Aside from playing catch, getting loose in the bullpen pretty much the most uneventful thing a pitcher can do on a day-to-day basis. That’s especially true when he’s getting himself ready to simply throw batting practice, but when Mariano Rivera got loose in the bullpen this morning, a pack of reporters stood watching. When he went to a back field to throw BP to a pair of role players, the entire media pack followed.
Joe Girardi walked over and asked: “Is this the biggest story of the day?”
It wasn’t. Michael Pineda would make his spring debut a few hours later, but there’s a different feeling around Rivera this spring. He might not have announced his retirement, but certainly the belief is that we’re seeing his final season. Rivera facing hitters for the first time might have been a minor note last year, but this year it’s an event worth covering, worth seeing with your own eyes.
“I feel pretty good,” he said afterward. “We will be ready… I was born ready.”
Rivera has not declared this to be his farewell tour, but it feels that way. He’s the best we’ve ever seen, and if we’re never going to see it again, it’s worth watching a little more closely one last time.
Associated Press photo