This one will be a challenge for me to write. I am a Boston Red Sox fan, and as such, the idea of writing something positive about anyone on the New York Yankees is a challenge I am not eager to undertake. (Although in my blog series on Christian Baseball players last season, I did include articles about Brett Gardner and Eric Chavez, and a couple weeks ago, spoke a little about Mark Teixiera and his faith in an article about golfer Ben Crane).
But as much as I want to see the Yankees lose, I have not been able to find a reason to dislike Mariano Rivera – their hall of fame bound closer. He is arguably the best relief pitcher to ever put on a uniform. He is reliable, and shortens the game by an inning for his team, because the chances of him blowing the save lie somewhere between slim and none. (Although my favorite memory of Rivera, as a Red Sox fan, is of him blowing saves in back to back games in the crazy 2004 ALCS – but that was DEFINITELY the exception and not the norm).
So when I heard the news earlier this week that he had gone down while catching flies during batting practice and that the injury is severe enough that it will likely cost him this entire season, I was saddened a little because he is such a likable guy and a great story of a successful Christian athlete who glorifies God through the talents God has given to him. So to see this image below is a little sad.
The truth is that Mariano Rivera has dominated the majors for 18 years. He has saved more games than anyone else in history. His name and reputation are all the intimidation that he needs because he comes across as one of the nicest guys that you will ever meet. So out of the respect that I have for him and the way he has played the game for almost 2 decades, and the way that he is so up front and outspoken about his faith in God, I hope that he is able to rehab and come back from this injury – if that is God’s will. I respect that he wants to come back, but he is definitely leaning on God to guide and direct what will happen next. To learn more about Rivera and the injury and the God helps him keep it all in perspective, check out these links:
1- An article about the injury and how he is approaching the recovery from The Christian Post.
2- A short telling of Rivera’s coming to faith from Beyond the Ultimate
3- A great article about his career and his faith from Sports Spectrum Magazine.
4- and an Interesting article finding parallels between Mariano Rivera and King David.
What caught my attention in this last article is that it talks about how Rivera is willing to show his trade secrets – how to throw the cutter – to anyone who wants to see it. He labels it a gift from God and he sees it as his responsibility to not withhold this blessing from others. Oh that we would all have that attitude with the things that God blesses us with.
I hope that Rivera can come back and pitch again, if that is God’s plan. And if not, I hope that Rivera enjoys sharing God’s love and faithfulness with whatever is coming up next for him.