You did not have to read lips to know what Alex Rodríguez was saying, "OH MY GOD, OH MY GOD, as he was clutching his head upon seeing Mariano Rivera fall.
That must have been the reaction from everyone in the Yankee organization and the thousands of Yankee fans that stayed up late to watch the news and see Mariano Rivera falling in the warning track at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City holding on to his knew appearing to be in some serious pain.
Mariano who has been the quiet super closer for the Yankees since 1997 created the loudest concerns from his unexpected accident that will definitely affect the Yankees in more way than one. His stability and reassuring calm on the mound has been a trademark of many Yankee victories. That attitude on the mound under the most stressful situations has also trickled down to the locker room and dugout. Every Yankee player and many opposing ones know that if the Yankees have a lead in the late innings, it's a wrap because of the Yankee bullpen and its most centered player, Mariano Rivera.
I was recently talking to Mariano informing him that he had won the prestigious LatinoMVP award as the top reliever/closer in the American League. Having won the award for the eight consecutive times, Mariano was as always very appreciative to Latino Sports and the sports writers that had voted for him. He was pleased to learn that he was sharing the award with Detroit's, José Valverde (see story on the site). That has always been Mariano's style, never taking credit, but sharing it with everyone involved. That is why this injury is more than Mariano not being able to pitch for the rest of the season; it's about an anchor that the Yankee ship needs to help keep it steady.
Mariano is not a typical 42 year old, he is an outstanding athlete with an incredible body and that was the reason he was chasing that fly ball in center field. If you ever watched him during batting practice you would see a him chasing fly balls like a regular outfielder who actually played the outfield, something not done by any other pitcher in the Yankee organization, or I believe in any other team. Pitchers know there role and when they are in the outfield during batting practice they are not chasing anything. They are just loosening up and retrieving baseballs. However, not Mariano who has fantasized playing one game in center field before he retires. He has said that much to his manager, Joe Girardi.
"He's been doing it (chasing fly balls) and no one ever said a word. Gerardi said, "That's who he is. You take that away from him and he may not be the same guy, the same pitcher."
Mariano is no doubt considered the greatest closer in the history of baseball. His 608 saves last year set a new record and his 5 saves this season gives him a total of 612 saves in 18 seasons of baseball. There is a strong possibility that 612 will be the last save of Mariano Rivera's career.
Visit www.Latinosports.com for pictures and awards of Mariano Rivera.