Mo: “Now is the time”

Adam Berry here, filling in for Bryan Hoch. I was told the big story today would be Phil Hughes and David Robertson throwing in the bullpen. For more updates from Yankees camp, check out Yankees.com or follow me on Twitter @adamdberry.

Mariano Rivera walked into the pavilion just outside George M. Steinbrenner Field, closely followed by Andy Pettitte and Derek Jeter and the entire Yankees team. He took his seat at a table in front of the assembled media, next to his wife, Clara, and two of his three sons, Jafet and Jaziel, with Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner and GM Brian Cashman nearby.

He opened with a joke.

“I would like to start by thanking Cashman for breaking his policy of giving extensions to a player. Thank you, Cashman, for giving me a two-year extension for 2014 and ’15,” Rivera said. “I know it’s your policy, but we need to start doing that. Cash, thank you, man. I appreciate that.”

The crowd responded with a laugh, then Rivera got to what everyone knew he was there for, officially announcing that he will retire after the 2013 season, bringing an end to his illustrious and storied career. He would have done so at the end of last year, he said, had he been able to finish the season healthy.

“Why now? Now is the time. Now is the time,” Rivera said. “I have given everything, and the time is almost ending. The thing that I have, the little gas I have left is everything for this year. After that, I’ll empty everything. There’s nothing left. I did everything and I’m proud of it. That’s why it’s time.

“I’m telling you the tank is empty. I think that’s enough. It’s been a journey. One thing I will say, that I will never stop missing the game or the action on the field and my teammates. After that, it’s nothing else. The traveling, hotels and all that, there’s no more in me. I’ll do what I have to do next.”

As for what’s next, Rivera said he wants to spend time with his family and go on a “long vacation” when he’s done playing, but he wants to stay involved in the game by working with Minor League players. 

Rivera said he knew when he came to Spring Training that he was going to make this announcement. He told the team’s ownership, Cashman, Girardi and a few of his teammates. 

He wanted Saturday to be a day of “celebrating,” not sadness. He wants to say goodbye to each city’s fans on what will quickly become the Mariano Rivera Farewell Tour this season, and the Yankees are helping him find and thank “special people in the game” who share his passion for baseball.

He said he wants to be remembered as a team player, someone who was there for others without thinking of himself. And under what circumstances does he want to make the last pitch of his career?

“The last game I hope will be throwing the last pitch in the World Series. That’s how I envision to be my last game of my last pitch on the mound,” Rivera said. “Winning the World Series, that would be my ambition.”

 

3 Comments

Everyone knew he couldn’t go on forever, but the pain of it was mitigated quite a bit with his stellar inning of work. Jeter’s leadoff knock and Mo’s performance took some of the sting of the recent injuries away. Truth is, the Yankees will need good pitching this year to succeed and thankfully Mariano is healthy and we can all watch, “The Great Rivera” one more season.

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Truly the greatest reliever in the history of baseball, I’m gonna remember his clutch pitching in the postseason.

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We knew this day was coming. Still it is a day of sadness/gladness. Sadness because at the end of this year the GREATEST closer of all time is retiring. Gladness because I’llbe going to KC or Arlington to hopefully see him again close out a game.

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