Trevor Hoffman announced his retirement yesterday, calling it quits after an amazing 18-year career that saw the future Hall of Famer rack up an MLB record 601 saves.
To put that staggering total in some context, consider that only one other pitcher in baseball history has even 500 career saves and with Billy Wagner joining Hoffman in retirement only one active pitcher has even 300 career saves.
Unfortunately for Hoffman’s chances of hanging on to the all-time record, the “only one other pitcher” in both scenarios is Mariano Rivera and he’s just 42 saves away from 601.
Rivera is 41 years old, but showed little sign of slowing down last season with a 1.80 ERA and .183 opponents’ batting average, and signed a two-year, $30 million contract with the Yankees last month. In other words, barring an unexpected collapse Rivera is very likely to end up as the all-time saves leader. The bigger question is whether it will happen this season.
Rivera saved “only” 35 games last season, which would leave him just short of Hoffman’s all-time mark, but he had 44 saves in 2009 and has saved 42 or more games in a season six times in 14 years as a full-time closer. Expect him to be closing in on Hoffman down the stretch, which should be a nice bit of added drama for the Yankees in September.
The World Series is often played in near winter-like conditions. The 2008 Series was interrupted by a snowy, wintry mix. The 2012 World Series games in Detroit dipped into the 20s. It’s not uncommon to see players wearing balaclavas and other winter gear during the so-called “Fall Classic.”
Not this year, though. Indeed, this year we’re likely to see record high temperatures for Games 1 and 2 at Dodger Stadium.
As of this moment, WeatherUnderground.com forecasts a high in Los Angeles of 101 degrees for today’s World Series Media Day and highs of 102 and 98 for Games 1 and 2, respectively. First pitch for both games is just after 5PM Pacific time, when the sun will still be blazing. The sun will set about an hour or so in to the game which should cool things off somewhat, but the heat will definitely impact pregame workouts and the early innings. Fans showing up three or more hours before first pitch will do well to prepare themselves for the elements.
The hottest World Series game on record came in Phoenix for Game 1 in 2001 when the mercury stood at 94 degrees at game time. That year Major League Baseball unwisely demanded that the Chase Field roof be left open for the Diamondbacks-Yankees tilt. If there is a Game 6 and/or 7 things will be nicer as the long range forecast shows temperatures in the low 70s by then.
Hydrate well, Dodgers and Astros. Those of us watching from cooler temperatures and/or the comfort of our air conditioned homes will feel really bad for you.