The Great One's Guide to Better Living–and Cooperstown

(hat tip to regular reader Michael Fierman to drawing my attention to this)

Inspired by Buster Olney‘s blog at ESPN.com, iYankees has a post worth seeing as well as discussing here. In it, Mariano Rivera has his own list of do’s and don’ts that one might want to consider to combat the ongoing battle with age–which only Mariano seems to be staving off.

Personally, I don’t subscribe to Mo’s #2, for I simply love good beer–although I will try to enjoy it with more moderation than I have my rather intemperate past. That doesn’t necessarily mean drinking a lot but, rather, drinking something good when doing so.

Also, while I already run a few days a week, stretching is a very good thing to do. My father frequently sends me stories on the other side of the stretching coin, advocating not stretching before running and using a brisk walk or light run in lieu of stretching. No way in my book. I stretch a few minutes a day before running, so Mariano is onto something here.

People really ought to try stretching–stretching well–a few minutes a day: touching one’s toes and holding them for 15 seconds, bending at the waist to touch toes, holding one’s legs behind the torso and stretching the legs and back, then turning the upper torso to each side. It will hurt, and it does me–and again, I run frequently. I don’t mean that as braggadocio, but rather to say that a good stretch should test one a bit.

I love fried foods, but eat them sparingly. I try to make time for others, but probably could do a better job of that. Then again, few actually seek me out for advice. I have my own ideas about higher powers, and respect those who differ, but I do pray to my own God in my own form. Just as importantly, I meditate daily. It’s a great and peaceful exercise–not unlike prayer.

This again confirms what I have said about Mariano, something that might sound trite but is unquestionably true: there is Mariano, and there is everyone else.

Via Mr. Olney:

Ol’ Satch’s Rules for Staying Young

  1. Avoid fried meats which angry up the blood.
  2. If your stomach disputes you, lie down and pacify it with cool thoughts.
  3. Keep the juices flowing by jangling around gently as you move.
  4. Go very light on the vices, such as carrying on in society — the social ramble ain’t restful.
  5. Avoid running at all times.
  6. And don’t look back — something might be gaining on you.

Rivera liked the list, and when asked, the reliever — who has always been regimented in his preparation, from his early days as a professional — offered up his own. So here they are: Ol’ Mo’s Rules for Staying Young

  1. You have to get your rest. You have to get your eight hours of sleep. (Rivera says he tries to make sure he is asleep within two hours after a game.)
  2. No alcohol, or light alcohol at most. (Rivera said he used to drink just a little when he was younger but now doesn’t drink at all.)
  3. Run all the time. (Editor’s note: Sorry, Satch, but Ol’ Mo disagrees with you here). Rivera does 10-12 sprints from line to line every day, along the outfield wall, and then shags fly balls aggressively before games. Power shagging. When Rivera was younger, some advance scouts who watched him run around center field during batting practice were convinced he was one of the best center fielders in the AL.
  4. He avoids fried foods. “I know what Satch is saying there,” he said. “I just don’t feel good when I eat that stuff.”
  5. Stretch every day.
  6. Respect others the way you want to be respected, and respect the game. And if you do that, everything will pretty much take care of itself.
  7. Make time for others (He loves it when young players come up and ask for advice …).
  8. He tries to pray every day. “I have a connection with the Big Man,” said Rivera, and he wasn’t talking about George Steinbrenner. Rivera does his praying in the morning most of the time, but he finds he has that conversation throughout the day.

He is the greatest reliever in baseball history, with the second-most saves in history, and there is some silver working its way into his hair. Ten years ago, he said, no young players really asked him any questions, but now, he said with a laugh, it’s like they gather in a circle around him like kids.

This entry was posted in Player Feature and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to The Great One's Guide to Better Living–and Cooperstown

  1. Great article. I come from the Sachel Page school though.

    It's funny, a lot of people joke about Rivera being a god. Now they have their commandments.

  2. Mike S. says:

    The way I break those rules, I should be dead by now.

    The nice thing would be if Mo pitches like Satchel did… let’s recall that Paige was a 42 year old rookie in 1948 when he went 6-1, 2.48 for the WS champion Indians.

    12-10, 3.07 in 1952. He turned 46 that July. More impressively, it was for the sad-sack Browns.

    …and the coup de grace. September 25, 1965. A 59 year old Paige pitches for the KC A’s vs. the Boston Red Sox. From Baseball-Reference.com, the play by play for Paige’s three innings (as a batter, Paige struck out).

    The first…Jim Gosger pops to first. Dalton Jones reached on a 2-base error and was then caught stealing third. Yaz doubled. Tony C. flied to left.

    The second…1-2-3; Lee Thomas Popped to 3b; Felix Mantilla grounded to SS and Eddie Bressoud flied to right.

    The third…Mike Ryan popped to SS, Bill Monbouquette struck out and Gosger grounded to SS.

    3 IP, 10 batters faced, just one over the minimum. No walks. Only the future HOF, Yastrzemski, got a hit. One strikeout.

    Impressive for a 29 year old, much more so for one 59. It’d be great if Mo could pitch agelessly like Ol’ Satch did.

  3. Ol’ Satch was onto a lot, Rob, but he and I differ on the running. I bet he’d give me a world of grief over it, too.

    Good point, Mike, especially on Paige’s efficiency. What Satchel Paige did was just incredible, especially at his age. Imagine if baseball weren’t segregated and he pitched in the majors in his prime. He’d have torn it up. My understanding is that Satchel once picked Mickey Mantle off second by keeping his gaze toward home, yet shuffling his back (right) foot off the rubber and pitching the ball backwards to the bag. Mantle was just frozen. Satch was amazing, and was blessed with a rubber arm. The guy often threw DOUBLE and TRIPLE-headers in the Negro League’s barn-storming style schedule. That’s ridiculous.

  4. She-Fan says:

    I remember when I visited Mo’s steak restaurant in New Rochelle, his co-owner told me that Mo only drinks bottled water so I guess his Second Commandment is really true! He also said Mo wasn’t obsessive about his health regime and didn’t force it on others; he was just very disciplined. And yes, he is a god.

  5. smurfy says:

    Amen. Say, they always say he’s a to pitch pitcher, fastball and cutter, but I think I’ve seen (it’s tough with that off angle and long lens from center) the ball break in on righties. He must be throwing a two seam fastball as well, right?