Today I watched Mariano Rivera’s first real inning of work since the playoffs, and now I keep thinking about the Talking Heads. The name of the song is Once In A Lifetime, and it ends with the same words repeated over and over again.
Same as it ever was. Same as it ever was.
Rivera threw 12 pitches today. He struck out the side, then he went for a run. Joe Girardi said that if the season started tomorrow, he would feel confident that Rivera would be ready after exactly one spring inning.
“That’s usually what he does,” Derek Jeter said. “We’ll see him in another week.”
This is the Rivera plan. Pitch less than anyone, be better than everyone. Rivera said he wouldn’t recommend his plan to anyone else, but it works for him. He doesn’t pitch in the winter. He plays long toss basically every other day in spring training. He throws a few bullpens, pitches a sim game or two, then does what he did today.
“When you’re in the box, it’s a nightmare,” Russell Martin said. “When you’re behind the plate, it’s the complete opposite… That’s the best cutter I’ve caught, for sure. It’s cause, normally you see some kind of spin and his, you don’t see the spin. There’s no side spin. It just cuts. I don’t know how he does it.”
For Rivera, of course, this was just another day. The music pumped through the stadium and crowd got to its feet, then a once-in-a-lifetime talent made short work of the Twins. Quick. Efficient. Dominant.
“I think the fans get more emotional than I do,” Rivera said. “It’s a good feeling when you go over there and see a response with fans like that. But again, you have to channel that energy. You have to make sure that doesn’t pump you up so much that you cannot throw strikes.”
Here’s Rivera, same as he ever was.
Associated Press photo