What am I talking about? Haven’t you heard of it yet? Why? Why not? This Saturday, the greatest relief pitcher of our time, if not all time, announced that this season would be his last season of baseball. He is without question, a man of great character, faith, family values and excellence on the playing field, any sport would want an award named after. Can you believe Mariano Rivera, other than Series MVPs, has never won a pitching award? Yeah, that’s got to change… and I believe it should now!
I would love to see Major League Baseball get their brain trust in a room and agree on what the qualifications should be for a relief pitcher to win the award. Every year teams make playoff runs late in the season due to steady bullpen help by players who will rarely receive praise because they didn’t start, or finish the game. Some have even said the save has become a highly overrated statistic. When Mariano was earning the bulk of his 42 career post-season saves, the New York Yankees were winning the World Series, so how overrated could it be, really?
After this team of baseball bigwigs get together on what the award should stand for, they should award the first one at the end of this season to the man whose name will grace the award. To let Mariano Rivera retire without an award for what he’s done for the art of pitching would be a real shame, and something I hope MLB doesn’t let happen. It IS time for a reliever award, being that they are SUCH a part of baseball. When was the last game you saw without a pitching game? The complete game has gone the way of the VCR. These pitching changes equal natural breaks in the action. Major League Baseball has all that time between pitching changes to sell those ads don’t forget; I know they won’t… and they don’t.
Here’s a chance for Major League Baseball to get it right. Here’s the last player to wear the number forty-two retiring from baseball and he gives you a heads up. I know it gets stuffy when the bigwigs get together; we’re still arguing over uneven strike zones and how much replay should be used, but there should be no debate here. The winner of the 2013 Mariano Rivera Award for Outstanding Relief Pitching should be Mariano Rivera.
-Joseph Haas, Editor www.HCoftheNYJ.com