Mariano Rivera’s faith in God is completely unshakeable, even in the face of the devastating injury that ended his baseball season. So it’s no surprise that Mo has decided that God is going to give him the strength to return to the pitcher’s mound and end his career on his own terms.
Even the freak knee injury that made my heart stop, that was even worse than watching Derek Jeter writhing in excruciating pain on the Toronto turf with a dislocated shoulder, will not stop Mariano Rivera forever. The New York Yankees closer and future Hall of Famer vowed that he would come back from the injury, a vow that warms my heart because while I never wanted Mo to retire from baseball, an even worse fate would be to see his career end like this.
Rivera’s Yankee teammates, glum and depressed as they were on Thursday night, were cheered by his decision. They know him well enough to understand that if he says he is coming back, then he is coming back, end of discussion, nothing will keep him off the mound. Jeter even thinks it could happen this year, although that’s probably unrealistic. But the faith Jeter and Rivera have in each other after 20 years playing together in the majors and minors is unbreakable. On the day Jeter got his 3,000th hit, Rivera talked about wanting to see the Yankees shortstop hit a triple to achieve the elusive cycle. He believed Jeter would get that triple, just as Jeter has no doubts that his baseball brother will return to his rightful place closing games for the Yankees again.
I have no doubts either, even though I know the road back will be a long, hard one. But if anyone can navigate that difficult path, it’s Mo, with a little help from the God he completely believes in.