The Mariano Rivera Farewell Tour makes a particularly notable stop tonight. When the Yankees host the Diamondbacks, it will be the last time Rivera won’t have the number 42 all to himself on the field. For Rivera’s teammates, Jackie Robinson Day (celebrated a day late because the Yankees were off yesterday) means sharing their closer’s digits — and saluting Robinson’s legacy, of course — for a few hours. They still have a few more months to soak up Rivera’s wisdom and aura, and no one can benefit more than the retiring legend’s neighbors in the bullpen. “It is a little different this year,” David Robertson said Sunday. “I’m trying to watch whatever he does, see if he does anything different. Try to pay attention to what he’s throwing in games, facing hitters, because I might face that same hitter later in the series. “I don’t think I’ll ever not see the guy again at the end of the season, but it is different knowing he won’t be here.” Joba Chamberlain said, “You can’t treat it any different, just because, if you didn’t take advantage of him being around in the first six years of my career, I mean, I’m an idiot.” Rivera has been an unofficial bullpen coach for at least a decade, an unofficial co-captain to Derek Jeter since the moment George Steinbrenner gave Jeter the title in 2003. He has served as a motivator, a peacemaker, a tactician and much more. Chamberlain and Robertson have been Rivera’s bullpen mates for parts of seven and six seasons, respectively, putting them in the company of guys like Ramiro Mendoza (eight years), Mike Stanton (seven) and Jeff Nelson (six) as those who have been at Rivera’s side for an extended period. Mendoza, a fellow Panamanian, was Rivera’s contemporary, while Stanton and Nelson held a few years in age and service time over Rivera as he settled into the closer’s role. The two current Yankees right-handers are more truly Rivera protégés than their preceding bullpen occupants.
Last of the 42s, Mo’s consistency a model to his pen proteges
New York Post | Apr 16