By now, though, you know that none of that matters. While shagging fly balls in the outfield during batting practice before the game, Mariano Rivera twisted his knee and fell to the ground in obvious pain. Waiting his turn in the cage almost four hundred feet away, A-Rod spoke for Yankee fans everywhere when he said, “Oh, my god! Oh, my god! He’s hurt!” Manager Joe Girardi raced to where Mariano lay on the warning track, and moments later he and bullpen coach Mike Harkey were hoisting the greatest closer of all time — and by at least one measure, the greatest pitcher of all time — onto a cart that would drive him off into the sunset, perhaps forever.
The true extent of Rivera’s injury wouldn’t be revealed until after the game, but the specter of disaster loomed over the entire evening. At one point Ken Singleton reported that it was simply a twisted knee and said something about how Girardi would have to do without him for a few days. Anyone who had seen the play (you can watch it here) knew it was much worse.
Within minutes after the final out, Rivera himself confirmed the worst. He had torn his ACL and his meniscus. The exact course of action won’t be known until Rivera flies back to New York and meets with team doctors, but one thing is for sure: he won’t pitch again in 2012, and since this season had long been rumored to be his last, there’s no guarantee that he’ll want to return for 2013, nor is it clear that he’ll even be able to pitch next year. When asked if he thought he would pitch again, an emotional Rivera gave a sobering answer: “At this point, I don’t know. At this point, I don’t know. We have to face this first.”
That just sucks. Not much else to say about it. Here’s hoping he recovers and gives it one last go in 2013.
Time waits for no man except Jamie Moyer.