a heap, clutching his knee. As a sports fan, you should never root for a player to be injured, especially an all around great guy like Rivera.
To every Red Sox fan who high fived on their lobster boat when Rivera went down, I wish you another decade of Bobby Valentine throwing his players under the bus in post game press conferences.
To every fat Phillies fan who laughed when they saw the greatest of all time getting carted off the field, I hope Ryan Howard tears his other Achilles while toweling off Chase Utley after a standing 69 shower. Also, I hope you never know how good a Super Bowl tastes, us Giants fans can tell you, its amazing.
And finally , to the Mets fans, who are inexplicably thrilled with seeing a New York icon and a baseball legend tear up his knee, you are the biggest losers of all. I condemn you to an eternity of being Mets fans, the darkest chamber of hell.
UPDATE: Mariano Rivera vowed to play again this afternoon saying “I’m coming back. I’m not going out like this.” If I had to pick one 42 year old who could come back from a knee injury like this without any change to his game, its Mariano Rivera.