We asked the great Mariano Rivera if he would take questions from readers of the LoHud Yankees Blog and The Journal News and he agreed. About 225 questions were e-mailed in. It was hard to get to 10, so we picked 14 and Mo was gracious enough to answer them all.
If your question wasn’t selected, please don’t be offended.
Here is the audio of the interview:
Along with the transcript:
Mike: In your career with the Yankees what has been your most memorable moment?
Mariano Rivera: “96. I thought you knew that one! (Me: “People don’t know, people asked.”) ’96. World Series ’96. Watching Charlie Hayes catch that fly ball. Yes.”
Brendan: How much pride do you take in being the last guy wearing No. 42?
Mariano Rivera: “Oh, it’s important to me. It’s huge, being a minority, as Jackie (was) and being the last one to wear the number. To me it’s respect and honor.”
Follow up: Does it bother you that if you’re number is retired, it would be retired twice with the Yankees?
Mariano Rivera: “No, that doesn’t bother me at all.”
Marcus: When you have new teammates in the bullpen, do you ever try to teach them how to throw your cutter, or do you just let them do what they do?
Mariano Rivera: “I kind of let everybody do what they do. Because I’ve been trying to teach that pitch for years and it’s not the same, it’s not the same.”
Justin: What’s it like when you have the ball and you’re one strike away from finishing off a big game? What are the emotions like?
Mariano Rivera: “Well, you have to hold it there. Emotions, you cannot be caught (up) in the emotions. Because you can lose the game with that emotion. When I get the ball, I don’t let the emotions take over. I celebrate when the game is over.”
Samantha: What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?
Mariano Rivera: “Vanilla ice cream.”
David: What do you think its the biggest difference between the teams when you first came up and the team now?
Mariano Rivera: “The team when I came here had a lot of veteran guys, like we have. But a lot of guys that were — how had I phrase this? — they weren’t just players, they lived the game, enjoyed the game. That doesn’t mean these guys don’t do that. It’s just different.”
Seth: There are other closers that are extremely excitable like K-Rod and Papelbon. You’re more calm. What do you think is better?
Mariano Rivera: “Well, i don’t know, everybody has their own thing. I think it works for them … but personally I don’t like it. Personally I don’t like it. Personally, I like to give the respect to every hitter. Because every hitter feels like they’re insulted when they do all that kind of stuff. That’s their business and I do not care. But I prefer to stay the way I am.”
Mike: Do you think in general managers should consider using closers in different times of the game or only in the ninth inning?
Mariano Rivera: “All the innings are important. But you gotta stop the game in the seventh, eighth and ninth. They’re all important but the seventh, eighth and ninth are the innings you have to stop.”
Ben: How do you get over bad outings, especially blown saves?
Mariano Rivera: “Just like that. (he starts talking Spanish to Robbie Cano for a second ) It’s hard, definitely. You just put it the way it is. It happens, a blown save, it happens. You just move on.”
Mike: How do you think your career would have turned out if you had remained a starter?
Mariano Rivera: “I don’t know.”
Allison: What does he have written under the brim of his cap?
Mariano Rivera: “That’s God Bless, that’s it.”
Todd: Because you’re from Panama, did you ever meet Roberto Duran?
Mariano Rivera: “Oh yeah.”
Follow up: Did you ever think about being a boxer?
Mariano Rivera: “(Laughs). No, no.”
Isabel from Montreal: What is your favorite movie of all time?
Mariano Rivera: “Movie? The Rock.”
Rick: Are you a Metallica fan?
Mariano Rivera: “No.”
Follow up: Do you like the song? (Enter Sandman)?
Mariano Rivera: “It’s all right. I didn’t even choose it. I don’t even know the lyrics to the song.”
There you have it. Much like how he pitches, Mo is very direct in his answers. He came up to me the next day and asked how many people had written in questions. He seemed surprised that so many of you had.
“That’s great,” he said. “You tell them I said thank you for supporting me and God Bless.”
Consider it done, Mo.
On a personal note, the reader Q&A sessions with Derek Jeter, Jason Giambi and now Mariano Rivera have been a lot of fun to do. I think it’s great when we can break down the wall between the players and the fans a little.
The plan is to do this at least twice more this season. I’m hoping to line up one player and perhaps Brian Cashman.