"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

It Never Gets Old

I watched the end of the game last night by myself. The wife had gone to bed long before Mariano Rivera appeared. I lay on the living room floor, stretching, and appreciated the moment–another chance to watch Rivera pitch. Endy Chavez, a slap-hitting left-hander, led off and Rivera pounded him with cutters inside. Chavez was tough, fouling off pitch-after-pitch, until he was caught looking by a pitch on the outside corner. A generous call by the umpire it seemed to me, a Rivera call.

J.J. Hardy, a righty, was next, and when Rivera got ahead of him he kept the ball outside and Hardy popped up to Robinson Cano for the second out. Which left it up to Nick Markakis, who was 6-17 in his career against Rivera. He looked at a fastball on the outside part of the plate for a strike and then broke his bat on a cutter inside–the ball went foul. Rivera threw another cutter, high and inside, that Markakis didn’t offer at and he also looked at the next pitch, the outside fastball. The pitch went straight to the catcher’s mitt but it was just outside for a ball.

I was lying on my back now. My cat had curled up next to my left shoulder and I wondered what Rivera’s next move would be–back inside with the cutter or double-up on the outside pitch? He went back outside, painted the corner beautifully. The pitch was better than the one before. Markakis didn’t swing and was called out on strikes and alone in my dark living room I laughed so hard that had to cover my mouth so I wouldn’t wake the wife.

[Photo Credit: Rob Carr/Getty Images; Drawing by Moebius]



1 bp1   ~  Apr 11, 2012 7:51 am

You're right, AB. It never gets old. I was watching, too, and after that outside pitch was called a ball I sat up and wondered, like you, what was gonna happen next. Then the called strike three and I thought to myself "how many times have I seen that?".

And then - sadly - how many more times?

Praise be to Mo.

2 Alex Belth   ~  Apr 11, 2012 7:58 am

Yeah, I guess I laughed because it was like, "Shit, it still works!"

Savoring it, man.

3 RIYank   ~  Apr 11, 2012 8:26 am

Thanks be to Mo.

4 bp1   ~  Apr 11, 2012 8:42 am

[2] That outside corner pitch is just deadly. The batter is so concentrating on dealing with a cutter running in on the hands that the outside pitch freezes them every single time. I love the look on their face after it happens. The "I just got my ass handed to me by Mo" look.

Yeah - that never gets old.

You know what else never gets old? Mo's reaction after that called strike three. No pointing to the sky, hopping around like his feet are on fire, fist pumping and vein popping. Just put the head down, tuck in the glove, and calmly start walking toward the catcher to line up for the handshake.

Boy I'm gonna miss him.

5 rbj   ~  Apr 11, 2012 9:17 am

Dang. Had to go to bed before the ending. Got to evaluate a student presentation in a few minutes.

6 seamus   ~  Apr 11, 2012 10:13 am

did garcia really throw five wild pitches? thanks be to Mo. And how about Phelps?

7 Alex Belth   ~  Apr 11, 2012 10:25 am

Phelps was great.

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