There will be no shortage of memories and stories to commemorate Mariano Rivera's retirement announcement. The all-time saves leader will call it quits after this season, and that comes as no surprise to anyone. It was pretty clear that Rivera wanted 2012 to be his final season (and he said as much in his press conference), but his knee injury threw a wrench into those plans.
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Rivera addressed the media and his teammates earlier this morning in Florida. He spoke of his career, his legacy, his commitment to the team, and the team's commitment to him. Simply put, Rivera was classy as usual.
The 43-year-old Yankees closer will be around to shut the door on Yankees wins for one more season. He will be get the chance to push his career saves to seemingly insurmountable totals. If the Yankees can somehow find a way to overcome all their adversity, Rivera will be able to continue his dominance in the postseason for one more season. But he made it clear, this would be it.
"If I would've finished the season last year, I would have retired last year," Rivera said Saturday. "But I didn't want to leave that way. I wanted to give everything and I felt like I still had something left. This year, I felt like I knew what I needed to do."
Rivera's teammate Andy Pettitte retired once, but the call of the game was too much for him to ignore.
That won't happen to Rivera. He wavered on whether to come back this season at all. There was a time when Rivera had told Yankees GM Brian Cashman he wouldn't be back. Of course, he changed his mind, and we as baseball fans are all the better for it.
Love the Yankees or hate them, there is no denying Rivera's dominance. In 18 seasons, Rivera has posted a 2.21 ERA. He has 608 career saves. He's struck out more batters than a lot of starters do even if they pitched as many years. Then there's the postseason. In 141 innings pitched in the playoffs, Rivera has an insanely low 0.70 ERA. Only 13 people have scored off Rivera in all those innings. He also has an 8-1 record to go along with his 42 postseason saves.
So Major League teams, starts planning your gifts. Rivera's farewell tour will be very similar to Chipper Jones'. Make sure you give him something nice.