arguably the greatest closer of ALL TIME wants to try his hand at a new position – center field.
It’s no secret that Rivera enjoys shagging fly balls in center field, it’s how he injured himself last May. Rivera has been saying for years that he wants to play one inning in center field before he retires from Major League Baseball.
We all know that this is Rivera’s last season in the big leagues. Every team has honored him in his last trip to their home ball park, giving him gifts and standing ovations, even the arch-rival Boston Red Sox. The Yankees had a big ceremony on Sunday, retiring his number, 42, as a Yankee. It was already retired throughout baseball for Jackie Robinson, but Rivera was allowed to continue to wear it for the duration of his career through a grandfather clause.
The man is the greatest of all time, and he was a huge part of five World Series Championships for the Yankees. The Yankees had better let him do whatever the heck he wants to do, as long as he doesn’t make a mockery of the game.
I respect Girardi for not putting him out there against the likely playoff bound Tampa Bay Rays, as affecting a playoff contender’s chances would affect the integrity of the game. But the Yankees are not going to the playoffs this year, and they’ll be playing baseball’s worst team, the Houston Astros, in a meaningless series to end the season.
According to MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch, Yankees’ Manager Joe Girardi is “absolutely” considering letting Mo play in the outfield during the upcoming series in Houston.
Ensuring that nobody thinks that he is just doing this to make light of his 2012 injury, Rivera said “This is not a game for me, guys, I don’t know how you guys take it, but this is not a game for me. This is something I respect. I requested it way back, a long time ago, and now my knee is back. So we’ll see what happens.”
So many of us have had the dream to play even one inning in the Major Leagues since we were little kids. Rivera is a kid at heart. He has lived the dream for 19 years as the most dominant closer of all time, and he did it with class. The dude has one more dream, and I really hope that he can live it out.
Girardi said that he is unsure how he would work Rivera into the game as an outfielder. He said hypothetically that he could run Rivera out as the 8th inning center fielder, and then have him close the game out by pitching the 9th.
Yankees General Manager doesn’t seem to have any problem with it. Cashman said “It’s whatever Mo wants, as far as I’m concerned, in Houston. If that’s something of interest, I’m sure he and Joe will work it out.”
I for one would like to thank Mariano Rivera for all of the great things that he has done on and off the baseball field over the years. I’m a lifelong Yankees fan, and the end of this season may be one of the “single tear moments”. I hope that he gets to live out his dream, and if he does, be sure to check out Reading Between the Seams‘ coverage!
Thank you Mo!