Monday, March 11, 2013

Why the Retirement of Mariano Rivera Should Make the Mets Reflect on the Error of Their Ways

Every time I turned on the radio this weekend they were talking about Mariano Rivera retiring. WFAN, ESPN, and even WCBS couldn't shut up about Rivera retiring. He still has a whole season to play, we've got college basketball going on, spring training, the WBC and we're talking about a guy who's going to retire in 6 months.

Yes, we are. Why? Because he's been the most impactful player in baseball in my lifetime.

An overstatement? Perhaps, but I think it's true. The Yankees would not have won as many championships as they have over the last 20 years without Mariano Rivera. He has been the lock down, reliable closer for nearly two decades. Sure he has blown a game or two and some of them at the most inopportune moment, but his body of work is that of miracles.

He's a first ballot hall of famer and one of the greatest baseball players of all time. This should make the Mets reflect on what they've been doing for the last decade.

The current Mets outfield is awful. Sure, they need a right-handed power bat to help out Wright and Davis. But the biggest need the Mets have had for the better part of my lifetimes is...their bullpen.

Look back at the Mets stats over the last 8 years and you'll see that their bullpen has been their biggest demise. If you Google "BLOWpen" you'll instantly get a couple hundred articles about the Mets. The '07 and '08 seasons should have been playoff runs if it were not for the atrocity of the Mets bullpen. Season after season the question of "who will be the closer?" continues to rear its ugly head including this upcoming one.

The Mets should look at what Mariano Rivera has done and realize that no matter how good a lineup they have or how solid the starting pitching can be, the bullpen can ultimately decide the fate of a team in today's day and age.

And that's the area the Mets have not explored seriously. They've made small moves here and there, but a team serious about winning has to have a reliable bullpen.

Today, baseball is a 6 inning game for starters. Those last three innings are for the bullpen to handle and we know first hand how quickly things can implode.

We will probably never see another pitcher like Rivera. He's one of a kind so I'm not suggesting the Mets need to go get another guy like Mariano because he doesn't exist. What they do need is to stop this bullpen experimentation with Frank Frank, Parnell and (insert other name here).

Bullpens can win championships. Mariano Rivera is living proof.