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Monday, January 23, 2012

MARIANO RIVERA: LOOKING BACK, LOOKING FORWARD

Even though the Yankees did not bring the trophy back home in 2011, we still witnessed so many triumphs, and one of them belongs to the one and only Mo. It’s hard to believe that he has been pitching for 17 years, and will be turning 42 years old. He doesn’t look like he's feeling his age at all. Another thing that is hard to believe….2012 could be his last year, so in the midst of losing Andy Pettitte after 2010, and Jorge Posada announcing his retirement this upcoming Tuesday, I choose to ignore this idea. Instead, I think it is even more important to look back and prepare for 2012 and enjoy every trip he takes to the mound.

For 15 years, Yankee fans have watched Mo be the model for consistency. When he comes out to the mound, fans and opposing players all knew what was coming; but still, even without the element of surprise, hitters could not get the clutch hit they needed. No amount of analysis or tweaking of mechanics could change the end result. As we watched Mo chase after Trevor Hoffman last season, we knew he didn’t need the title of “All-time saves leader,” because regardless….title or no title, he is the greatest closer of all time. Of course, while it wasn’t necessary we all enjoyed watching him finally earn the title by saving the game against the Twins on September 19, 2011.

Even with a new accomplishment, he didn’t even want to bask in his glory. That’s good old Mo for you, even with the title he is still as humble as always. Can it get any better than that? Maybe not better, but his other accomplishments only made 2011 even sweeter. On top of Mo stealing the record, he had another strong season posting a 1.91 ERA, 60 strikeouts in 61 1/3 innings, and 44 saves, making him the first pitcher over the age of 40 to have more than 40 saves in a season. Mo also became the 15th pitcher to make 1,000 appearances, and the first to do so with a single team.

So now what is next for Mo? I wish I had a crystal ball for this one. Mo is in the last year of his contract and has said he wasn’t sure if this would be his final year or not. Read HERE. I am going to cross my fingers and say it isn’t and I will still get pumped up when I see that bullpen door open as Mo jogs to the mound as “Enter Sandman” rings through Yankee stadium. But in any case, going with the theme that is Mo he has proven how consistent he is so I predict to see the same type of numbers. I could see him with a 1.80 ERA, 55 strikeouts in roughly 60 innings and 38 saves. How can you doubt Mo?A lot has changed in Yankeeland in the past 2 seasons, and it has made me appreciate everything Mo has brought to the team. I know he will continue to be successful for us and making predictions can be hard. As the old saying goes, "You can’t predict baseball." One thing I can predict with a lot of confidence though is this… No one will be touching Mo’s record for a very long time... as it should be.



--Jeana Bellezza --BYB Writer and Editor


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