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The Great One
2008-05-08 07:16
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

A few days ago I was hanging with some seamheads talking shop. The subject got around to the great Mariano Rivera. When I told Steve Goldman just how much I appreciate watching Rivera, Steve said, "It's like watching Fred Astaire in his later years." Isn't that a great comp? Think Astaire in Bandwagon. (Speaking of which, has anyone ever had more fetching legs than Cyd Charisse?)

Jack Curry has a piece on Rivera today in the Times:

"I'm proud of what I do," Rivera said Tuesday. "And I take it seriously. I don't take it for granted. I don't forget where I came from. I don't forget what I had to do to get here. That, to me, is important."

I was in a Barnes and Noble last night and I found a picture book of Latin American baseball stars (I'm sorry but I didn't catch the title). I flipped to a full-page spread of Mariano, wearing shorts and flip flops, throwing a ball to a kid with a make shift bat, somewhere on the dusty streets of Panama. The picture looked dated--late '90s maybe--but it reminded me of how far Rivera, and so many other Latin players, have come to play ball in the big leagues. I think Rivera is sincere when it says that he doesn't take things for granted. And neither should we.

I also liked this bit from Curry's article:

After David Dellucci belted a three-run homer off Joba Chamberlain to push the Indians past the Yankees, 5-3, on Tuesday, Dellucci spoke respectfully about Chamberlain, who does not have even a full season in the majors. But when the topic switched to Rivera, Dellucci switched from respect to reverence.

"Facing him is like playing a video game," Dellucci said. "His ball is an optical illusion. It's fun because it's so nasty. You want to go up there and see that pitch because of how nasty he is."

Baby, You Nasty.

Comments
2008-05-08 08:19:35
1.   williamnyy23
Lovely Cyd Charisse...how she dances! Sadly, not even Fred Astaire dancing on the ceiling in Royal Wedding or shining his shoes in Bandwagon can cast light on this cloudy Yankee season. Still, it's nice to see some entertainment references that are in my ballpark!
2008-05-08 08:33:23
2.   Raf
0 I think Rivera is sincere when it says that he doesn't take things for granted. And neither should we.

Given that a good number of us are privileged in any number of ways, I'd say it's pretty difficult not to take things for granted.

2008-05-08 08:56:03
3.   Alex Belth
Yeah, but nobody said it was easy NOT taking things for granted. Of course we do. That's why when we can catch ourselves doing as much, it's time to stop, and just...appreciate all we've got.
2008-05-08 09:27:38
4.   bp1
What can you say? Being able to enjoy Mo like this is what being a sports fan is all about. He's the Tiger Woods of pitchers - head and shoulders above his peers to the point where expectations are almost unfair. Failure is so unexpected that when it comes it causes real discomfort. People don't know what to do or say or think. But when he's on - there is simply nothing more fun to watch. His delivery is as graceful as Goose's was violent. Both fun to watch, but Mo really is special.

I'm not gonna say no more, as I feel on the brink of a major jinx here. Mum.

2008-05-08 09:39:00
5.   Alex Belth
Mum, Mum, Mum, Mum...
2008-05-08 10:00:36
6.   dianagramr
Every top closer should be bowing at Rivera's feet for being able to commandeer 10+ million dollars for 60 innings of high-leverage work per season.

(No, that is not a dig at Rivera. Although I do think he is being vastly overpaid now, in part as a possible "thank you" for the last 10 years).

First ballot Hall of Famer ... for sure. Perhaps a unanimous choice.

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