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Rivera did it the right way PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, July 18, 2013 12:11 AM

BY JIM METCALFE

Sports Editor

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I really liked what the players did Tuesday night in honoring legendary New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera at the Major League Baseball All-Star Game.

They allowed him his moment in the sun on the field to begin the eighth inning, with not another soul on the field as he trotted in from the bullpen for his swan song.

He admitted that it nearly brought him to tears.

I admit, I am no New York Evil Empire … er, Yankee … fan but that got to me.

As I have gotten older, I have come to appreciate great performances, no matter who it is or who they are playing for. This is his finale and the game will miss him dearly.

I appreciate even more that after his ACL injury last spring, he could have packed it in and called it a great career but he had enough pride — to me, a good pride — that he didn’t want to end it that way.

He wanted to see if he could come back and still pitch at the highest level when so many others might not have done so.

Good for him.

These guys — and gals — are legends, great players that deserve to be recognized for what they have done on the field or in the arena.

Rivera — “Enter Sandman” is his theme song, which I find amusing! — is one of those. If he is not a sure-fire, first-ballot Cooperstown electee, something is wrong with the voters.

He has done it the right way: with humility, not calling attention on himself, letting his work “speak volumes” instead of his mouth.

He has not made enemies but friends, even as he has become the best at his craft. He realized you don’t have to be a horse’s rear end to be a good player.

Who can’t appreciate someone who has become the best at his business when everyone KNOWS what he is going to do; in this case, he is going to throw that cutter and still no one really has figured it out.

He has made the bat industry a fortune!

Whether the players did this act of class on the spur of the moment or they “conspired” is moot; they did the right thing.

I have lamented the loss of the sense of perspective of what has come before and made the game — be it the National Pastime, the National Football League, the National Basketball Association or whatever — what we have today.

I think the players are realizing — maybe it’s wishful thinking but I try to give the benefit of the doubt in my “advanced” age! — that it’s guys like Rivera that have set the tone, have put the standard at such a high level that just striving for it will make the game better.

With so many young players making deep marks in the game these days, you can only hope that they will keep working their behinds off and make the game better.

If I am Commissioner Bud Selig, I have to be ecstatic about all the great young talent coming into Major League Baseball these days, especially pitching.

Unfortunately, who is the next class guy like Mariano Rivera?

We’ll find out.

If I am Selig, I automatically bring Rivera on board as an unofficial “advisor.”

Just like in NASCAR and stars like Jeff Gordon asking for weekday night races to get more fannies in the seats and more eyes on the TV screens during the dog days of summer.

These guys are the reasons what NASCAR is where it is today.

If you are going to rely on anyone to make decisions, shouldn’t it be the guys fighting “in the arena”, on the court or on the field?

After all, they are in touch with the fans on a regular basis.

You can have too many cooks making the stew and it turns out to be mud.

That doesn’t taste very well!

 

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