Humility, Grace and Class
I’m not a Yankees fan, but I was able to appreciate Mariano Rivera. He never gave anyone a reason to hate him. He never tried to show up the hitter or the opposing team’s fans. There were no WWE worthy histrionics (see Joba Chamberlain and Francisco Rodriguez). There were no signature celebrations (see the bow and arrow by Fernando Rodney, the untucking of his jersey by Rafael Soriano, or even the Eck’s squinty-eyed fist pump). There were no stare-downs or any bulletin board fodder.
Mariano Rivera seemed ever mindful of the baseball gods’ capricious nature. He just did his job, shook his teammates hands, and tipped his cap to recognize the fanfare.
That’s what I’ll miss about Mariano Rivera
Photo by Charles Wenzelberg
30 Clubs in 30 Days, Day 23 - New York Yankees
When I first thought about which photos to include in this post, I considered compiling a group of some of the biggest free agent busts in Yankee history - Ed Whitson, Steve Kemp, Hideki Irabu, Carl Pavano, Kei Igawa, AJ Burnett, et al. But that seemed too mean spirited.
I grew up in New York but I wasn’t a Yankee fan. But I really wasn’t a Yankee hater either because outside of the Reggie years, they weren’t very good. And when I did watch a Yankee game on WPIX, I did like listening to the Scooter and Bill White call the game.
There were Yankee players who drew my ire over the years. I didn’t like Wade Boggs when he played for the Red Sox, especially after watching him blubber like a baby after the 1986 series. So it really didn’t sit well with me when he hopped on the back of a horse after the Yankees clinched the 1996 series. Joba Chamberlain pisses me off with his excessive celebrations. There was Jim Leyritz with his obnoxious bat twirling, and atrocious Scott Brosius, and Alex Rodriguez because… well he’s Alex Rodriguez (though I suspect that I would be a little more tolerant of A-Rod if his initial trade to the Red Sox had not collapsed).
It took me awhile to warm up to Jeter too (I laugh every time Derek thrusts his hips back every time a pitch is over the inner half of the plate), but you have to respect the way he plays the game and the way he carries himself away from the game. And how can you possibly hate Mariano Rivera? Or Don Mattingly? Or Ron Guidry? Or Willie Randolph?
So I’m not a Yankee hater.
But I never wear my Yankee jersey either. I just have it to complete my collection.