Champions appear more charismatic when they show the trait of humility. Mariona Rivera, in spite of its greatly exalted status as saver, looked as modest as ever when he took his place on the ninth innings. For the record, Yankees held Twins down 6-4.
In a profound gesture, Yankees abstained from trying to score giving Rivera his place under the sun. Rivera, needing one save to beat Trevor Hoffman’s 601 saves, a record that looks impossible to beat, after 15 glorious years, did just that.
He made Trevor Plouffe scamper to the second base and Michael Cuddyer to the right, carving a strikeout save for the 177th time. In fact, the whole episode looked somewhat forged on expected lines. This had perhaps ensured that the crowd wouldn’t be in full capacity to watch history being scripted, although the official attendance read 40005.
Jorge Pasada, who had had the most chances to catch for pitcher Rivera, teamed with teammate Alex Rodriguez to fashion Rivera on the mound. This was clearly a slice of time when the crowd could watch Rivera in awe and appreciate his contribution to baseball. Rivera himself could not fathom how a save was garnering so much appreciation, when crowds generally do so for scores.
Earlier, A J Burnett stole the show, rushing to seven strikes before Twins returned from behind to leave Burnett low. Then on, Yankees struck to two-point lead, not going for score, as that would have made Rivera’s return inadmissible.
Burnett, in a now customary style of squandering prominent position, made haywire of a five-point lead early on, letting Twins return. There may have been some method in this madness to allow Rivera his toast of success. Yet, this is a point of concern for Yankees who are going on for a severe rotational policy to forge the perfect starting combination.