Mariano Rivera had already talked about his one scoreless inning, and he’d moved on to answering questions about Andy Pettitte coming out of retirement. The group interview had lasted a little less than five minutes when, all of a sudden…
“I’ve got a question for you guys,” Rivera said. “It seems to me, it seems like you guys want me to retire. Why is that?”
Not many players would welcome that sort of discussion with reporters, much less laugh all the way through it, but Rivera likes to have fun with the media. He’s at ease in those situations, and I’ve never met a writer who doesn’t like him. As soon as he sensed the interview drifting toward questions about his own retirement, Rivera decided to turn the tables.
The group assured him that no one wants him to retire, we just want to know whether he’s going to retire. That’s what our readers and listeners want to know, so that’s what we want to know. In this case, expecting and hoping are two different things. He’s teased the issue, and everyone would love a definitive answer.
“What is that game?” Rivera said. “It’s not Monopoly. What is it, chess? The one that goes forever. Is that chess? We are right in there.”
In the chess game of Rivera’s retirement decision, the final move belongs to Rivera himself. He knows that, and it sounds like he’s going to have some fun with it.
“I know that I want to make the right decision,” Rivera said. “That’s what I want to do. When I make the right decision, I don’t want to come back or say, ‘I should have done it’ or ‘I should have stayed.’ I want to be 1,000 percent sure that it’s the right decision. … I’m a thousand percent sure (right now), but I’m telling you, you guys are going to be under the skin, and it ain’t going to be easy like that. I’m going to give you a hard time. Plus, you know I love you guys. You know I respect you guys. And when I’m ready, I’ll let you know.”
Associated Press photo