The superlatives keep flying in, but Mariano Rivera doesn’t seem to be too moved. Another save, the 602th career save, but it all doesn’t matter if Rivera can’t do the thing he’s best at, retiering batters, being clutch, in the playoffs, in the World Series, to win a fifth championship. Still, closing out the 6-4 win over the Twins with his 43rd save of the season was kind of special.
The man demoted to second, Trevor Hoffman, congratulated Rivera – I want to congratulate Mariano Rivera on setting the all-time saves record. It’s a great accomplishment and he is still going strong! I have tremendous respect for Mariano not just for his on-field accomplishments, but also for his service to the community.
Ironically, Mariano’s huge achivement came in front of the lowest attendance in the New Yankee Stadium history, with “only” 40,045 fans witnessing the moments, far from the packed house that was there not too long ago for Derek Jeter’s 3000th hit. Some say that Rivera isn’t just the greatest Closer and relief pitcher in history, but also the greatest Yankee of this generation. I guess the fans who didn’t come thought otherwise.
Maybe it’s a sign that Saves aren’t that big of a deal. It’s a nice stat and all and does indicate a pitchers ability to hold on to a lead. Sure, the guys who get to be closers, like Rivera, have the stuff, have the control, have the power, but it’s a number that can easily be overblown. I’m not saying Rivera isn’t the stuff of legends. He’s been doing it for so long and so good we can’t say that it’s just an overblown stat. Still, Saves have to be taken into proportion. Closers, many a times, have a limited degree of difficulty ahead of them.
Rivera had no difficulties closing out the Twins. He retired Trevor Plouffe, Michael Cuddyer and Chris Parmalee with a strikeout, a trademark cut fastball. As Cuddyer said it – You’ve got a 99 percent chance of knowing what’s coming, and he still is able to go out there and dominate. Maybe that is what makes Rivera so great, so better at this than anyone ever has been and maybe ever will be.
His Saves success is also the best in history among those with at least 200 saves: 89.3%, 602 out of 674. Hoffman is at fifth with 88.8. Rivera seemed almost relieved that the Saves festival is now over – Thank God it’s over, too. Because I was getting a little uncomfortable.
After all, Rivera is about October. He can now quitely prepare for his 16th post season in 17 seasons with the Yankees, the time in which he bought his reputation, with 42 saves in 47 opportunities.