Seemingly every time Mariano Rivera blows an early season save the question of whether he’s finally going to cease being the most dominant pitcher in baseball becomes a discussion topic for a couple days. And then he goes back to shutting everyone down and it’s forgotten.
Until now, as Deadspin has gone digging through the archives to find a decade worth of Yankees reporters and New York columnists speculating about and, in many cases, predicting Rivera’s demise.
Deadspin: 10 Years Of Newspapers Declaring That Mariano Rivera Is Too Old
I’m sure some of the writers quoted in the Deadspin collection will take offense, but it’s really more a tribute to Rivera’s incredible longevity and unwavering greatness than anything else. He’s a cutter-throwing machine.
We’ve poked fun often at the spring training trope of players showing up to camp in the “best shape of [their] life.” Reds first baseman Joey Votto has turned that entirely on its head. Talking about his offseason, the 2010 NL MVP said, “I tried to get fatter. I succeeded at that apparently. We did all the testing and I am fatter,” Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. Votto, of course, wasn’t trying to say he’s not in shape; he was just using some of his trademark self-deprecating humor.
Votto did get serious when discussing the state of the rebuilding Reds. As Buchanan also reported, Votto said, “I think we’re starting to get to the point where people are starting to get tired of this stretch of ball. I think something needs to start changing and start going in a different direction. I’m going to do my part to help make that change.”
Votto, 34, is under contract with the Reds through at least 2023, so he still has plenty of incentive to help see the rebuild through. He has been nothing short of stellar over the last three seasons. This past season, he hit .320/.454/.578 with 36 home runs, 100 RBI, and 106 runs scored in 707 appearances across all 162 games. Votto led the majors in walks (134) and on-base percentage and led the National League in OPS (1.032).
Despite Votto’s presence, both FanGraphs and PECOTA are projecting the Reds to put up a 74-88 record. The club had a pretty quiet offseason, expecting to enter 2018 with largely the same roster as last year.