Batting second in our Pinch Hitter series is Hunter Agett, a 23-year-old from Williamsburg, VA who admits he didn’t truly grow up a Yankees fan. As he explains it:
“Until I was 19, I was a very atypical guy in that I didn’t like any sports. I was a band geek. A lot of people were telling me that I needed to like at least one sport as it would give a new dynamic for my life. My pastor at that time was a Yankees fan. So in 2008, I threw myself headfirst into the Yankees and learning baseball. It was a little difficult at first, but once I finally got it, it pretty much consumed my life.”
For his post, Hunter wrote about his favorite player in pinstripes, and the overwhelming concern that we might be seeing the final season of an iconic career.
A conversation about the past 20 years of baseball could not be had without mentioning his name or the team he played for. With Andy Pettitte and Jorge Posada retired, our Core Four became the Key Three, and is now the Dynamic Duo.
Next season, we will have our Sole Survivor.
It is with great sadness that I offer the opinion that Mariano will announce his retirement after this season. With this last year remaining on his contract, he will be 42 at the end of the 2012 campaign. It won’t be for lack of ability or a strong loss of a desire to play the game. For years he has said that it gets harder and harder to leave his family for spring training.
I hope I’m wrong. Nothing would make me happier than for me to be wrong about this. For years Mariano has been my favorite player. He is quick to deflect glory to the rest of the team and to God, always staying out of the difficult-to-evade, ever-present, New York City spotlight. On top of that, he is the best at his job. In an age of players having ESPN specials to announce where they are going to be playing, Mo stands among the few that operates with integrity when he has every right to be arrogant.
Yankee fans, I urge you to take in every Mariano-moment this season. Every pitch, every save, every trot in from the bullpen is to be savored like a sip of your favorite beverage.
Of course, this would be incomplete without a look to the future in an attempt to try and figure out what song will be played in the ninth when Enter Sandman is no longer on the setlist.
Will David Robertson continue to strike out players at an incredible rate with a curveball that just takes your breath away? Will Joba Chamberlain bounce back from surgery to become the heir apparent that he was thought to be in 2007? Maybe another kid in the farm system will emerge. Perhaps a free agent signing.
Being that there is no way to predict the future, let’s look at what we know for 2012.
1. Mariano will be playing
2. He will be the closer
3. He will be awesome
Associated Press photo