"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Cause I Am Not the One, I Got More Game Than Parker Brothers…[Mariano's on the mound and he's] Smooth Like Butter

Joe Pos on The Great Mariano:

There’s nothing left really to say about his greatness. We all know the story. He throws that cutter precisely where he wants, it turns left just as it gets to the plate, and there has never been anyone quite like him.

Still, watching him break four bats on Wednesday night — I’m pretty sure he broke Denard Span’s bat when getting the last out of the eighth, then broke Orlando Hudson’s bat, Joe Mauer’s bat and Jim Thome’s bat in the ninth — was another awe-inspiring reminder. He clearly does not throw as hard as he once did. Teams have broken him down on video for more than a decade. We all KNOW exactly what he’s going to do. And still, major league hitters come up, they swing at his cutter, the ball breaks in two inches more than they expected, they break their bat. In Las Vegas, I’ve seen David Copperfield make a car appear out of thin air, and I’ve seen Lance Burton duel someone in a costume who turns out to be Lance Burton. I’m sure I could watch those tricks 50 times and never figure out how they are done. I’m sure I could watch those tricks 100 times and never figure out how they’re done.

But Mariano Rivera has pitched 1,150 innings in the big leagues. He has pitched another 135 or so postseason innings. He has faced almost 900 different big league hitters. And this same trick, precisely this same trick, works almost every time. The Twins may or may not be good enough to come back in this series. They will obviously need to beat up on the Yankees’ second-string starting pitchers, and try to hold their own against this relentless Yankees offense. What they do know is this: They ain’t going to win it in the ninth inning. Mariano Rivera turns 41 next month. He is aging just like the rest of us. But for one more year, it sure looks like nobody is going to beat the Yankees in the ninth inning.

9 comments

1 The Hawk   ~  Oct 7, 2010 9:54 am

Two things I loved last night regarding Mariano: I forget the batters but

1) The guy he faced in the eighth. That pitch tracker graphic was so awesome, it was I believe 5 pitches before he got the out and it was just this heavy cluster on the upper left side.

2) The guy who kind of checked his swing (he ended up having a nice AB vs Mariano) who smiled (and I think Gardenhire made a face too) when a pitch buzzed in and obviously ended up way closer to him than he thought it would.

2 rbj   ~  Oct 7, 2010 10:03 am

In Mo we trust.

3 Sliced Bread   ~  Oct 7, 2010 10:06 am

He's not perfect, he's just The Difference.

4 Sliced Bread   ~  Oct 7, 2010 10:10 am

he is The Difference between the Yankees and everybody else.
he is The DIfference between winning games, and losing games.
and The Difference is almost always the same.

5 williamnyy23   ~  Oct 7, 2010 10:10 am

Mariano is amazing, but it's not really a "trick". How many times have we heard a hitter say something like: "If the pitcher could put the ball exactly where he wants it, we'd never get a hit."

Well, that's exactly what Mariano does most of the time. Whether it's a cutter, fastball, slider, changeup, whatever, if a pitcher can command with precision, he is going to dominate.

The magic of Mariano is not a particular pitch, but his repeatable ability to throw the ball exactly where he wants most of the time.

6 Diane Firstman   ~  Oct 7, 2010 10:14 am

and he does it with such grace and humility, unlike a certain other reliever

http://tinyurl.com/34hqbh3

7 ms october   ~  Oct 7, 2010 10:22 am

strictly butter baby, strictly butter.

[5] i agree william - the magic is how he is able to hit his spot an enormously high percentage of the time.
his "struggles" correlate much more to missing his spots than dips in velocity.

a few absolutely amazing pitching performances yesterday.

8 Jon DeRosa   ~  Oct 7, 2010 10:48 am

Nice pic Alex. I also like Mariano as The Vision. He so cool, you think he's an android. But then he goes and falls in love with the Scarlet Witch - so what is he? Human with superhuman calm and poise? Or android programmed to feel?

9 Shaun P.   ~  Oct 7, 2010 12:44 pm

Praise Be To Mo.

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver