At age 42, Mariano Rivera didn’t come out and say that he was retiring after this season, but he sure dropped what seems to have been a big hint that this year could be his last.
Speaking with Andrew Marchand of ESPNNewYork.com, Rivera said that he has made up his mind on retirement, but that he refuses to reveal his answer yet. Here’s what he said:
“I know now,” Rivera said. “I just don’t want to tell you. I know now. I will let you guys know when I think I should tell you.”
“I don’t want to be seen like that,” Rivera said of pitching past his effectiveness. “It is important for me to leave the game on top if God allows me to do that, just finish on top, knowing I did what I was called to do.
“It is hard when you have the ability to continue and you have to make that decision. It is hard. For me, baseball is not everything. There are a lot of more things than baseball. I’ve been blessed. I’ve had a great career, but at the same time there are a lot of other things to do.”
“I won’t be there dragging my arm to pitch,” Rivera said. “I’m not going to start pitching with my left arm. I want to be able to compete.”
Now Rivera has cried wolf before talking about retirement going back to his mid-30′s, but this sounds like a man who has made up his mind. If he was leaving open the option to come back next year I feel like he would be saying stuff like, ‘we’ll see how it goes,’ rather than a definitive statement that he has made.
We’ll have to wait and see what he says before we know for sure, but it certainly sounds like this will be Rivera’s last year. Hopefully it ends with him on the mound in October shutting the door on his 6th World Series.