Mariano Rivera at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Yankees In Panama A Dream Come True For 42


Mariano Rivera is a man. He is a father, a husband and a man of God. He also played baseball. Mariano Rivera is a man that has excelled at everything he has ever done. So what brings happiness to Mariano Rivera? The answer is simple. Seeing other people be happy. A man like Rivera, a man that has achieved more than most people can fathom, enjoys seeing other people enjoy what many people might look at as “one of the small things”. To Rivera, the professional athlete that defines humility, there are no “small things.”

There is no reason to get into what Mariano Rivera has accomplished on the baseball diamond. Today I am writing about the man, not the accolades. A few years ago, I had the pleasure – and I am not throwing that word around lightly-, to meet the former Yankees closer. I was a server in an extremely busy corporate restaurant and Mo came in with his children. To say the children were beyond well-behaved and polite would be the understatement of the century. I was not surprised in the least. After all, they are Mariano’s kids. That alone speaks volumes of the man that Mariano Rivera is.

The New York Yankees will be playing two games in Rivera’s home country of Panama this weekend. This is something that means as much to Rivera as anything he has accomplished before. “This is the icing on top of the cake, a cherry on top of the cake,” said Rivera. But how can an exhibition baseball game, a year after he retired be that important? Mariano put it in perspective as only he can. “This was a dream of mine, to have my team come here and play,”I wanted my people to have the opportunity to enjoy the game of baseball at the highest level.’’ When asked about when he first dreamed about his team playing in his country, Rivera did not shy away, saying “I had it the same time I was established in the big leagues, 1998’.”

The Yankee great seems very comfortable with his retirement, mentioning his son, Jaziel wants him to coach his baseball team. He also said “It’s official because now is the first spring training since 1990 that I won’t be on the field,’’ Rivera said. “It feels different, but the beauty of that is I have been busy with the church, community and family.’’ Again, the humility.

Mariano Rivera is a legend. He is a hero and a role model. Success and fame in baseball made people recognize him. What he did with that success and fame is what makes Mariano Rivera the man he is. It’s what makes him the father, husband and man of God, that he is.

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