Much will be written about Mariano Rivera’s retirement from baseball after this coming season and deservedly so. For 17 years, Mo has been the most dominant closer in the sport. His regular-season earned run average for this time period is an astounding 2.21. And his postseason E.R.A. — in 96 games (count ‘em) against the very stiffest competition, under the greatest pressure — is 0.70. But you can find all the amazing statistics on his Hall of Fame career with a few clicks of the mouse, no need to recount them here. Not to make it all about me (although I will do just that), but I feel like Mo has been a guy I’ve personally been able to depend on for almost two decades. I arrived fresh-faced and stupid in Manhattan in 1997, the very same year that Mo first stepped on the mound to close out a game in pinstripes. I used to watch the games with Shal & Bart at either one of two fairly lousy bars that were a block from my very first apartment on West 30th Street: the Molly Wee & the Garden Tavern (these days, called ”the Tempest.”)And he was a bat-breaking freak of nature. His self-control, his power, and his mechanical method of completely shutting down the competition would hold the entire bar in thrall. I have none of those steely characteristics, but I remember watching Mo and the Yanks bench in those early Empire years and relating in some imaginary way to all those guys. In my mind, we were all young dudes in this big bad New York City mess, trying to kick some ass and maybe do something meaningful. I’m pretty sure I never really was aware or articulated it, but humor me: for whatever reason, I felt a kinship to this team of highly paid pro athletes with whom I had nothing in common.Part of that one-sided rapport might have been due to the fact that I went to so many ballgames. From 1997-1999, I worked as a salesman for my Uncle Dave’s financial printing company downtown, and his company had season tickets available for sales guys. Those were some good days! Jeter, Tino, Pauly, Jorge, Bernie, Andy, and of course, Mo. The Yanks had an unbelievable balance of youth and experience, power and speed. They had ridiculous patience. They would stage uncanny come-backs, they would exploit every opportunity given, and regardless of the momentum in the ninth you’d hear those gothic Metallica chords on the loudspeaker and that was the cue to lose your shit. Good ole Mo would come trotting out, always cool as a cucumber, he’d brandish that 98 mile-an-hour cutter, and that would be that. You could set your watch to it. Every young guy is convinced he’s invincible, but the truth is that Mo actually was.And Mo has aged in the years since then, which I can only imagine means that I have, as well. And now when I ruminate on a Mo-less Yankee squad, it’s poignant. It assuredly marks the end of an era for one of the greatest sports franchises in the world, and yes, a man that dominated the game with inimitable class and professionalism is hanging it up for good… but for me, it also signifies that I’m not some fresh-faced kid anymore. But on the flip side, I’m decidedly less stupid. And that seems like a fair trade. So thanks again, Mo. You’ll be missed!
On this Radio On The Real podcast, Jesse and Greg sit down with veteran newsman and vastly entertaining raconteur, Rob Klug. A dyed-in-the-wool New Yorker, Rob shares great stories about growing up in the Bronx, editing iconic music videos, making ground breaking reality programming, and directing the news division at CBS.And look at that proud guy at the convention in Tampa last fall! We had a blast having this conversation with Rob Klug and want to sincerely thank him for taking the time to share his memories and witticisms with us even if there was a technical gaff or two. After all, this is radio on the real, folks. We hope you enjoy!
When they shuttered the original Yankee Stadium three years ago, I wasn’t alone in wondering whether this shiny modern version would feel hollow and soulless, lacking the rich history that seemed to animate the old House That Ruth Built.
Nope! Not the case at all. I think the new stadium is completely great, and nothing could be better than taking in a ballgame on a sweltering summer evening in the Bronx. And of course, there’s still always Stan’s, if you miss the old grit n’ grime.