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Mariano Rivera is close to the all-time saves record

Sep 12, 2011, 2:03 PM EDT

Mariano Rivera Reuters

The point to this David Waldstein article in the New York Times is that Mariano Rivera‘s imminent surpassing of Trevor Hoffman on the all-time saves list is getting surprisingly little hype.  Given that, until I read this David Waldstein article in the New York Times I wasn’t aware that Mariano Rivera was about to surpass Trevor Hoffman, I tend to think he has a point.

So: Mariano Rivera has 599 saves. Hoffman finished with 601.  You have to figure that Mo will be a lock for it in the last couple weeks of the season. Which will be fitting because there’s no sense in muddying up the conversation about who the best closer of all time is by having the guy who actually is (Rivera) not have the record in the stat a lot of people think is important in that regard. Even if it isn’t really important.

Which makes me wonder about the reason for the lack of hype. Part of me wants it to be because everyone knows that saves is a dumb stat and that Rivera’s legacy in no way requires that record to be complete.  But I think too many people do value saves, so that’s probably not what’s happening.

I think that Rivera is just showing — again — how true greatness and dominance can get actually get boring after a while, causing us to lose sight of it.  I mean, it would be one thing if there was a dramatic arc to Rivera’s career. But really there isn’t. It’s been greatness since he began, followed by greatness, and continuing on through greatness, basically unabated. Sure, you have a season of him as a mediocre starter for spice. A high-profile blown save a decade ago.  But really that’s not enough to break the chain.

Rivera’s doing something awesome and historic?  Again?  Well, OK, wake me when it’s time for dinner.

  1. skipperxc - Sep 12, 2011 at 2:11 PM

    THIS JUST IN: best ever at a thing sets all-time record for that thing. Film at 11.

    Actually in Mo’s case, I don’t think it’s an issue of everybody knowing saves are a dumb stat as much as people have pretty much felt that it was inevitable that he’d get there soon enough anyway. I know the sentiment of, “well, enjoy the record while you still have it,” came up when Hoffman retired. It’s one of those rare baseball things where stat nerds and Joe Sixpack can both agree that Rivera’s great — they just take different routes to get there.

    • southofheaven81 - Sep 12, 2011 at 9:07 PM

      I mentioned to a couple people that he was gonna break the all-time saves record, and the general reaction was “Oh. He didn’t have it already?” That’s how good he is.

  2. nategearhart - Sep 12, 2011 at 2:15 PM

    Yeah, but the Phillies.

  3. amhendrick - Sep 12, 2011 at 2:16 PM

    It’s the anti-New York bias of the media.

  4. yankeesfanlen - Sep 12, 2011 at 2:26 PM

    Years ago, I convinced everyone to “Leave Mo Alone”. That having been accomplished, I’ve moved to other things.

    • bigharold - Sep 12, 2011 at 2:28 PM

      When are you goingt to leave beep beep alone?

      Just sayin…

  5. bigharold - Sep 12, 2011 at 2:26 PM

    The Yankees aren’t hyping it because they know it wont be long before the truth gets out that Rvera is realy a robot and they take away the record from him.

    Either that or Mariano has a really bad picture of himself covered up in the attic.

  6. mrfloydpink - Sep 12, 2011 at 2:27 PM

    I actually think that this, in part, is a byproduct of the DJ3K hype. You can only get really excited about these kinds of things every so often, and I think that ESPN/the NY Post/Yankee Nation kind of blew their wad on Jeter.

    • yankeesfanlen - Sep 12, 2011 at 2:37 PM

      That’s Yankees Universe, accept no substitutes.

      • jimbo1949 - Sep 12, 2011 at 3:05 PM

        Yankees Universe©

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Sep 12, 2011 at 5:48 PM

        You now owe the Yankees $1MM for the use of their mark.

  7. dailyrev - Sep 12, 2011 at 2:31 PM

    Actually, Mo himself is responsible for a lot of it. On a team that tries to always go low-key (I’m talking about the players here), Mo manages to go an octave lower still.

    But when you look at those comparative numbers, you get the point that Isringhausen made in the article’s quotes: this is a record that won’t be approached, let alone touched, certainly while most of us are alive. Once it’s done (probably by this time next week or maybe even by the time the Yanx leave Seattle), the hyperbolists will do their damndest to articulate it, but it’s an accomplishment that leaves even sportswriter gaping and mute.

    • cktai - Sep 12, 2011 at 3:38 PM

      If you look at comparative numbers you find that seven young active closers (K-Rod, Papelbon, Jenks, Street, Wilson, Soria, Capps) have reached 100 saves faster than Mo had, with Marmol on track to become the eigth. If any of these pitch up to their 40th they will certainly approach Mo’s soon to be record, and possibly surpass it.

      Mo is a wonderful and truly unique pitcher, but the total number of saves doesnt even tell half the story.

  8. cur68 - Sep 12, 2011 at 2:45 PM

    Is there a better guy to hold the record? In terms of dominance, walk out song, nickname, role on the team, demeanor, ‘out’ pitch (a pitch so cool douchebags name their kids after it: lookin’ right at ya Nails), and ‘clutchness’ , he should be the guy with the record.

    The fact that he gives every impression of being a nice humble man who tries to earn what he’s paid in a sport that sees others in the same job do their best to act like they are the cat’s behind, while in fact coming off as the donkey’s, really sets him apart.

