Quick question: why is Mariano Rivera's pursuit of the all-time saves record getting less love and attention than Derek Jeter's quest for 3,000 hits?
The New York tabloids couldn't get enough of the race to 3,000, publishing stories every day about how close Jeter was getting. But they have been remarkably silent about Rivera's chase of baseball's saves record. Jeter's feat, though truly incredible, was accomplished by 27 other baseball players before the captain of the New York Yankees joined that club. In contrast, Rivera is trying to become only the second reliever to get to the 600-save mark and blow past Trevor Hoffman to become the all-time saves leader.
Perhaps it has to do with the fact that some baseball writers still can't wrap their heads around saves. They generally have trouble assessing the greatness of closers, as seen by the difficulty pitchers such as Lee Smith have getting into the Baseball Hall of Fame despite saving hundreds of games.
Or maybe the media is taking its cues from Rivera, who is the epitome of a low-key guy. Rivera has made it clear that he couldn't care less when or if he gets the record as long as he is doing his job. But Jeter was equally as quiet about his pursuit, only admitting after the fact that he was both nervous with and preoccupied by it. The New York tabloids didn't let that stop them from making a big deal about it.
I'm sure Rivera's record won't slip the minds of the New York Yankees. The Yankees and Major League Baseball have a full page devoted to the countdown. Since he could match and surpass Hoffman before the end of the current road trip (hopefully in Toronto because I will be there =), the Yankees will have a nice ceremony planned for him when he gets back home.
It hasn't slipped my attention either. Mo is my favorite Yankee and I will be at the stadium on whatever day the Yankees choose to honor him, just like I was there for Jeter's special ceremony.