Yesterday, New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi announced the primary players who would be making the trip later this month to Panama for the Legends Series-a two-game exhibition set against the Miami Marlins. The series will be played at Rod Carew Stadium in Panama City and honor recently retired Yankees’ closer Mariano Rivera.
Knowing that this series means something not only to Rivera, but to many of his former teammates, it didn’t take much for Girardi to pry Derek Jeter, Brian McCann, Carlos Beltran, Brett Gardner, Alfonso Soriano, C.C. Sabathia, or David Robertson away from minimal efforts of exhibition baseball and rally them for an international homage trip for the Sandman. Many would like to see Rivera take the mound for the Yankees at least one more time during the team’s visit to Rivera’s homeland, but he has insisted that there is “no chance” of that occurring.
Sabathia has been announced as the Game 1 starter against the Marlins, followed by fifth starter candidate and most likely a member of the bullpen in Adam Warren for Game 2. Sabathia is especially excited to see Rivera again, after spending the previous five seasons as teammates:
I know guys are going to ask him if he’s going to pitch…It will be good to see him. When I heard about it, I wanted to go. I knew that he would be there and that it would be a big deal for him. Playing with him for five years, I want a chance to go over there and see how that will be for him.
The Legends Series is a rematch of the 2003 World Series, of which only Jeter remains as the lone participant, and will honor Rivera for his impact on Latin American baseball. The Marlins won the 2003 World Series in six games, the last being at Yankee Stadium II. When the series begins on March 15th, it will mark the first time Major League Baseball has officially visited Panama since 1947.