Monday 20 January 2014

Exit Sandman

The calendar has turned over to 2014, and the New York Yankees are trying to piece together a contender for this upcoming season. Things still feel a little different around the squad, as Marino Rivera has officially retired and can therefore no longer be counted on to close games. Fantasy baseball owners will definitely miss his production, but what baseball will miss more is one of the best individuals in the history of the game.
 Baseball certainly has suffered from its fair share of controversy in the past, but that never seemed to be anywhere near Rivera. It is rare that such a dominant pitcher is also so universally liked by not only his teammates, but also his opponents. In movies, closers are often depicted as the villains who are a little crazy. In fact, there are quite a few closers who are not exactly all there. However, during Rivera’s farewell tour, fans around the United States got to see one of the most graceful yet overpowering pitchers take the mound in the 9th inning and close out a victory.

After converting from an infielder to a pitcher, Rivera basically got away with throwing one pitch his entire career. It just so happens that that one pitch might be the most unhittable pitch of all time. His cutter was dominant against right-handed and left-handed hitters during his entire career. Even when his velocity started to go down a little bit, he was still able to place the ball where he needed to in order to have success. In an age where most closers have multiple pitches and even throw harder than him, Rivera kept it pretty simple while being very dominant.

Fittingly, Rivera will be the last player in baseball history to where the number 42. It has been officially retired throughout baseball because of Jackie Robinson, but the Yankees will probably do something to make sure that they honor Rivera as well. New York will be forced to find a new closer this season, and fantasy baseball owners will have to finally targets somebody else. The New York Yankees might be trying to move on, but replacing Rivera will be easier said than done in 2014 and beyond.

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