Let me begin this rant by saying that I am a Yankee’s fan. However, this article has nothing to do with being a Yankee’s fan. This is about being a fan of baseball, and sports in general.
Yesterday, ESPN columnist, Jim Caple, wrote an article titled, “The Overrating of Mariano Rivera.” It’s not news that Jim Caple isn’t the biggest fan of the Yankees, after he wrote the book The Devil Wears Pinstriples. But in his recent article he went over the top by stating that Mariano’s ”career wasn’t as extraordinary as we’re led to believe.” When I saw the title I was hoping it was some kind of joke. I didn’t think that a sports writer, and ESPN for that matter, could actually publish such an ignorant and pathetic article that is obviously a publicity stunt. The only thing that came to my mind after reading the article was, “What was the point?” What’s the point of bashing the career of the most respected athlete in the last twenty years? In an age where half of baseball players are roiding up, and the other half are flipping between teams like Tiger flipped between girls, what’s the point of disrespecting the only honest and loyal ballplayer? I guarantee you Mr. Caple himself couldn’t answer these questions if I confronted him.
Yes it’s true Mariano is a closer, and not a 9 inning, everyday player. Who cares? Yes it’s true, in Joe Nathan’s ten year career as a closer, he has a better save percentage then Mo. Who cares? My point is, that in a world where athletes are losing more and more integrity, why does someone feel the need to put down one of the only role models left in sports. It’s sad that our culture has gotten to a point where nothing can be completely positive. Everything has to be argued, or challenged.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m the first guy to tell you I love a good sports argument. Bring up any topic with me, grab a twelve pack and we’ll argue for hours. But there shouldn’t be anything to argue regarding Mariano Rivera and his legacy. He is the greatest closer ever. He’s never done a single thing to harm himself or anyone around him. He can handle pressure. He can handle embarrassment. He’s a champion and a competitor, yet one of the most humble players you’ve ever seen play.
So Jim Caple… shut the hell up. If you want to sit at your computer and punch out all the stats in the world to tarnish Mariano’s legacy, go right ahead. But don’t post it online. Don’t try to prove to anyone that Mariano’s career was anything less than legendary. Everyone has already seen what the people who actually compete with him think about his career. So while you drink your half empty beer, I’ll drink my half full beer, and watch one of the greatest players of all time end his extraordinary career.