Mariano Rivera held a press conference to promote the two game series in Panama. However, as the press conference went on, the questions shifted from the two game series to Derek Jeter‘s retirement. Rivera admitted he never figured 2014 would be Derek Jeter’s final season in pinstripes.
“I didn’t see this coming at all. I didn’t see it,” the retired New York Yankees reliever said Wednesday. “For sure I was one of the guys that said they would have to pull his uniform off his body to take him out. But I was wrong, and this was a surprise to me.”
Just last March, Rivera announced his retirement in the same fashion as Jeter–holding a press conference and letting everyone know 2013 would be it. Rivera even received a farewell tour, with opposing teams showering him with gifts as a token of appreciation. Rivera predicts Jeter’s farewell tour will be just as spectacular,possibly better.
“It will be better,” Rivera said. “He deserves it. He has given everything for the game of baseball, and when you have a player like that, he deserves that and more.”
Rivera won’t pitch for the Yankees when the team goes to Panama but is thrilled the games are to help fund the Mariano Rivera Foundation. The proceeds will also go to the Children’s Hospital in Panama.
“I’m a little bit down because I would have loved to participate and compete while I was playing,” Rivera said. “I would have loved my people to see me play down there in Panama. But at the same time, I’m happy that the team is going there. Hopefully this will be the opening of doors so Panama can host some baseball, real baseball games during the season down in Panama.”
With Rivera finally being able to settle into retirement, he’s spending his time working with his church and other community groups–along with being with his family.
“I’m doing exactly what I love to do,” he said. “Definitely I miss it. I’m not going to lie to you. I do miss baseball. But I need my family, too. I’m fine.”