Mariano Rivera would be plenty intimidating coming into a game in complete silence, but playing “Enter Sandman” by Metallica as his entrance music definitely adds to the hitters’ sense of dread.
Yet as Bryan Hoch of MLB.com writes, Rivera isn’t even a fan of the song and the Yankees only stumbled into using it for his entrances because they were trying to copy the Padres’ use of “Hells Bells” for Trevor Hoffman.
According to Hoch in 1999 they initially tried “Welcome to the Jungle” and “Paradise City” by Guns N’ Roses, but weren’t satisfied with the crowd reaction. Then a freelance member of the scoreboard production team named Mike Luzzi brought in some CDs and suggested “Enter Sandman.”
And the rest is history.
In retrospect the song’s ominous tone and lyrics are a perfect fit for Rivera coming in to close the door on opponents, but here’s what the future Hall of Famer told Hoch about being forever linked to the 1991 song:
I never said that I didn’t like it, but I didn’t care about the song. I didn’t pick the song. I don’t pay attention to the music. When I go in there, I’m going to business. I have a job to do, that’s it. It’s not part of my identity. People identify it [with me], but that’s it. I wouldn’t say that’s my identity. To tell you the truth, I have to do one thing. I go out there and pitch.
Which is of course exactly the sort of approach to things that makes Rivera so damn scary.
Yankees starter Luis Severino and Phillies starter Aaron Nola both signed contract extensions within the last week. Severino agreed to a four-year, $40 million contract with a 2023 club option. Nola inked a four-year, $45 million deal with a 2023 club option.
While the deals both represented significant raises and longer-term financial security for the right-handed duo, some feel like the players are selling themselves short. It has become a more common practice for players to agree to these types of deals in part due to how stagnant free agency has become. Get the money while you can.
Mets starter Noah Syndergaard is in a similar situation as Severino and Nola were. He and the Mets avoided arbitration last month, agreeing on a $6 million salary for the 2019 season. He has two more years of arbitration eligibility left. A contract extension with the Mets would presumably cover both of those years plus two or three years of what would be free agent years. As Tim Britton of The Athletic reports, however, Syndergaard plans to test free agency when the time comes.
Syndergaard said, “I trust my ability and the talent that I have. So I feel like I’m going to bet (on) myself in free agency and not do what they did. But if it’s fair for both sides and they approach me on it, then maybe we can talk.” He clarified that he would be open to a conversation about an extension, but the Mets thus far haven’t approached him about it. In his words, “There’s been no traction.”
Syndergaard, 26, has been one of baseball’s better starters since debuting in 2015. He owns a career 2.93 ERA with 573 strikeouts and 116 walks in 518 1/3 innings. Among pitchers to have logged at least 400 innings since 2015 and post a lower ERA are Clayton Kershaw (2.22), Jacob deGrom (2.66) and Max Scherzer (2.71). Syndergaard made only seven starts in 2017 yet still ranks seventh among pitchers in total strikeouts since 2015.
If Sydergaard doesn’t end up signing an extension, he will be entering free agency after the 2021 season. The collective bargaining agreement expires in December 2021 and a new one will likely be agreed upon around that time. Syndergaard will hopefully have better prospects entering free agency then than players do now.