Last night Yankees closer Mariano Rivera got the 500th save of his career. He also, incidentally, got his first RBI of all time, on his third at-bat. That’s the third at-bat of his entire 16-year career. Rivera comes in to save the game in the 9th inning so, even in Interleague play in a National League park he never has to bat–but in the past two games of Interleague he came in during the 8th. He’s so remote from batting that he had to borrow someone else’s bat, and could barely suppress a smile his whole time at the plate. From first base Derek Jeter watched him, almost doubled over in hysterics.
Rivera’s the quintessential specialist–not only does he specialize in saves, but he does it with only one kind of pitch. Oh but ah, that pitch! Batters think it’s one place, but when they go to hit it they discover it’s moved a nano-inch away in a nano-second, and they end up swinging at air. It’s almost comical. They can’t get near Rivera’s pitch.
Here’s what Rivera’s faithful catcher, Jorge Posada, had to say about the milestone:
“I think I’m as excited as he is,” the catcher said. “This means a lot to me, to have caught this game. That man … we’ve been through a lot together. He makes my job easier, he makes all our jobs easier. He’s the best ever.
To read what other teammates had to say, plus an interview with Rivera, go to Pete Abraham’s blog.