Who cares who catches Mariano Rivera’s 602nd save?

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Mariano Rivera’s next save will break the all-time saves record he currently shares with Trevor Hoffman. Against that backdrop, there has been some general chatter about whether Joe Girardi will let Jorge Posada, Rivera’s longtime batterymate, catch save number 602.  According to Marc Carig of the Star Ledger, Girardi isn’t inclined to do that.

May I note for the record that this sort of thing is something you only hear about with the Yankees?  Really, no one cares about this stuff with any other team, but every time a Yankee is near some milestone or if there’s some other special occasion of some sort the manner of how it is accomplished, not just the accomplishment, becomes an issue.  Who will catch? Will it be at home? It’s like the biggest first world problem of all time.

How about this: Mariano Rivera’s first-ever save came on May 17, 1996 against the Angels. Joe Girardi caught it.  He should activate himself so he can catch it.  If he can’t, we should write columns about how a special moment is being taken from us.

Kirk Gibson home run happened 30 years ago

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With the Dodgers trying to make it back to the World Series for the second year in a row — and trying to win it for the first time in 30 years — it’s worth looking back at the last time they won it. More specifically, it’s worth looking back at the signature moment from the last time they won it. Which, really, was one of baseball’s all-time signature moments.

Yep, I’m talking about Kirk Gibson’s famous game-winning home run off of Dennis Eckersley of the Oakland Athletics in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series, which happened 30 years ago tonight.

All playoff magic for anyone too young to remember Bill Mazeroski’s homer in 1960 is measured against Gibson taking Dennis Eckersley downtown to turn a 4-3 deficit into a 5-4 win. Heck, even if you were around in 1960, it’s far less likely that you saw Mazeroski’s homer than it was for you to have seen Gibson’s. Nationally broadcast in prime time to a nation of millions who had not yet fragmented into viewers of hundreds of obscure cable channels and various forms of streaming entertainments, it was a moment that sent shockwaves through the world of sports.

For my part, I was fifteen years-old, sitting in my living room in Beckley, West Virginia watching it as it happened. Like most of the rest of the country, I was convinced that the Dodgers had no chance to beat the mighty Bash Brothers and the 104-win Oakland A’s. Especially given that the Dodgers’ leader, MVP-to-be Gibson, was hobbled and not starting. Even when he was called on to pinch hit, I had no faith that he’d be able to touch Eckersley, the best relief pitcher on the planet, let alone hit the ball with any kind of authority.

But, as Vin said when he called it, the Dodgers’ year was so improbable that, in hindsight, it made perfect sense for Gibson to have done the impossible: