Sometimes I wonder if, in all the celebrations and gifts and festivities and shouts of praise –- and even in the occasional backlash story that pops up -- we are missing what it is that has made Mariano Rivera extraordinary. Sure, he has been an amazing relief pitcher. It’s also true he throws less than 75 innings a year. Yes, his postseason performances are so amazing the numbers look like typos. It’s also true he was on the mound from time to time when things fell apart.
He has been the indomitable finisher on the indomitable team of our time, the guy on the mound at the end when the New York Yankees win again.
But in the end, I think, there’s something else, something bigger than all of that.
Mariano Rivera has been the perfect athlete in a time long after we stopped believing in perfect athletes.