Mariano Rivera Can't Go Out Like This

Love or hate the New York Yankees, you have to admit that Mariano Rivera is the greatest closer of all-time. Rivera, 42, was already putting together what could have been a swan song season to close out his career, as he’s recorded 5 saves in 6 chances, with a 1-1 record and 2.16 ERA. Instead, he could be going out more like a dying duck, as he’ll miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL.

Before yesterday’s 4-3 loss to the Kansas City Royals, Rivera was shagging fly batting practice balls in center field, like he usually does, and on a deep fly ball by Jayson Nix, Rivera turned awkwardly and twisted his knee (video after the jump). A lot of people might ask, “Why the hell was the 41-year old closer shagging fly balls in center field?” And the answer is: “Because Mo can apparently do whatever he wants.”

An outstanding athlete, Rivera fancies himself a credible center fielder, even pleading with Girardi to allow him to play center in a game before he retires. Girardi said he wanted to accommodate Rivera, but was too worried about an injury to let him go through with it.

Rivera has been a fixture in center field during batting practice, along with the other pitchers. But he always chased fly balls with more zeal and effort. (Via the New York Times)

And so begins a year of sports writers wondering if Rivera’s career is over, which we won’t know until he recovers, obviously. What we do know is that a guy like Rivera deserves better. If he’s going to blow out his knee, at least make it while he’s rescuing a basket of puppies from Skeletor. At least that’s how I’d like to go.

MISTY UPDATE: Here’s a video of Rivera talking about his injury. If you’re a Yankees fan, have some tissues ready.

(Banner via Flickr/njnetfan)