This baseball legend is known for closing more games than any other closer in Major League Baseball history – and he aims to end his last season on a high note. The New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera is predicted to announce his retirement this Saturday at a news conference, after playing his entire 15-year career with the same team that magnified his best work, won five championships, and selected to the All-Star game for 12 seasons.
One of the most colorful players of all time, he has faced ups and downs throughout his career. However, it is his work ethic, talents, and humble demeanor that has fellow legends, athletes, and fans idolize him to a great extent.
With 608 saves under his belt, he will enter this season with his abilities tested by the current pool of some of most elite baseball players. In fact, 2012 was supposed to be the year to end his campaign. But a season-ending injury and surgery during spring training, pushed that on the back burner.
He has another (and last) season to continue where he left off and many people predict he will naturally shine, despite being absent for a year. After all, he is the most dominant closer for the past 15 years, posting a 2.21 ERA and 1.00 WHIP – the lowest in baseball history. Lucky for us, there’s one more year, the sports realm have the privileged opportunity to watch the closer save the games in effortless fashion.
The New York Yankees, the team with the most championships in sports history, have appeared to fallen off the favorable radar for this MLB season. Despite carrying a lineup boosted by all-star power, multiple factors have contributed to their demise prior to the regular season. Here are factors that shape their current state.
Injuries. The Yankees have been plagued by numerous injuries since early in the first-round playoffs last year. Disgruntled third baseman Alex Rodriguez and top-notch outfielder Curtis Granderson will be out early this season due to surgeries. Meanwhile, the face of the Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter will be returning from an injured ankle. Other key players such as closer Mariano Rivera and Brett Gardner will also be coming back after rehabilitating injuries most of last season.
Age. They say that age is nothing, but a number. However when it comes to maintaining the physical stamina and strength, the Yankees fail in this aspect. A majority of the players are over the ages of 30, leaving the fountain of youth scarce and not an ample of proteges for the next few years. Previous statistics demonstrate that the team tends to fall apart when most of the players fall in over 35 years of category.
Chemistry. The dynamic in the clubhouse has certainly changed as Yankee fan favorites such as Nick Swisher, Eric Chavez, Raul Ibanez, and Russell Martin have changed zip codes after the 2012 season, leaving the Yankees to pursue other new faces, who still continue to adjust to the team’s playing style.
Quiet off-season. This team is known for making bold moves by pursuing big name players to join them but oddly, this year proved to be a quiet one. They could have easily signed free agent stars such as Josh Hamilton but the Yankees opted out and stuck with most of their players on the current roster. Time will tell if this will benefit or harm them in the process…
While the NY Yankees are known for their boisterous lineup, this season might bring another vibe, unfamiliar to the team as well as to their fans. Changes need to be made to maintain their image, or else they might possibly face the fall of their dynasty…