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Old 08-22-2014, 02:20 PM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
37,237 posts, read 17,549,526 times
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I got "The Closer" by Mariano Rivera from the library yesterday and I'm about half way through.

The good is that Rivera chose an excellent co-author, Wayne Cofffey, who does a wonderful job of translating Rivera's simply expressed thoughts into an admirably readable form. It keeps the writing from becoming embarrassing.

The bad is that Rivera is a relentless god squader. The book is dedicated to "My Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ" and Rivera marches out all of the typical Christian cliches, attributing everything good that has happened to him to some special divine interventions without putting any thought into who might be responsible for the bad. For example, as a kid he was in a dangerous situation when the family fishing boat sunk out from under Mariano and his father. They managed to make it to shore and Rivera of course claims that it was due to the Lord's guiding him. It does not seem to dawn on him that this same Lord failed to prevent the sinking of the boat in the first place.

The part of the book which really caught my attention because I had been previously unaware of this, was Rivera's description of getting called back up to the majors in 1995 after his first stretch with the team had proven to be a failure.

Now, here is the hard to believe thing. In the minors, and in his first call up to the big leagues, Rivera always exhibited extraordinary control, but his fastball topped out at 88-90 mph on all radar guns at all levels. Rivera then goes back down to Charlotte, has a stint on the DL with a sore shoulder, and when he returns he is suddenly throwing 95-96 mph, a speed he had never reached before.

How did this happen? It was The Lord according to Mariano.
"There is only one answer" he writes, "It is a gift from the Lord. I have known for a long time that He is using me for His own purposes, that He wants my pitching to help spread the good news about the gospel of Jesus." (pg. 73)

Well, you can elect to believe that...but of course there is the less miraculous possibility that perhaps Jesus directed Mariano to a special agent of the Lord who provided him with some PEDs.

Later in the book Rivera addresses the topic of PEDs use and is very righteous about it, explaining that the worst thing about them is that if you get caught, you go from being a hero in the eyes of your family and friends to being disgraced cheat. Mariano wouldn't let down The Lord that way, so that is why we are supposed to be confident that he never used.

I do not have any difficulty believing that a man who concludes that Jesus made him a super closer as a means of spreading the gospel, could deceive himself about the morality of cheating.

The other evidence, such as it is, would be that Rivera also manged to avoid the normal decline that comes with aging. He was as good as ever right up to the end. No doubt also the work of Jesus.

If all the god stuff was removed, it wouldn't be a bad book, Rivera's rise from Panamanian poverty to fame is an interesting story. The downside is that he has moved from me never suspecting him in any manner, to being highly suspicious about his honesty.

Last edited by Grandstander; 08-22-2014 at 02:39 PM..
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Old 08-22-2014, 02:51 PM
 
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Some athletes are blessed with excellent longevity. Cal Ripken, Kareem-Abdul Jabbar, Steve Nash, Karl Malone, John Stockton, Michael Jordan, Peyton Manning. Temporarily excluding Manning, all were still performing at an elite level at 40 with the exception of Nash. Luck plays a role too. None of these guys had any injuries that slowed them down.

Mariano's case isn't the same as McGwire, Bonds, or Sosa. Mariano was consistent from start to finish. The other three had a sudden career revival in their mid 30s(early 30s for Sosa). You don't hit your prime at 35 years old. McGwire's career was almost over because he couldn't stay healthy, and all of a sudden he's hitting 55-60 home runs. Bonds was a steady mid-high 30s home run guy. Then he breaks McGwire's record and he's consistently hitting 45 in his late 30s. Sosa never hit more than 40 home runs at any point up to age 29, then goes off for over 60 in three of the next four seasons. That's outrageous.

That's what separates Mariano from the others. He always dominated, start to finish. He didn't have a sudden career revival at 35.
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Old 08-22-2014, 03:14 PM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
37,237 posts, read 17,549,526 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dig In View Post
Some athletes are blessed with excellent longevity. Cal Ripken, Kareem-Abdul Jabbar, Steve Nash, Karl Malone, John Stockton, Michael Jordan, Peyton Manning. Temporarily excluding Manning, all were still performing at an elite level at 40 with the exception of Nash. Luck plays a role too. None of these guys had any injuries that slowed them down.

Mariano's case isn't the same as McGwire, Bonds, or Sosa. Mariano was consistent from start to finish. The other three had a sudden career revival in their mid 30s(early 30s for Sosa). You don't hit your prime at 35 years old. McGwire's career was almost over because he couldn't stay healthy, and all of a sudden he's hitting 55-60 home runs. Bonds was a steady mid-high 30s home run guy. Then he breaks McGwire's record and he's consistently hitting 45 in his late 30s. Sosa never hit more than 40 home runs at any point up to age 29, then goes off for over 60 in three of the next four seasons. That's outrageous.

That's what separates Mariano from the others. He always dominated, start to finish. He didn't have a sudden career revival at 35.
Okay, but all your above argument actually establishes would be related to when players began their PEDs use. As noted, if Rivera's sudden jump of an added 5 mph on his fastball was PEDs fueled, it came in his rookie season. If he was a steady user throughout his career, then there would be no reason to expect the sorts of performance spikes you mention for the others, who began their use mid career.

