For 17+ years Mariano Rivera has been as close to invincible as any pitcher to ever play the game. A perfect, seemingly effortless delivery producing devastatingly accurate pitches painting and stretching the corners of the strike zone with wicked late movement.
608 saves, 5 championships, and countless broken bats, dribblers, and bewildered hitters later, a fluke accident while shagging pre-game flies in Kansas City may have ended Mariano's sterling career before he was ready to hang 'em up.
Now is not the time for a tribute to Mariano. That time will come and it will be glorious (just consider – if he is done, he'll close out with a sub-1.000 career WHIP…only two other pitchers can claim that and their last pitches were thrown in 1910 and 1917 respectively). Besides, it may well be premature. As Jack Curry said in the post-game analysis, it's certinaly possible – perhaps even likely – that Mariano refuses to go out this way and decides to pitch again once his knee is healed.
But if indeed this is it…if we've seen him throw his last pitch without knowing we were watching his last pitch, then there is simply no other way to say it: