Allow me to share this with you. Skip past the commercial, as I did.
In 1995, some very special players came to the NY Yankees. One of them was Mariano Rivera
Then, starting the next year, they won the next four of five World Series championships. The other ” core four ” players ( Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, and Jorge Posada ) were a big reason for the Yankees’ success. But noone contributed more than Rivera.
Mariano Rivera was a specialist. He is a relief pitcher, whose job is to come in during the last inning or so, when the game is on the line. He is respected, because, over an 18 year career, he has proven himself to be the best in the history of the sport.
But he is loved, because, over a long career, he has never been one of the athletes to put on airs. He treated all opponents with respect. He always went out of his way to make the last, borderline player on the team feel welcomed. Not every athlete does this.
Rivera was born into a humble fishing family in Panama. He remained humble, despite all the years of success. He never thought that the ability to pitch made him better than anyone else.
He’s a national hero in Panama, and throughout Central America.
Thursday was Mariano’s last game. In a special, unusual, gesture, his great friends, teammates Andy Pettitte and Derek Jeter, came to remove Rivera from the game one batter early. You will note that he leaves the mound, one last time, to the applause of both his teammates and from all the opposing team as well.
I don’t always love sports. I do love this.