An era of dominance is officially ending.
The New York Yankees and Mariano Rivera held a press conference at George M. Steinbrenner Field on Saturday morning, during which time Rivera, on the dais with his wife and two sons, announced that the 2013 season would be his last.
After opening with a joke, thanking Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman for waiving the team’s policy of not negotiating contracts prior to expiration and extending him through 2015, Rivera got down to business.
“It's not too easy when you come to a decision like this, but it been a privilege and honor to wear the pinstriped uniform…It’s been a wonderful and great journey… It’s official now. After this year, I will be retired,” a calm and composed Rivera told the crowd.
After Rivera’s statement, the veteran closer took questions from the media. Right off the bat, Rivera was asked why now was the time to retire. Rivera indicated, “Now is the time…the tank is almost empty.”
One member of the media asked Rivera if he would have retired after the 2012 season if not for the torn ACL he suffered in May. The veteran closer revealed that he would have retired had he been able to play the season out, but “could not go out like that.” Rivera also revealed there will be no retiring and returning to the game of baseball, a la teammate Andy Pettitte.
For some of Rivera’s teammates and former teammates, Saturday marked a surreal moment. “I've never seen anything like it,” starting pitcher and close friend Pettitte said of Rivera’s career. “I don't think we'll ever see anything like it again.”
Retired catcher and former teammate Jorge Posada echoed the sentiment.
“There is only one Mariano Rivera,” Posada said in a statement released this morning. “There won’t be another person who will come along and do what he did.”
Rivera enters his final season as a surefire first-ballot Hall of Famer. A 12-time All-Star and five-time World Series champion, Rivera owns Major League Baseball’s all-time saves record with 608. As dominant as Rivera has been during the regular season, it is his playoff numbers which have truly set Rivera apart from others. In 141 postseason innings pitched, Rivera owns a 0.70 ERA and 42 postseason saves.
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