Last spring, Mariano Rivera arrived in Tampa with a brand new two-year contract. It was clear retirement wasn’t in his immediate future, but on the day he reported to camp, retirement was already a topic of discussion.
“It’s hard,” Rivera said that day. “One of my kids was, the little one was attached to my hip, crying. It’s hard. A lot of people don’t see that, that part of the game. You have to leave your family. Even though you’re going to see them, being detached from your family is hard.”
I’m sure a lot of Yankees fans share the fear of this morning’s Pinch Hitter. Hunter wrote that he’s hoping for a return, but he’s expecting a retirement. He’s worried this will be Rivera’s final season, and he plans to appreciate every one of these final steps toward Cooperstown.
My opinion? I honestly have no idea. I believe Rivera loves doing this, and I believe he loves being great at this. As long as he can still pitch up to his standards, I believe he’ll feel a pull to do it again.
Of course, it’s hard for me to imagine the pull he must feel from his family at home. The fact he lives in the New York area probably makes it easier, but the baseball life isn’t a perfect companion to a family life, and Rivera is certainly a family man.
‘Baseball is not everything,” Rivera said last spring. “That’s what we do, yeah, but there’s still life after baseball. There will come a time when you have to make a decision, even though you still have the abilities to play. That comes within yourself. If you don’t feel it in your heart, you don’t feel it in yourself no more, it’s time to say goodbye because, why are you going to do it if you don’t have the desire to do it?”
Associated Press photo