I love this man. He is my favorite Yankee. If he asked me to, I would shine his shoes, do his laundry, wash the dishes at his steakhouse in Westchester and then mop the floors until every last morsel of tenderloin, hash browns and creamed spinach was gone. I can’t stand Metallica, but when they play “Enter Sandman” at the Stadium, I break out into this insane chanting/clapping/laughing thing that makes me look like a total freak. I’m that worshipful.
But I’m not delusional. I realize that this season is Mariano Rivera’s 15th in pinstripes. He is 39, getting balder by the second and coming off shoulder surgery. And he’s only signed through 2010.
I shouldn’t have been surprised when the subject of his retirement was raised at spring training and yet it threw me – positively knocked me down.
“The end is coming, sooner or later,” he said, according to Peter Abraham. “Only God knows when it comes.”
The end is coming?
I took a breath after reading Mo’s statement and tried to envision what my Yankee fan life would be without him – and I couldn’t. No matter when he calls it quits, it’ll be end-of-days time. Nothing will be the same.
I will completely lose my appetite.
I will not be able to sleep.
I will not dance to the song “What Is Love” by Haddaway or bop my head back and forth.
The sun will never shine. Not even once.
Electrical power outages will occur throughout the land.
Cars will inadvertently crash into each other and burst into flames.
Homes and businesses will close forever.
Children will cry, and nothing and no one will be able to stop them.
Even members of the animal kingdom will be overcome with sadness.
Mo’s last day as a Yankee wouldn’t be about losing one of the greatest closers in the history of the game. Well, O.K. It sort of would be. (Do we go out and get a Joe Nathan or do we stay in-house and groom Joba?) But mostly, it would mean the end of an era, and I’m just not ready to go there. Not for a long, long time.