    In my mind the lack of hoopla is in accordance with his character; just doing his job, gets paid real well for it, that’s all the fanfare required, thank you very much. When he sets the record, providing it’s not against the Beaver Men, I shall tip my hat to him, hope everyone else does the same, and hope that’ll be that. If it is against the Beaver Men, then I’ll dig out my copy of “Mettalica” and score a deep groove in it with the scathing hate pouring out of my eyeballs.

    Then I’ll tip my hat to him.

    • clydeserra - Sep 12, 2011 at 4:10 PM

      Does he even know what his walk out song is?

      • clydeserra - Sep 12, 2011 at 5:07 PM

        Let me be a little more clear

        “During the same period, Rivera saved 379 of 431 chances, and broke a million bats with his devastating cut fastball. “Enter Sandman” became the music that announced that Rivera was on the scene and that the game was as good as over, although Rivera has said he had no role in choosing the song.

        “Asked if he liked the song, Rivera said: “You want me to tell the truth? I don’t want to get in trouble.

        “I don’t listen to that kind of music,” he added, more bluntly. “I don’t love the song.”

      • cur68 - Sep 12, 2011 at 5:47 PM

        Sorry clyde; busy with stuff, just saw this. I was aware that he didn’t particularly care for the song. In fact, if he had liked that as his ‘personal’ song I’d have thought “that’s a little egotistical Mr. Rivera. Just a little douchey.” The fact that he doesn’t care for the song, didn’t pick it but won’t really start trashing it either says a lot about the guy.
        The whole thing seriously leaves me conflicted. Its supposed to be easy hating Stormtroopers, isn’t it? Kind makes me believe in the power of The Force, because it must be a Dark Side mind trick that sees this happening…urk! Can’t …breathe……..

      • clydeserra - Sep 12, 2011 at 6:41 PM

        nothing against you cur You comment was great,I was simply remarking on one aspect of it.

        its the thumbs down on my last comment. I don’t get most of those. I would like people to comment instead of thumbing down.

  9. dailyrev - Sep 12, 2011 at 3:01 PM

    BTW: for any writer who wants to give it a try, here’s your headline: Mo -numental

    • yankeesfanlen - Sep 12, 2011 at 3:20 PM

      You have a great future in tabloid journalism. Maybe now Lupica can retire.

  10. sdelmonte - Sep 12, 2011 at 3:14 PM

    I never thought I would see the day that either the Yankees tireless PR office or the NYC tabloids didn’t jump on a milestone. Strange that after all the endless Jetermania, and despite my rooting for Mets, and despite not really finding Mo that engaging a figure, I want to see more hype.

    • yankeesfanlen - Sep 12, 2011 at 3:17 PM

      That’s the spirit, sdelmonte! The Universe’s broad umbrella can accept all converts!

      • sdelmonte - Sep 12, 2011 at 3:56 PM

        The closest you will come to converting me is that I am rooting against the Bosox right now. But mainly so that I can point at a team with an even bigger payroll than the Mets of ’07-’08 and call them chokers.

      • browngoat25 - Sep 12, 2011 at 4:42 PM

        I am rooting for the Braves to choke …
        (remembers the Wainright curve) …
        ah, hell, Go Rays!

    • browngoat25 - Sep 12, 2011 at 3:51 PM

      I agree, sdelmonte. The Brewers, who got Hoffman at the tail end of his career, made a huge deal about him getting to 600 saves, and there was buzz in the national press and on the internets. I have yet to see a good explanation as to why there is so little hype about Rivera, especially considering he is a career Yankee.

      Maybe Rivera himself has asked the Yankee PR department to keep quiet? I dont know. 600 career saves is huge, whether you believe in the importance of the stat or not, and Rivera is the type of guy that MLB should be hyping…

  11. thefalcon123 - Sep 12, 2011 at 3:43 PM

    Congratulations for coming into a game in relief and finishing and not relinquishing the lead with your team up from 1 to 3 runs more than anyone else in history. Or as I like to call it: The Most Pointless, Idiotic Stat in Baseball Save for the Sacrifice Fly.

  12. awriterorsomething - Sep 12, 2011 at 6:26 PM

    The greatness of Rivera can be seen in his other numbers:

    ERA+ 205. Next in Line? Pedro Martinez at 154. Next reliever on the list? Dan Quisenbury at 147.

    ERA: 2.22. 13th all time but the only pitcher to start his career live ball era in the top 40. Fact is that the next Live Ball Era pitcher on the list is Hoyt Wilhelm at #45.

    WAR: 55th, the only pure reliever in the top 100 (his one season as a starter actually lowers his WAR).

    WHIP: 3rd all time.

    The saves are a byproduct of that greatness.

    Yes there are closers that have reached 100 saves faster than Rivera but none have shown the staying power of Rivera and Hoffman and none have shown this level of excellence so late in a career.

    • aceshigh11 - Sep 12, 2011 at 9:36 PM

      Those are some incredible stats right there.

      As a Red Sox fan, Mariano is the ONE Yankee that I have no qualms about watching best us.

      You can’t NOT root for a consummate professional like that. Watching him pitch is a thing of beauty.

  13. southofheaven81 - Sep 12, 2011 at 9:14 PM

    I caught a whole bunch of crap a couple weeks back for saying that Mo is the second greatest Yankee ever, but I stand by it. If I’m setting up my all-time Yankee fantasy team, the first 2 things I’m doing is making sure that Babe Ruth is batting cleanup, and Mariano is in the bullpen. They’re the only 2 Yankees to be the best, ever, in baseball, at what they do (power hitting and relief pitching).

    • awriterorsomething - Sep 13, 2011 at 4:47 PM

      I would still bat Ruth third and have Gehrig clean-up but otherwise, I wouldn’t argure 😉

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