Exit Sandman: Rivera Retires

Kevin Mahoney

As the MLB season concluded this past week, baseball lost the greatest closer to ever play the game. At the age of 43, Mariano Rivera, or “Mo,” has officially retired.

As the closer for the New York Yankees, Mo accomplished more than any other closer to come before him. He holds the record for most career saves, has won five World Series championships, a World Series MVP and earned 13 All-Star appearances.

However, it’s unfair to sum up Mariano’s career by solely looking at his accolades. Throughout his Hall of Fame career, Mariano not only saved games but also has shown class, simply playing the game the way it’s supposed to be played. This is even more impressive playing in an era that has been riddled with steroids and performance-enhancing drugs. On and off the field, Mariano always carried himself the right way and is a role model to all the young baseball fans and sports fans throughout the world.

It’s fitting that Mo was the last player that to wear the number 42, the number Jackie Robinson wore during his playing days. It’s also fitting that, even at age 43, Mo had one of his best statistical seasons.

A lot of people think that Mariano should stay for another year and that he still has more to give to the Yankees, which he probably does, but that’s not like Mariano. He deserves to go out on top. Rivera has done so much for the Yankees franchise and baseball in general; it would be cruel for him to stick around a couple more years to potentially end on a bad note.

So, as the season officially came to an end this week, so did the greatest of all time. As a gratitude to Mo’s greatnesses, class and legacy, teams around the league honored him with a retiring gift. An odd gesture, yes, but this only happened to him because he’s Mo, simply one of the most respected and universally well-liked sports figures to ever live. He’s never rubbed a person the wrong way and has done everything in his power to touch the lives of others, either through baseball or as a person. So do I think that these “going away” gifts are appropriate? Of course. Mariano is a once in a lifetime athlete and character, someone blessed with the natural ability to shut you down in the ninth but also blessed with a genuinely kind heart.

For those who didn’t watch Mariano’s last appearance at Yankee Stadium, I highly recommend that you do, as it will show that Mo loved the game and gave it everything he had. It’s a shame that number 42 will never run out of the bullpen at Yankee Stadium with Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” blaring in the background, but we have been spoiled over these last 22 years. Not many people get to witness the greatest of all time, but we did, thanks to Mo.

Contact Kevin Mahoney at [email protected]u.