Mariano Rivera: ‘Proud Of A-Rod’
On Sunday afternoon, the New York Yankees celebrated the illustrious career of the greatest closer of all-time; Mariano Rivera. The team retired his number 42 and gave him a plaque in Monument Park, thus solidifying his status as one of the game's greats.
Rivera's last World Series win occurred in 2009 as Rivera fielded a Shane Victorino ground ball and tossed the ball over to Mark Teixeira at first base to claim the franchise's 27th championship.
Winning his first championship as a member of that team was Alex Rodriguez.
Rivera played 10 seasons with Rodriguez. We've heard from numerous teammate's of Rodriguez' since the team announced they would be releasing him this past Friday. The overwhelming response from those players is that they loved playing with Rodriguez.
Rivera was no different.
"For me, it was a great time that I had with him when we played together," Rivera said. "When I played with him, I didn’t see anyone who loved the game the way he did."
Rivera was Rodriguez' teammate while the third-baseman went through a number issues as a member of the Yankees. Mainly involving his use of steroids throughout his career.
"Only Alex and the Yankees know what happened, or know why they did it," he said. "One thing I can tell you is, I was proud of him. He was here through tough times, through good times, adversity, he was there. He never hid. That was the beauty of him. But at the same time it was time to go. He said it was time to go, and I don’t second-guess him."
By releasing Rodriguez, the Yankees were able to bring up rookies Tyler Austin and Aaron Judge; both of which homered on Saturday in their debut, thus giving the team hope in that these young stars can do what Rivera and the 'core four' did.
"The Yankees are doing what they need to do to get back in competition," he said. "I don’t say they don’t have a team to still compete, because they do. They’re doing it with the youngsters that they have now and they’re doing it with the veterans. This is a great combination. These youngsters have to take advantage of the opportunity they have now. They can still show a lot of good things this season. But I think they’re doing the right thing and going the right way."