Rivera Dealing – The Dirt
Mariano Rivera is among the greatest, if not in fact, the greatest closer to ever grace the mound and douse the flames. But he’s now a former closer who was expected to be the congenial face of the club, tell a few jokes at team functions and be an affable ambassador for the Yankees. But his recent book sparked a bit of controversy as he lobbed if not quite a grenade, then at least a firecracker towards his former teammate Robinson Cano.
The remark that got tongues wagging was the following, “This guy (Cano) has so much talent I don’t know where to start... There is no doubt that he is a Hall-of-Fame caliber (player). It’s just a question of whether he finds the drive you need to get there. I don’t think Robby burns to be the best... You don’t see that red-hot passion in him that you see in most elite players.”
As if that wasn’t enough, Rivera elaborated thusly, “Nobody plays harder, gives more, wants to win more. He comes at you hard for twenty-seven outs. It’s a special thing to see.” And concludes, “If I have to win one game, I’d have a hard time taking anybody over Dustin Pedroia as my second baseman.”
Robinson Cano has wisely stayed above the fray and tiptoed around the long-range jab from his former teammate. In response, Cano issued this statement, "Everybody knows I play 160 games. How does Mariano feel? I respect that and I'm always going to have respect for him, a guy that I spent nine years with and for me is always going to be the best closer. That's how I feel."
Well played good sir is all I have to say because Cano will get no traction from dissing the living legend. He’s already considered a Benedict Arnold in the Big Apple for spurning the Yankees and taking his talents to the team with the highest offer, the Seattle Mariners. It’s always remarkable to me that the Average Joe, working closely with coworkers whom he or she considers “family”, would take a better offer in a New York minute but will be the first to roundly criticize a guy who accepted a 10-year, $240 million bonanza. Such is life for a baseball superstar but I have a feeling the $46,000 a week he earns shields him quite nicely from the slings and arrows emanating from New York.
I’m not sure where this is coming from but it’s hard to believe he’s basing his opinion on what has occurred on the field because his stats, as well as his endurance, puts him at the upper echelon of the game. I’m not sure how much more “drive” you can ask of a guy who has played at least 159 games over the last seven years. I’m sure this has more to do with some off the field issues than anything that can be attributed that he’s done on the diamond.
Perhaps Cano’s current manager Lloyd Mclendon put it best when apprised of Rivera’s remarks. "One thing I know about human nature, I don't know what Robinson Cano is feeling inside, just like you don't know what I'm feeling inside. It's impossible for me to justify that or answer that. All I can tell you is check the book -- he plays 160, 162 games a year. I think that's pretty good passion.
"The last nine years, he's been the best second baseman in baseball, offensively and defensively, and the awards and the numbers back it up."