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Battered and Booed
2005-04-07 05:21
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

Yes, Mariano Rivera did hear the boo birds as he walked off the mound yesterday in the ninth inning. But as Cliff already noted, TV cameras showed many fans standing and clapping too (and no, they weren't all from Boston).

Mike Lupica covered the scene in the locker room after the game:

Rivera was asked: What did Joe say?

Rivera said, "He told me I was beautiful."

Did he hear the boos?

"I am not deaf."

The ground ball to A-Rod?

"I thought it was over."

Then Rivera, who like Jeter has always been this combination of talent and grace and heart, said this:

"I've been in the World Series, buddy. And lost. That's behind me now."

What we see in two straight games in April doesn't mean the Red Sox will always have Rivera's number. Or that the Yankees can't win everything this season with him as their closer the way they have won three times already with him as their closer. It doesn't mean he is washed up, even though no power relief pitcher in history has gone this long and this hard and with this kind of sustained excellence. Maybe he took the whole winter off for a reason.

"I don't live in the past," he said yesterday.

He does not. You cannot in his line of work. There will never be another closer like this, not here or anywhere else. He was a champion yesterday in front of his locker, even if he was not against the Red Sox. He does not live in the past but that is where his best days are.

Alex Rodriguez, who is portrayed as a heel in an article by Ken Rosenthal, took responsibility for his key error in the ninth inning. Derek Jeter was taken to the hospital as a precaution after taking one in the noggin. He seems to be a-okay.

Comments
2005-04-07 05:43:56
1.   Alex Belth
I was talking to my friend Alex Ciepley yesterday. He's a Cub fan and he suggested that Rivera is to the Sox what Pedro was to the Yankees. At first I dismissed it, but it's not a bad analogy. Of course, a starting pitcher and a relief ace are different but you get the point: Martinez was the symbol of the Red Sox excellence, just as Rivera is the symbol of Yankee excellence. The Bombers never dominated Pedro but they did pretty much break even against him, which is saying something. The Sox haven't dominated Rivera--though he has blown four straight saves against them--but they more than hold their own against him.

I wonder if the Red Sox crowd will offer up a "Who's Your Daddy?" chant when Rivera appears in Boston this year?

2005-04-07 06:00:39
2.   Knuckles
Re: booing

I can understand both side of this 'outrage' over booing Mo. People pay good money to take the afternoon off work and are within 3 out of seeing a sweep that will turn the tide ever so slightly and set the Yankees' season off on a strong note. Then it's snatched from them by a poor performance from Mo and an E from Alex...

You're upset. Everyone around you is upset. And not the kind of upset that stuns you into silence- the kind that pisses you off and makes you say, "Hey, what's going on here? This is bullshit!"

So you boo. Now we're down to arguing about whether it's ok to boo a guy like Mo. I personally would not. If it's up to me, I boo the club as the game ends, but at that point in time all the rich folks that sat in their corporate seats for the afternoon are long gone.

It sucks, and I hope it doesn't happen again, but in the end it's just more fodder for columnists (and bloggers, these days) to chew on, especially heading into an off day.

Bring on the O's.

I'd like to see the Yanks smack around Sir Pontoon tomorrow, behind a strong performance by Wright, then total domination by RJ on Saturday, followed up by a tight game Sunday in which Mo redeems himself and saves Meat's first Yankee win.

2005-04-07 07:59:23
3.   Matt B
I don't necessarily agree with Knuckles, because his points illustrate how insanely spoiled we Yankees fans have become. You can't assume you're going to win every game. You can hope, of course.
2005-04-07 08:11:04
4.   Dave D
I agree with Knuckles, because that's how I felt watching the game. Complete silence might have been more powerful, like stunned silence. It's booing out of frustration rather than any ill will. We all want to see Mo do well, actually we NEED Mo to do well.
And Ditto on the O's, let's smack them around this weekend. I'm looking forward to seeing the Unit and Meat pitch again.
2005-04-07 09:44:41
5.   rbj
I would concur, that's more out of frustration than anything else. Funny thing is, Mo still has success against Tampa, Baltimore and Toronto, despite there being 19 games against each of those teams every year. It's almost as though Theo designed these Red Sox to beat Mariano.
2005-04-07 10:01:29
6.   Patrick
Pedro is a symbol of the Red Sox "excellence"? Yes, he is. I concur with that statement! lol Varitek is one, as well.
2005-04-07 10:45:10
7.   Zack
rbj, I think that's an interesting thought. In reality, Theo DID do just that. Because if you are going to construct a team that will be in first place, it has to be a team that will beat the Yankees. And its hard to beat the Yanks if you can't touch Rivera. Love them or despise them, the Sox are exactly what we used to be: Patient, intelligent (for the most part), and unafraid. Rivera has never had pinpoint control, and instead has relied on hitters swinging. The Sox won't do that, and that leads to problems....

Be careful, if we smack Ponson around too much, he might drunkenly run over Jeter...

2005-04-07 11:48:07
8.   Paul
I actually think Rivera has usually had excellent control. This walking of the leadoff batter stuff is very uncharacteristic, and it beat us in game 4 of the ALCS and yesterday. What's the statistic on proportion of leadoff walks that end up scoring?
2005-04-07 11:49:14
9.   Marcus
I see Buster Olney has an article on ESPN Insider about the downfall of Mariano basically getting by on one pitch for all these years. Did anyone read it?

I hear also that Mariano used to throw a changeup when he was still expected to be a starter. How hard would it be for him to start throwing one now? I don't imagine it would be an "over the weekend" type of transition. Any thoughts?

2005-04-07 12:15:50
10.   singledd
Mo IS losing velocity. I think thats documented. His control is the key. He simply can't walk the first batter and always get away with it. I wonder if he will develop another pitch for his remaining years.
But if Mo is no longer Mo, we are in deep shit.

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