Do you have some explanation as to how Rivera suddenly added 5 mph to his fastball in the space of a few months? I mean one other than PEDs or the Lord.
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Old 08-22-2014, 03:18 PM
 
346 posts, read 276,411 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grandstander View Post
Okay, but all your above argument actually establishes would be related to when players began their PEDs use. As noted, if Rivera's sudden jump of an added 5 mph on his fastball was PEDs fueled, it came in his rookie season. If he was a steady user throughout his career, then there would be no reason to expect the sorts of performance spikes you mention for the others, who began their use mid career.

Do you have some explanation as to how Rivera suddenly added 5 mph to his fastball in the space of a few months? I mean one other than PEDs or the Lord.

I don't know what it is you're trying to prove with this thread. Improved mechanics can easily increase your velocity when you're young and in your physical prime.
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Old 08-22-2014, 03:21 PM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
37,237 posts, read 17,549,526 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dig In View Post
I don't know what it is you're trying to prove with this thread. Improved mechanics can easily increase your velocity when you're young and in your physical prime.
Can you cite some examples? Can you identify any pitcher who increased his velocity in this manner so suddenly?

There is no such thing as a player who should be viewed as above suspicion. I would think that we have had a rather strong lesson in the value of denials and posturing from those who have been caught.
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Old 08-22-2014, 03:28 PM
 
346 posts, read 276,411 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grandstander View Post
Can you cite some examples? Can you identify any pitcher who increased his velocity in this manner so suddenly?

There is no such thing as a player who should be viewed as above suspicion. I would think that we have had a rather strong lesson in the value of denials and posturing from those who have been caught.

I don't need to cite examples. There is no proof that Mariano cheated. He has never been linked to PEDs and nothing suggests he did anything illegal.
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Old 08-22-2014, 03:31 PM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
37,237 posts, read 17,549,526 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dig In View Post
I don't need to cite examples. .
You do if you wish me to give any credence to your previous post where you assert
Quote:
Improved mechanics can easily increase your velocity when you're young and in your physical prime.
You state this, and then fail to establish it with examples. You give us no reason to believe that you know this for a fact.

I do not think it is true, I do not think anyone adds an extra 5 mph to their fastball via improved mechanics. Cite someone who has.

Besides, in the case before us Rivera makes no claims of altering his mechanics, he claims that it was a divine gift.
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Old 08-22-2014, 03:55 PM
 
346 posts, read 276,411 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grandstander View Post
You do if you wish me to give any credence to your previous post where you assert

I don't need your approval.


Quote:
You state this, and then fail to establish it with examples. You give us no
reason to believe that you know this for a fact.


I do not think it is true, I do not think anyone adds an extra 5 mph to their
fastball via improved mechanics. Cite someone who has.


Besides, in the case before us Rivera makes no claims of altering his
mechanics, he claims that it was a divine gift.

And you give us no reason to think anything you say has any merit. And again, I am not required to cite any examples. You can choose to believe it or not, and I'm not losing any sleep over it regardless. All you're doing is indirectly accusing Rivera of being a cheater.
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Old 08-22-2014, 05:59 PM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
37,237 posts, read 17,549,526 times
Reputation: 16968
Dig In
Quote:
I don't need your approval.
You do need evidence if you wish your assertions to be seen as grounded in truth. My assumption arising from your refusal to provide a single example as requested, is that you are not aware of any such examples. "I have proof but I don't have to show it to you"="I do not have any proof."




Quote:
And you give us no reason to think anything you say has any merit. And again, I am not required to cite any examples. You can choose to believe it or not, and I'm not losing any sleep over it regardless. All you're doing is indirectly accusing Rivera of being a cheater.
I have stated that the facts brought to my attention, facts provided straight from the horse's mouth, Rivera himself, cause me to have suspicions about Rivera and PEDs. Rivera's explanation that it was a divine intervention, strikes me as having zero probability. That leaves alternative explanations. PEDs is one possible explanation and of course the year in question, 1995, was smack in the PEDs popularity era.

I asked if you had an explanation other than PEDs or god, and you claimed that it was possible via improved mechanics, but you apparently are unable to cite a single pitcher who ever actually made such an improvement. I also pointed out that Rivera did not write that he had worked on improving his mechanics, he says it just happened and he credits Jesus.


My argument isn't that we know he did PEDs, my argument is that there are reasonable grounds to suspect him.

Your argument so far has been..."I don't need to provide any argument."
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Old 08-22-2014, 11:09 PM
 
1,780 posts, read 1,107,081 times
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Its just a sad commentary on baseball's long "look the other way" policy regarding PEDs that any player from that era who either put up good to great numbers or had a long career of exellence is suspect. A case for suspicion could be made for a lot of players and the list of denyers who later turned out to be users doesn't help matters at all. As a side note I too am tired of so many athletes attributing their performance to "god". It really makes no sense that "god" would pass out favors so willy nilly.
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