Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Screw Mariano, Too

Well, this was inevitable. Now Mariano Rivera is throwing his two cents into the Save Torre / Ditch Torre debate:
"I don't feel good about it," Rivera said Wednesday, two days after the Yankees were eliminated from the playoffs. "I don't see why they're even thinking (about letting Torre go). I wish he's back, definitely. If you ask me what I would want, I want him back."
OK, fine, defend your manager. I get it -- players love Joe, he's the only major league manager Mariano's ever had. But here's where the story turns south for me:

Rivera's contract also is expiring and he is eligible to become a free agent. He said whether Torre returns will help determine whether he remains with the Yankees.

"It might do a lot of it," he said. "I mean, I've been with Joe for so many years, and the kind of person he has been for me and for my teammates. It's been great. The thing is that I don't see why they have to put him in this position."

So not only is Mariano demanding a new contract on his terms, but now he's running the team, too? If that's his attitude -- and frankly, I haven't been too fond of his attitude in recent years -- then Mariano also should start looking for new houses. Maybe he and Joe could share a place in St. Louis. (I hear they may be looking for a new manager, soon.)

After all, Mariano started whining about this in spring training, when he got all uppity about the Yankees refusal to offer him an extension:
"The Yankees always knew that I wanted to be with the Yankees and finish my career with the Yankees," he said. "If they don't want to do [anything] with me, I'm not go home crying. I'm going to move on."
Really, Mariano? Seeing as how you haven't had to close out any World Series wins lately, I'm thinking that if you're so flummoxed with the Yanks then maybe it's time to part ways. Closers have a limited shelf life; while Mariano has certainly extended his, there's going to come a day when he goes from extraordinary to just plain ordinary and the Yankees shouldn't be stuck with the bill. (Thank you, Roger, you can put your hand down now.)

I'm all for players getting paid. Okay, I'm not all for it -- to me, there's something unseemly about fleeing a city and the fans that have embraced you for so long over a few extra million, considering the utter largess these athletes command. There's something refreshing about the "home-team discount", a player realizing that he's made more money in his career than anyone who plays a game for a living has a right to, and that maybe taking "only" $12 million per year is worth more in goodwill than the $14 million he might get elsewhere. If Mariano wants to play the field, more power to him. Just don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.

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