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The Night the Music Died

Mo No Mo'

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:

Devastating.

36 replies on “The Night the Music Died”

Mariano talking to the press. Says it’s torn ACL “and broke meniscus a well”. He is simply despondent. Clearly has been crying.
“It’s torn. We have to fix it…we have to fight throughout…now we have to just fight.”

I’m just having a difficult time wrapping my brain around the possibility that the greatest relief pitcher in the history of the game – greatest closer certainly – ended his career shagging flies in Kansas City, and not walking off the Yankee Stadium mound after closing out a win, basking in the cheers he so richly deserves. Ugh.

Wow, I never thought I’d feel such a pang in my chest for news about a player on the Yankees. Mo is one of those players who is impossible to dislike, and it’s incredibly sad that his career is ending this way.

In all seriousness though…this season is really over, right?
Joba
Pineda
Gardner
Swish
Chavez
and now Mo…
I mean, putting my YFSF demeanor aside, the bats will come around. That is certain. Maybe Pettitte can give a spark? But really, it just feels like this season is cursed…

Until Mo, the only Yanks injury that I thought really hurt them was Pineda. I love Gardner and he adds alot. But losing him for 2-3 weeks is not devastating. Chavez is a really strong back up infielder, but that’s all. Joba hurt – no doubt, but they had arguably the best bullpen in baseball even without him – at least in the late innings if not in terms of long-men. Swish hurt but he too is not critical.
I mean, this team’s 1-5 hitters are all healthy. It’s just that two of them (Teix, Cano) have been horrid at the plate and one (A-Rod) has been weak though not a complete zero.
And they came into the season with an abundance of starting pitching. I mean, if Hughes was not under-performing so badly and Garcia were just credible enough to hold down the #5 slot in the rotation, they’d be fine even WITH the Pineda injury.
I think the BoSox injuries have been much worse frankly if we’re looking at this from a strictly 2012-season-implication perspective.
For me anyway, this season for the Yanks has not been and still is not a loss due to injuries. It’s looking bad because of really weak performances from the heart of their order (the 3-5 hitters) and from multiple starters (mainly: atrocious Garcia, very bad Hughes, inconsistent Kuroda).
What happened last night feels like a whole other plane. I still am not able to calculate it in terms of what it means for the season. If you forced me to I would say that Robertson is pitching to a 0.00 ERA and if you take last season and this season so far it is no exaggeration to say he is the best relief pitcher in all of baseball. Can he close? I don’t know. We’ll find out. But I think it’s entirely plausible that the bullpen holds up. Soriano is key now and I don’t have huge confidence in him, but we’ll see.
As for the events of last night, I am processing the Mo-disaster on some other plane entirely where the 2012 season is in some ways irrelevant. As a great man once said, I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror…
Something very wrong happened to the game of baseball last night. What it means for the Yanks 2012 season – i don’t know and in some ways don’t care. I can’t explain it. That’s just how I feel.

I was legitimately sad to hear this. He is a great pitcher and seemingly a good human being. I’ll always remember the grace and humor he showed when the Sox crowd cheered him at the home opener/ring ceremony in 2005.
I don’t know what the rehab time from something like this is, but if he can’t contribute this year, I hope he will be able to be back strong again for one more long goodbye next year. I seriously doubt the Yanks would blink at paying him; the fanbase would be rightly outraged.
I hope the fans get their chance to celebrate him in uniform again. I think if he ever takes the mound again, he’ll get a standing O at every home game (and probably quite a few away games) for the rest of his career. I think even Fenway would cheer his last regular season entrance, though it’d be weird since the game would be on the line (and perhaps playoff hopes).
My condolences, YFs. I would never have wished for this.

David Robertson is an extremely good pitcher (look at that K/9!), and I think he’ll step into the closer’s role with ease. So the Yankees aren’t in trouble there. I think losing Mo will have more psychological effects on the team instead. I’m sure having Mo anchoring the bullpen has been a mental relief to a lot of other pitchers.

Yar, the Yanks bp is way better than some for an injury to a HoF-er, the 9th inning will be fine…it’s just losing any depth (and Mariano is effing depth) is bad.
You won’t see the Yankee bullpen crumble quite so spectacularly as the Sox bp has upon losing Bailey, I don’t think.
2 under .500 and dead last. Long live the 2012 Red Sox! (I still have hope, though. You don’t really check the pulse on a team till like mid-July, and even then there’s SOOOOO much still to come.) I’m pretty aggravated by the 2011-2012 Red Sox’ propensity for blowing out teams for amazing stretches and going dead fucking cold at others, not always against good pitching. Blows my mind.

Man, I wish I was as level-headed and positive as you IH. Maybe someday.
The reason I have been an active, if not annoying, poster on this site for however many years now is because how cool you SF’s are. The many kinds words are appreciated boys. You guys are all class acts!

I’ve had a chance to sleep on this a bit.
A couple of thoughts …
1. Is the painful for the NYY season? Of course. But they still have a strong pen, even without Mo and Joba (I wish to rescind an earlier comment I made about Joba. I was being emotional and reactionary. Didn’t think it all the way out.) And they have the resources to bring in someone to fill a hole.
2. Mo isn’t just a great pitcher and terrific athlete. He’s smart and wise. He knows his place in baseball history. He doesn’t want to go out like this, and he knows the game doesn’t want it, either. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if he comes back to make next year his swan song. He might have the ability to come back next year because he’s in good shape and a good athlete. And I think he knows – and not in an arrogant way – that someone with his track record and place among the immortals should go out on terms that the fans would want and not in a way dictated by a cruel twist of fate.
Now, the damage might be too severe and extensive to allow that to happen. But if the damage is such a extra work would make a comeback possible, I wouldn’t be shocked if he did it.
3. Despite this, the Red Sox injury situation is still WAY worse (OH, WOE IS US! :) )

Just realized:
Last season’s top AL East closers …
Mo – out for season
Paps – signed with Philly
Farnsy – on 60-day DL, not expected back for at least a month
Although Mo was the best of the trio, the Yanks remain best equipped to overcome this.

This nugget from Pete Abes:
Cody Ross picked up a bunch of t-shirts from the El Pelon Taqueria near Fenway Park and gave them to Alfredo Aceves, Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis. He also kept one for himself. Why? El Pelon means “The Bald Guy.”

WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH CANO???????
SERIOUSLY.
1st and 2nd, no outs…
Tex running on the full count, flails at a pitch 3 miles outside and low…
Fans…
double fucking play.
This team is unwatchable.
Later.

Ringing single up the middle for Pedroia to break the tie, driving Middlebrooks home after his double (will Youk ever be seen again? only sort of kidding). Then Ortiz K’s. Man, Gonzo: cold as ice (not that he’s hitting right now).

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