February 20th, 2012 by Jane Heller

I just read this on Lohud and let out a wail in my empty house.

Mariano Rivera has made up his mind about next season. He said it was “two or three weeks” ago that he decided whether or not to retire, but he’s not ready to make that decision public.

“I know,” Rivera said. “I know now. Definitely. I won’t let you know now, but I know.”

Rivera tried to be cryptic about his decision, but everything he said heavily suggested that he’s decided to retire. A few of his comments:

• “It doesn’t depend on how I’m going to pitch. Always I want to do my job, but I’ve made my decision already.”

• “Even if I save 90 games. Even if they want to pay as much money as they want to, any team, (it won’t change the decision).”

• “Decisions like that are always hard. Always. They involve what you do and what you have done for 22 years. Decisions like that are always hard, difficult, but at the same time, they have to be made.”

• “I know what I want to do after this. There’s a lot of things I want to do after baseball. I always tell you guys that. It’s something that everybody goes through.”

• “If I wanted to become a manager I would continue playing until I can’t no more because you have to do the same thing, traveling and traveling.”

• “This one is different. This is it. This one is my decision.”

I knew this was coming. And I do understand why Mo would want to hang it up after this season. But as I’ve said many times, I can’t imagine my Yankee-fan life without him in it.

I also know I’ll savor every appearance he makes this season, all too keenly aware that it could be his last.



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14 Responses to “Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!”

  1. Jeff says:

    I don’t understand the idea of making a statement to the public that you’ve made up your mind but are not ready to make a statement to the public. Just… don’t say anything then or… SAY something. I don’t get this. Does he not want a farewell tour? Mo’s one of the greatest of all time so I think he owes it to the fans to give us that tour at least, but maybe that’s just me being selfish. I don’t know. At least he got to do it all in one uni. Jeet and JoPa too. They’re the very last of their kind it seems.

  2. Jeff says:

    Also, sorry I wrote “JoPa” for Jorge. I don’t know what I was thinking. Obviously, I wasn’t. My bad.

  3. Jane Heller says:

    You make a good point, Jeff. I guess he had just gotten to camp today and the writers descended on him and he wanted time to tell Cashman, Girardi and his teammates before announcing officially. He’s so understated that the idea of a farewell tour just isn’t in his nature, I wouldn’t think.

  4. John says:

    Fear not Jane, this is why the Yankees continue the tradition of Old Timers Day. Our favorites may reach there end of playing days but they always reunite on that special day and remind us of why we are Yankee fans.

    Yes Mariano will retire, I am sure, this year. Yes we will all be devistated. Of all the Yankee I have had the opportunity to talk to at spring training none has been as personable as Mariano. He is a special human being and we have had him for 22 years. If it is now time for him to enjoy what he has worked so hard for all these years so be it. We should thank his family for sharing this great man with all of us.

    I am confident in the future because David Robertson, who I believe will be given the chance to become the closer, is ready, willing and able to do the job. In a lot of ways he is like Mo. Soft spoken, dedicated, intense and humble. He has had a few years to absorb everything from the master and appears ready. I am sure Mo will continue to teach him well this year.

  5. dj02 says:

    We knew it was coming, but it is disappointing and heartbreaking all the same. I don’t think any of us can imagine the Yankees without Mo. I guess I must make sure to take my little baseball fan to a game this year so that he can say he saw the greatest closer of all time pitch in person. Just sad to see the end of an era. They were talking about Pujols yesterday on MLB radio and how there is no loyalty with players nor teams anymore. It makes me sad. On the other hand, it makes me even prouder to be a Yankees fan as Mo, JoPo, and Jeet are all pinstripe lifers. Haters can say what they want about buying championships, etc., but we know the Yankees have history, pride, and loyalty on their side!!

  6. Jane Heller says:

    Normally, I’d agree with you about Old Timers Day, John, and the fact that our old favorites will always show up and remind us how much we enjoyed them as players. But Mo? Different story for me. I want to see him on the mound in the 9th inning. I want him around all the time. He’s my favorite Yankee, so it’ll be harder to let him go. Will Dave Robertson be our closer in 2013? He’s certainly on that path. Soriano was supposed to be the heir apparent, but we’ll see how he fares this year.

    Yes, DJ, you must take your son to a game to see the great one before it’s over. I saw Pujols in his Angels uniform last night during a piece on the MLB Network and they were saying how it’s unusual for a player to stay with one team his entire career. Not for Bernie, Jorge and Mo. Derek too. I’m proud of that.

  7. yankeefansince1941 says:

    I understand, Jane. I have seen many of my favorites leave baseball; Charlie Keller, Spud Chandler, Whitey Ford, Bill Dickey, Joe Di Maggio, Mickey Mantle, Bernie Williams, and dozens more. We will miss Mo, but another will come along to capture our imaginations. Another will arrive on the scene as the new PHEENOM the way Mantle did, and the way Cuddles Marshall (who didn’t make it) did. But we still have a solid team and there are some lights glimmering in the minors who may make future fans forget about some of our favorite players.

  8. Jane Heller says:

    I hope you’re right, yankeefansince1941. I was really excited when Joba burst onto the scene in 2007 and everybody thought he would become “the next great Yankee.” I’d love to see a phenom come up from the system and have the kind of impact and longevity as the other greats have had. May it happen!

  9. Bob Cerv says:

    Between bites of lunch, reading this bit by bit, my first thought was ohmigod, he’s retired. Didn’t know he was signed/committed to this season (how silly was that?), so if it was so, it was so. Must take pleasure in knowing there’s one more ride on the carousel ahead.

    Slightly worried that it could end badly, in a Trevor Hoffman-style burnout, suddenly he has nothing left. But this is MO — the greatest EVER. If somehow that were to pass, he’d retire before Memorial Day, and maybe well before that, because he’d know. You’re right too that he doesn’t want a farewell tour. But when the Yanks come to Nats Park, we have four tix for one of the games, and I sure hope he strides in from the bullpen for our game…

    ‘Twil be an interesting conundrum for other teams’ fans. Usually, when you know a great player’s gonna retire, it’s a position player (or maybe a starter). They can be gracious and say/hope they get a few hits, or even a HR, or pitch 6-7 good innings, but that Their Team wins. But for Mo…they only see him when he’s in there to get the last few outs, to guarantee that Their Team loses…goodbye to graciousness?

  10. Jane Heller says:

    I don’t worry at all that it will “end badly,” Dave. There’s no evidence that he’s been on the decline. Any closer would have taken his 2011 numbers with pleasure. I hope you do get to see him when the Yanks play the Nats. That would be a treat. As for the other team’s fans, I wouldn’t expect them to cheer for him – not until he gets his final out and it’s the end of a great career.

  11. James Buxton says:

    Dear Jane and friends of the Blog.
    I just don’t want to believe it, but we know it has to end. I’m envious because you could see The Mick, Roger, Yogui, the Perfect game by Don Larsen, Ford, and all those great players. I’m blessed because I knew Bernie, Tino, Paulie, Andy, JoPo; but specially Derek and Mo. He is also my favorite Yankee, always has. I admire him because his humble attitude, his selfless, his smile, charisma, and the way he lives (or just ignores) his greatness. He is the greatest closer of all time, and I seriously doubt someone will ever get close to him (I’m talking to you papelbon!)
    When he retires, we all know we witnessed the greatest closer that ever lived, the greatest teammate anybody can ask, the greatest teacher, and the greatest cutter the Yankees will ever see. We’ll share a sad moment that day. Tears of sadness, and joy, for all he brought to our lives.
    I hope someone writes a book about him, maybe you could do it, I’m sure it will make him justice.

  12. Jane Heller says:

    I’d write a book about him in a heartbeat, James. Actually, I’d write a book WITH him is more like it. If he decides to do his memoirs and needs a ghostwriter, I’d do it for free.

  13. Emma says:

    I was probably under a rock that I did not hear about Mo but that is me, I seem to miss things going on in my dept at work. Wish Dodgers w
    ould bring back Oldtimers day.

  14. Jane Heller says:

    Well, he didn’t make an official announcement about retiring, Emma, so it’s understandable that you’d miss this story. He just strongly indicated that he’d call it quits.