There is an exhaustive, though ultimately not especially rewarding profile of Mariano Rivera by James Traub in the New York Times Magazine. Perhaps we’re the wrong audience for this story. Closer to the point, I don’t think Mariano is an interesting subject for a magazine piece. He’s dull, in fact, too guarded to reveal anything about his personal life. How does a savant articulate his gift? Shrugs his shoulders and says he’s doing the Lord’s work.
Writers are left to wax poetic over Mo’s on-the-field accomplishments, his style, his calm, his greatness, his influence around the clubhouse. A writer can talk to players around the league, add some quotes about just how good Mariano is, but otherwise, what is there to say?
So this story is thorough but it doesn’t tell us anything we don’t already know about Rivera, and some of Traub’s characterizations are off-base: Kevin Youkilis is a described as a “batting genius” while Jonathan Paplebon is called “the closer who has become Rivera’s great rival.” Youkilis is a great hitter, but a genius? And if Rivera and Paplebon have a rivalry that’s news to me (they just happen to play for rival teams).
It’s worth checking out, and I rarely tire of reading about Mo, but considering the author and the publication, I was disappointed.
However, the Times does have a cool video piece on Mo that is well-worth looking at.
[Photo Credit: National Geographic]