Friday, September 01, 2006

Mariano Rivera deserves both Cy Young & MVP but won't win for 11th year--Joel Sherman

'Rivera is doing this for an 11th straight year, and for an 11th straight year says Hall of Fame director Joel Sherman in his NY Post column today.
  • Sherman has achieved enough in his career that he has the courage to speak the truth about Rivera. However, apparently not enough to take the next necessary step. Which obviously would be very bad for the BBWAA.
  • WE HAVEN'T EVEN HAD THIS YEAR'S CROP, BUT Joel says Rivera will LOSE AGAIN. Joel, you appear to be an accessory, which is almost as bad as a criminal.
Detroit Manager JIM LEYLAND from the same article in today's NY Post ON RIVERA:
  • "This guy has had the most impact of any player in recent history.
  • My vote would have gone to Mariano Rivera for MVP of baseball [for this period]. I know a lot of guys hit 40-50 homers. But ... damn, you bring Mariano Rivera out of the bullpen, that is a big edge."
Sherman's article:


NY Post, September 1, 2006 --' THE BULLPEN door opened Wednesday night and so did a scary window into the Yankee future. Scott Proctor, not Mariano Rivera, emerged and a Yankees' lead disappeared.
  • It was yet another reminder that some time soon "Enter Sandman" only will be played on Old-Timer's Day at Yankee Stadium and someone else will have to replace the most irreplaceable Yankee of them all.

It is Rivera, not Joe Torre or even Derek Jeter, whose cleats will be the toughest to fill.

  • Only then will we fully comprehend that this elite run the Yanks have been on for a decade-plus has started at the end.

"You can't replace him," GM Brian Cashman said. "You are not going to replace the all-time greatest at something. It is going to be about how much you can cushion the blow."

  • The issue became pertinent again yesterday, because the Yankees closer had to go for an MRI, which to the Yanks chagrin does not stand for Mariano Rivera Invincible. He has been feeling pain near his right elbow and, for what he described as "peace of mind," he underwent a more thorough test.

The results were negative for any structural damage, an incalculable positive for these Yankees, who cannot get near the Canyon of Heroes without him. The problem, the team said, is muscular. Rivera was deemed healthy enough that when the bullpen door opened yesterday afternoon, less than 24 hours after Proctor's meltdown, it was Rivera who entered.

  • Like Proctor, Rivera got into trouble with a two-run lead and three outs to get. Proctor did not know how to get out of trouble.

Rivera did by doing what he always does: He broke bats and hearts.

  • After Magglio Ordonez doubled to bring the tying run to the plate with no outs, Rivera splintered Carlos Guillen's bat to induce a slow grounder to third, though the switch-hitter was batting righty to avoid having his bat broken. Sean Casey dribbled a ball to the mound. Brandon Inge broke his bat fouling off a 96-mph fastball the pitch before rolling a ball that Jorge Posada turned into the final out. Rivera conserved his best fastballs until he was in difficulty. But they were there to evoke

three meek grounders, a good sign.

What happens, though, when they are not? With a big division lead, the Yanks can limit Rivera to one inning and perhaps find a week of September rest to prep for October, when the wraps will come off because, as Rivera says, "in October, you have to do what you have to do."

  • But Rivera is 35. He already has remained dominant in a job normally less friendly to the aging than supermodel.

  • He has been so good that, I think, he actually is underappreciated. He has not only been the best closer ever.

  • He has been better in the playoffs than the regular season.

And he has done this not in Kansas City or Houston, but in New York. He has handled this smorgasbord of pressure impeccably.

  • Will his successor? Consider that Detroit beat the Yanks twice in seven tries this year; the games Rivera was not available, but Kyle Farnsworth and Proctor were.

Now consider that Rivera is doing this for an 11th straight year, and for an 11th straight year

  • he will not win a Cy Young or MVP, though there is no doubt

"When you see the Yankees take the field in the ninth inning, they have their chest out and feel the game is over," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "That is a hell of a feeling.

  • This guy has had the most impact of any player in recent history.

My vote would have gone to Mariano Rivera for MVP of baseball [for this period]. I know a lot of guys hit 40-50 homers. But ... damn, you bring Mariano Rivera out of the bullpen, that is a big edge."

  • The Yanks had that edge again yesterday, won another game because of it.

article by Joel Sherman, "Someday, Yankees Will have to Replace Irreplaceable Mo,"NY Post, Sept. 1, 2006


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  • "there is no doubt he is both the Cy Young and MVP of the last 11 years."

    I'm sorry, but even in the "any idiot can have a voice on the internet" world we live in, that is the most asinine thing I've ever read. Mariano Rivera is the greatest closer ever, but to suggest he's been "robbed" of TWENTY TWO postseason awards is idiocy even the biggest Yankee fan in the world would laugh at.

    But keep up the writing, I can use the laughs.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:45 PM  

  • I'm not the one who originated the idea, it was Joel Sherman who wrote the article in the Post. I agree with you that 22 sounds over the top, but if you cut that in half, he's only been passed over for 11 awards. That's still quite a few.

    By Blogger susan mullen, at 11:51 PM  

  • While you can make a case that Rivera has been one of the most valuable players over the last 11 years as a whole, he was never the most valuable in any single season. The fact is, he's a pitcher who throws 70 innings a year only when his team already has the lead. And he's never had a season with eye-popping stats like Gagne's 2003 year (55 saves, 0 blown saves). He's had a couple of years where he was a legit candidate (but by no means the frontrunner) for the Cy Young, but never realistically was going to win an MVP.

    Remember, these awards are for regular season performance only. While he's been very good in the regular season, it's the postseaason performance that will get him into the Hall of Fame.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:13 AM  

  • Thanks, anonymous, for proving my point. Your post is filled with erroneous information. You sound like
    someone from ESPN.com--for example,
    manipulating stats to minimize Mariano, advising me to "remember" that post season doesn't count etc. I've studied this subject in great detail. Gagne had losses during his season, so you can't sell me on the no blown save BS. Mariano has thrown more than 70 innings so that's just a lie--he threw 78.1 in the regular season of 2005. Many awards voters admit to adding other criteria to their votes, such as "the guy's done well the past few years," and I've documented this, so don't try your ESPN crap on me.
    Gagne was fed cookies in easy, low pressure situations, which any idiot can look up. Mariano has redefined the role. If you're at all familiar with the American League, you'll notice closers this year have been put in place and are being used in the way Rivera has for years. That is, not for a cheap save, but many times for more than one inning & several days in a row in high pressure situations. You're also now trying to fall back on the ESPN BS which says, "If Rivera has a lot of saves, just say he's had more opportunities and change the subject." And, if he doesn't have the most saves, say "Well, he's not so good because he doesn't have the most saves." You're just an elitist
    boiler-plate propagandist who's used to dismissing everyone else who's too lazy to look up the facts.

    By Blogger susan mullen, at 12:33 AM  

  • The article states Jim Leyland thinks Mariano is the MVP-- I don't know if you saw that. I documented on this blog a few months ago that JP Ricciardi, an AL GM said Rivera is the reason the Yankees have won all these AL pennants. So, there are 2 AL managers who disagree with you whoever you are. Ozzie Guillen also said Mo was the best closer in the game--and he named him on July 5, which wasn't in the post season. I'm sure you'd say that also means nothing. I've also documented other actual current AL sluggers who say he's the best. For 1 tiny example, in 2005, Rivera's team was running behind as the season drew to a close. In September, he saved or won 6 1-run games, worked 3 days in a row twice in a 2 week period, 6 days out of 8, in a brutal pennant race. Since any AL manager or player or anyone who could read could figure this out and see his performance as the difference maker, why haven't you? Answer: either you're uninformed or hoping for a career at ESPN or both.

    By Blogger susan mullen, at 1:17 AM  

  • My post is filled with erroneous information? That's pretty funny.

    OK, I'll spell it out for you, since you seem to need the help. When I said 70 innings, I was talking about an average season. Yes, he threw 78 in '04 and '05. He also threw only 61 in '98 and 46 on '02. I said 70 to make a general statement about the years from '97 to '05. Sorry for the confusion. Other than that, there is not a single factual error.

