Clemens regrets seeing Rivera call it a career

September 27, 2013

The bullpen doors slowly open at Yankee Stadium, and No. 42 comes out with that cool jog, glove in his right hand headed toward me.

As he gets to the mound, I put what will be my 300th-win game ball in his hand.

As I leave the mound in front of 50,000 fans, I know that there aren't too many "for sure" things in this world, but having Mariano Rivera take over for you for the last three outs of a major league game is as close as you are ever going to get.

After 19 years, including this incredible season in which he returned from last year's devastating knee injury, Rivera has said he will retire.

I'll say it just like everyone else is saying: "Please don't go, Mo."

Is it possible to have one of your best seasons ever after having a devastating knee injury?

Is it possible to get Comeback Player of the Year and then retire?

Is it possible to be in the top five in the MVP and Cy Young Award voting and retire?

As I write down "YES" to all of the above, in my mind I can hear "Enter Sandman."

In 19 seasons, he saved games with really only one pitch, "the cutter."

Basically what a pure pitcher would call a "true slider." Mo threw his cutter between 90 and 95 mph a few years back. His velocity now with the cutter sits between 88-91.

The other three weapons he features are a two-seam fastball (every now and then), location (still fantastic) and, most importantly, his savvy.

What I mean by savvy is that he is a power pitcher even as a reliever. (Not a power thrower.)

There is no doubt in my mind after playing a number of years with Mariano that he recorded more than 500 of his 652 saves on his great stuff alone.

The reason he is the all-time saves leader in Major League Baseball history is because of his heart and will - along with how he worked religiously day after day to be prepared for the next save.

Mo, congratulations on a fantastic career, and thank you from all of us starters whose wins you saved.
And one last thing, Mo. When you're sitting at home next May and the Yankees are in need of a closer, remember … anybody can retire once!