I was shocked this morning, when I heard that Mariano Rivera had torn his ACL while shagging flies before last night's game in Kansas City. A torn ACL means the end of player's season. In Mo's case, perhaps the end of a career.
The depth of how much I despise the Yankees, if you could somehow turn that around, that is how high my respect and admiration for Mariano Rivera goes. The adjectives are endless. Amazing, Brilliant, Fearless. He is without a doubt, the greatest closer in baseball history. The advantage he gives to his team is without compare. It's as if you have only eight innings to beat the Yankees. Once you hear "Enter Sandman", you're done. That steely stare, that blazing cutter, the inning lasts but mere moments. I have never seen another closer even come close to doing what Mo does on a nightly basis.
I watched the video of when the injury happened and it looked like nothing. Mo went to catch a fly ball and suddenly, he crumpled to the ground in extreme agony. One of the players taking BP pointed to the outfield and Joe Girardi and the trainers were out there in a flash. Mo was carted off and that was it.
During spring training, Mariano said he would announce mid-season whether he would retire at the end of the season. He'd already decided, but he wasn't sharing. At 43, he's had a great career and he's one of the few Yankee players left from the glory years of the late 90s. But what now?
I don't want to see Mariano Rivera go out like this. He deserves better. I'm reminded of a Braves/Astros game in 2010. It was late August and we were all wondering if Chipper Jones would announce his retirement at the end of the season and walk off into the baseball sunset with Bobby Cox. Then, during a routine fielding play at third, Chipper was suddenly on the ground, writhing in pain. Torn ACL. Done for the season. Maybe forever. Just as I didn't want Chipper's career to end on an injury, I don't want Mo's to either.
I'm sure we'll hear his decision soon. I hope it's what I want to hear. Mo, don't let it end like this. You deserve better.
After I completed this post, I learned that Mo has said he will be back for the 2013 season. I have an old adage in my head...be careful what you wish for! Nah, I still want Mo to come back and I still don't like the Yankees.