TAMPA, Fla. — With the announcement that this upcoming season will be his last, New York Yankee relief pitcher Mariano Rivera has triggered a fierce hyperbole competition amongst the national sports media as they struggle to one up each other in praise of the legendary right-hander.
The race was on within moments of Rivera’s official announcement, when the YES Network’s Michael Kay tweeted that Rivera, who often plays for one inning in less than half of his team’s games, is “perhaps the greatest athlete of our lifetime – including Michael Jordan – and maybe ever.”
Not to be outdone, Stephen A. Smith of ESPN posited that Rivera’s most infamous failure, in Game 7 of the 2001 World Series prevented an international terrorist attack. “It’s all pretty simple – if they Yankees win that game, they all get rings. Big flashy ones too, because the Yanks gotta have the best. So then you got [Yankee middle reliever Brian] Boehringer sporting this awesome bling. Turns out, few months later he was on the plane with the Shoe Bomber who some of the other passengers were able to subdue before he set off his bomb. If Rivera saves that game, Boehringer is wearing the ring on that plane. Everyone gets distracted by it, and the bomb goes off. Killing hundreds of people. So you see, even when he loses, Rivera is doing the work of the Almighty.”
“Truly, he has earned his place with Andy Petite, Jorge Posada, and Derek Jeter amongst the venerated Core Four” he added.
Upon hearing the term ‘Core Four’, former Yankee outfielder Bernie Williams put his fist through a wall.
Veteran sportscaster Bob Costas took his colleagues to task over the recent deluge of exaggeration. “I know this is a big story, but people need to calm down,” said the veteran broadcaster. “It’s not like the time Mickey Mantle brought that little boy back from the dead.”
Costas did say, however, that the Rivera situation would be a good warm-up for when Derek Jeter announces the date of his Rapture.