In baseball circles around the world, newly retired New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera is regarded as the greatest relief pitcher in the history of baseball. But he has no plans on molding the next great pitcher.
“No,” Rivera said bluntly when asked if he would ever consider coaching.
“Because I don’t want to,” he said.
Certainly, he’s earned that right across a 20-year career that including an MLB-record 652 saves, 15 consecutive seasons with at least 25 games saved, and a career earned run average of 2.21.
To honor Rivera, New Era—the official on-field cap of Major League Baseball, temporarily renamed the streets on the corner of East 4th Street and Broadway in New York City to “Mariano Rivera Way.” They also created a limited-edition hat to commemorate the Yankee legend, complete with his five world championship rings and a special patch embroidered on the side.
Rivera was honored in ballparks around the league in his final season as a Yankee and his home team wore his specially made retirement patch in the final games of the regular season—the only time a team in MLB history to honor as active player on their caps.
Rivera announced his retirement back in March. He has plans to begin a new Pentecostal church in New Rochelle, NY, where he resides. After the reveal of his street sign, Rivera talked, of course, about the ongoing Alex Rodriguez drama, at Robinson Cano’s highly publicized free agency, and his own post-career plans.
What’s this all been like for you, this post-career or new career?
It’s been great. It’s been busy with the church. That’s taking my whole time. I’m enjoying it and I’m really happy right now. I’m good.
What are your thoughts on the whole Alex Rodriguez “farce,” as he called it, with Major League Baseball?
I really wasn’t involved and I haven’t been following. I have someone telling me about the incident that happened. I’m out of words because I can’t tell you more than that. He has his right to defend himself. That’s all I can tell you.
Do you think him being very steadfast and defiant is typical for Alex?
It’s not typical. I would have done it too. The guy has to defend himself. Everyone has to defend themselves in a situation like that. It’s hard. We’re still human beings. His main point is to all directions. I don’t think it’s right. But again, that’s myself. Whatever he does, I think that he’s a grownup. He has the right to defend himself.
You’ve been a free agent before, do you have any recommendation for [former teammate] Robinson Cano?
I just wanted to, and I told him before so I can say this freely, I want him to do what is right and what is good for him. Not for others but for him. If he’s comfortable playing in New York, he should be playing here. If he’s not comfortable playing in New York then he should play where he’s comfortable. It’s as simple as that. I think we teach him the right way and he’s got to make that decision on his own.
You played your whole career with the New York Yankees, did you ever tell him that he should try to because there’s great benefits in that?
Again, I’m not one to tell him what to do and what not to do. So he will make the decision based on whatever he’s going to feel comfortable and feel happy with. I know that I made my decision and my decision was the New York Yankees. So I don’t know what decision he’s going to make. Whatever decision he makes he’s going to be happy for him, not for anybody else.
You saw Boston go from last to first and win it all. Do you think the Yankees can do the same thing next year?
Of course. We all can do it. It’s desire. You saw that with the Red Sox. You saw players playing at a higher level. No one thought they would contend for a championship and they did. So I mean, it’s heart, dedication, and determination. We definitely have it. We just have to have that. We played so hard this year. We didn’t have the team to be there. Everybody was hurt. But we were there almost until the end. Unfortunately we weren’t able to go further but at the same time we showed that it could be done.