In the hours leading up to their series finale against the Astros, the Yankees held their 73rd annual Old Timers’ Day ceremony and game, and no one had more fun than Hall of Fame closer — and first-time Clippers player — Mariano Rivera. Rivera emerged from the dugout to replace David Cone in the first inning, and wasted little time turning a double play on a first-pitch cutter to Paul O’Neill.
In the second, Rivera traded his cutter for a spot in right-center field, where he chased down a shallow fly ball from Luis Sojo to once again bring the inning to a close. The real fun, however, began when he stepped up to bat against Scott Kamieniecki:
Rivera pounced on the first pitch and barreled it straight into the right-center field gap, where Jeff Nelson lumbered after the ball as the Sandman circled the bases. He might have settled for a triple had the relay not ricocheted off of the cameraman, leaving Rivera just enough time to round third and cross the plate safely.
The Yankees’ esteemed closer-turned-slugging-outfielder polished off his debut with another trip to the mound, this time to face off against Bernie Williams and Luis Sojo. Williams chopped a ground ball out to short for an easy double play, while Sojo cemented the Clippers’ 3-0 win over the Bombers with a game-ending grounder.
Suffice to say, even six years into his well-deserved retirement… Mo’s still got it.
On Sunday, we learned that while the Nationals would continue to pay their minor leaguers throughout the month of June, their weekly stipend would be lowered by 25 percent, from $400 to $300. In an incredible act of solidarity, Nationals reliever Sean Doolittle and his teammates put out a statement, saying they would be covering the missing $100 from the stipends.
After receiving some criticism, the Nationals reversed course, agreeing to pay their minor leaguers their full $400 weekly stipend.
Doolittle and co. have not withdrawn their generosity. On Wednesday, Doolittle released another statement, saying that he and his major league teammates would continue to offer financial assistance to Nationals minor leaguers through the non-profit organization More Than Baseball.
The full statement:
Washington Nationals players were excited to learn that our minor leaguers will continue receiving their full stipends. We are grateful that efforts have been made to restore their pay during these challenging times.
We remain committed to supporting them. Nationals players are partnering with More Than Baseball to contribute funds that will offer further assistance and financial support to any minor leaguers who were in the Nationals organization as of March 1.
We’ll continue to stand with them as we look forward to resuming our 2020 MLB season.
Kudos to Doolittle and the other Nationals continuing to offer a helping hand in a trying time. The players shouldn’t have to subsidize their employers’ labor expenses, but that is the world we live in today.