    "The no blown save BS", as you put it, is fact. He entered a game 55 times in a save situation, and 55 times he picked it up. And if you "look it up" you'll see that he threw 82 innings that year, more than Rivera in any year since '96.

    Take a look at May 16th-22nd in 2003, when Gagne saved 6 straight Dodger games, 4 of which were 1 run leads. Were none of these "high-pressure situations"? Plus, do you know how many of Rivera's 33 saves this year came when he went more than 1 inning? Seven. 26 times he came in and got the good ol' 1 inning save. So your statement that "Gagne was fed cookies in easy, low pressure situations" but Rivera has "redefined" the position looks to be a bit biased.

    As I said, Rivera is a great closer, probably the best ever. But a closer will never win a Cy Young/MVP unless they have stats in that season that are truly historic, like Eckersley (7-1, 51 saves in '92) or Gagne (55 saves, 0 blown in '03) AND there are no starters who put up truly great numbers that year.

    Since you think it's so easy to look things up, please point out the specific season that you think Rivera should have won the MVP or Cy Young. Then show the stats of both Rivera and the award winner, and make a case for why Rivera should have won. But to make blanket statements that Rivera was "robbed" with no "facts" other than your own biased opinions will not convince anyone that you might be right.

    And yes, Jim Leyland and Ozzie Guillen spoke highly of Rivera to the media. But I'm sure when they are about to play Toronto they compliment Halliday, and before playing the Twins they compliment Santana and Liriano. Coaches throw out cliches all the time so that the media will go away and write their articles and stop bothering them. I'm sure both coaches think very highly of Rivera, but for you to take those comments as absolute facts shows that you have very little understanding of how the manager-sportswriter relationship works.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:31 AM  

  • To start with, you advanced the "no blown saves," not me. You didn't mention the losses, which was intended to make your candidate look better. I just explained what he did in Sept. 2005; he had all the numbers you seek--he was #1 in the Bill James/ Rob
    Neyer AL Cy Young predictor, which you may still be able to access.

    By Blogger susan mullen, at 1:58 AM  

  • I didn't say that Gagne was perfect in '03. Yes, he lost 3 games. What I meant by bringing it up was that the 55 for 55 was historic, the kind of stat that gets the attention of the voters and something that had never happened before.

    Again, the point I was trying to make is that for a closer to win an award, 2 things have to happen:

    1) Have a truly historic season, doing something that has never been done before.

    2) Do it in a season where no starting pitcher has outstanding stats.

    Unless BOTH of these things happen, most voters will not consider a closer who throws 70-80 innings to be more valuable than a starter who throws 240+ and has to face lineups more than once a game. You can debate whether this is correct or not, but you won't convince most people unless both of my above points occur.

    Rivera has had outstanding seasons but has never had that one regular season that really stood out as a "greatest ever by a closer" season. In the postseason, however, he has put up historic stats. And he was rewarded in 1999 with the World Series MVP.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:05 AM  

  • I appreciate your comments and your interest in this topic. But your last statement about "Rivera has never had," etc. is just your opinion, and
    first of all ignores what I explained to you about 2005, the race for the pennant, and the Bill James/
    Rob Neyer AL Cy Young Predictor in effect at the end of the 2005 regular season. Second, the two criteria you state as rules for consideration of a closer are not written anywhere. They're only used as excuses if someone chooses to exclude Rivera. As far as the total saves stat, I've covered that, and it's also alternately despised or touted depending on what excuse a media member or voter needs. Rivera could easily have accumulated more 'total saves' in most years other than 2002 when he was injured for awhile
    (see 2001 and post season, see 1 individual on the cover of Olney's book "Last Night of the Yankee Dynasty"), if Torre hadn't had to keep some of him in the tank for 3 levels of post season play. Rollie
    Fingers referenced this "handing out" of situational "saves" stats,
    there was never anything attached to it, they were just handed out by the manager. I realize it's an emotional thing for people-after all, ESPN put millions of dollars of publicity into pumping up the Dodger closer with this stat they
    kept pumping up--the guy knew the
    award was worth millions, the team knew it--they knew they only had the
    regular season to worry about. The stat is easily manipulated is the point.

    By Blogger susan mullen, at 3:24 AM  

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