Mariano Rivera was asked this morning if this will be his final season and the 42-year-old future Hall of Famer gave an interesting answer: “I know now, but I don’t have to tell you.”
Different reporters had different takes on exactly what that implied, but Marc Carig of the Newark Star Ledger thinks Rivera was hinting at retirement. Carig wrote: “He wouldn’t say it straight out but Mariano Rivera sounded like a man at the start of a farewell tour.”
If true that would be pretty huge news and, while Rivera might think he can dance around the topic for now, it’s tough to imagine the constant spotlight of the New York media won’t eventually get him to address it further.
Rivera has yet to experience a decline in his performance, saving 44 games with a 1.91 ERA and 60/8 K/BB ratio in 61 innings last season. It was the eighth time in the past nine years that he’s posted a sub-2.00 ERA and the 7.5-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio was the second-best of his entire career.
I’m about as far from a Yankees fan as someone can be, but selfishly I’d sure love to see Rivera keep pitching until he at least ceases being amazingly dominant. Which, knowing him, might be 2017 or so.
Back during the 2015 playoffs the sorts of New York media types who love to find reasons to criticize players for petty reasons decided to criticize Yoenis Cespedes for playing golf the day of a playoff game. The Mets won the series with the Cubs during which the controversy, such as it was, occurred and it was soon dropped.
It was picked back up again in 2016 when Cespedes, while on the disabled list with a strained quad, was seen playing golf. Despite the fact that everyone involved said that golf did not contribute to his injury and that golf would have no impact on his injured quad, it was deemed “a bad look” by a columnist looking to get some mileage out of bashing Cespedes for having a hobby that probably half of all ballplayers share. They did it when he showed off his fancy cars too, by the way, even though just about every ballplayer has a fancy car or three. When you’re a superstar in New York — especially when you’re one with whom the media is not particularly close for various reasons — you’re going to catch hell for seemingly nothing.
Now there’s a new twist to the Cespedes golf saga. Yoenis himself says that his poor start — he’s hitting .195/.258/.354 and leads the league in strikeouts — is due to . . . not enough golf! From the New York Times:
He gave a possible reason for the poor start this weekend: not playing enough golf, a hobby beloved by many baseball players. And, yes, he is serious.
“In previous seasons, one of the things I did when I wasn’t going well was to play golf,” he said after a game on Friday in which he struck out four times but still drove in the go-ahead run in the 12th inning. “This year, I’m not playing golf.”
The story says Cespedes quit golf last summer because he worried that it was contributing to hamstring problems. He’s thinking about going back to it soon, as he thinks it’ll help his swing. Given that he’ll catch hell either way, he may as well do what he wants.