Yesterday, in Kansas City, the greatest baseball reliever of all time — Mariano Rivera — ended his season, and likely his career, by blowing out his knee trying to shag a routine fly ball during batting practice.  His ACL is torn and his meniscus is damaged.

At 42 — and threatening this year to finally call it quits at the age that matches his soon-to-be-forever-retired uniform number — it is hard to imagine Mariano making a future final pitching appearance in a Yankees uniform simply because the ravages of tides and the inequities of time only weakens us every year.  None of us meeting middle age ever get any stronger, or more durable, as we begin that slow and lonesome decline down the hill in our return to the grave.

If this is really it, and that sickening fall at the Kansas City warning track is the final image of Rivera in uniform, take a close look at the words on the billboard he tumbles into. It is a Budweiser ad, but for some reason the tagline says, “Walk Off a Hero.”

Rivera could not walk off the field in Kansas City. But as a baseball hero, he will always walk tall. He does not need to come back to prove it.

Mariano did not leave the game as any of us hoped.  We wanted to watch him walking off the pitcher’s mound and into the mist with fist raised in final victory.  We yearned for that unifying, final, moment of triumph to put a proper end to a magnificent career.

If this is the end for Mariano Rivera — and we are left with a closing image of a great man on the ground, golden hands clutching for help to assuage the pain of the reality that it all ends there writhing in the dirt instead of walking away from it — then we owe Mariano a moment of thanks in reminding us that no man ever walks above the earth out returning to it in dust and ashes.

Posted by David Boles

David Boles was born in Nebraska and his MFA is from Columbia University in the City of New York. He is an Author, Lyricist, Playwright, Publisher, Editor, Actor, Designer, Director, Poet, Producer, and Boodle Boy for print, radio, television, film, the web and the live stage. With more than 50 books in print, David continues to write 2MM words a year. He has authored over 25K articles and published more. Read the Prairie Voice Archive at | Buy his books at David Boles Books Writing & Publishing | Earn the world with David Boles University | Get a script doctored at Script Professor | Touch American Sign Language mastery at Hardcore ASL.


  1. Everyone wants to leave in a blaze of glory, I suppose. He accomplished more in his time playing baseball than many do in a lifetime!



    1. Mariano definitely was a living legend — playing live before our eyes. The Yankees will be lost without him.



Share Your Thoughts:

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s