Guess you weren’t around for The Daily News replacing The Dick Young with Phil Pepe on Clubhouse Confidential.
But we should use that time to prepare for the next step, too, and remember to build up some patience and empathy for the unfortunate soul who takes his place. The pitcher who takes over as Yankees closer next season — be it David Robertson, the most likely candidate, or someone else in a trade or through free agency — will not be nearly as good.
No matter how much money the Yankees decide to pay him. No matter how much life he has in his arm. No matter how much potential he has shown in his career. He will not be Rivera.
Repeat: He. Will. Not. Be. Rivera.
...Few legends are actually replaced in the truest sense – no one, for example, had to step into Michael Jordan’s Nikes when he left the Bulls.
The burden of stardom is often passed from players in different positions in team sports, or not at all. Someone will replace Derek Jeter as Yankees shortstop eventually, but it is likely that someone else on the team – Robinson Cano, maybe? – will take over as the face of the Yankees.
The closer is different. It is a unique role on any baseball team and especially unique on this baseball team, which has thrived because of the best closer who has ever lived. The man who replaces Mariano Rivera will go on a short list in sports, along with the man who replaced Vince Lombardi.
The Yankees can only hope, for their sake and for the sake of the unfortunate soul who gets the job, that it’ll go a bit more smoothly.
Posted: March 08, 2013 at 06:13 AM | 197 comment(s)
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