It has been foretold:
In the eleventh month of this year, the One known as Mariano Rivera shall close out the World Series in Philadelphia, setting the Phillies down one-two-three in the bottom of the ninth after snuffing out a Phillies’ rally in the bottom of the eighth and hitting a three-run homer in the top of the ninth.
Following the victory parade, he takes a few weeks to evaluate his future prospects before finally announcing his retirement on December 20, 2012.
Why that particular day? Well, as you might have heard, December 20 is the final day of the 13th b’ak’tun in the Mayan Long Count Calendar – the day many believe to be the end of the world.
Without the stabilizing force of Mo, the world flies off its axis. The universe collapses into a black hole. The dead rise from the grave; the Orioles rise to the top of the AL East. Rick Santorum’s sweater-vest spontaneously combusts. It is, to quote the prophet Bill Murray: “Dogs and cats, living together…mass hysteria!”
Suffice to say, I am a qualified expert in Mayan cosmology, having seen a Mayan documentary narrated by Sam Waterston, better known as the greatest district attorney in the history of Law and Order. Some so-called “experts” have said that Mariano Rivera is simply a man, not the reincarnation of the Mayan feathered serpent god Q’uq’umatz. But I ask you: how could he not be the reincarnation of the Mayan feathered serpent god Q’uq’umatz? He was born in Panama, not terribly far from the southern edge of Mayan civilization. Is it so unbelievable that a Mayan god fled the Spanish conquest of Mesoamerica, bided his time in Panama for a couple of centuries, only to resurface in the early 90’s to sign a international free agent contract with the Yankees? Of course it isn’t!
He is already more myth than man – Mariano the Law-Giver, the one who brings order to the chaos of the ninth. As I’ve watched him throughout his career – the slim, gaunt figure alone on the mound among a sea of screaming fans, facing the muscle-bound lineups of the Steroid Era armed with only a cutter and a preternatural sense of calm – the only figure I’ve been able to compare him to is Clint Eastwood’s Man With No Name, mechanically gunning down bandits in a Spaghetti Western. At the end of this season Mariano will ride off into the sunset with his fistful of rings – roll credits, cue the apocalypse.
Are these the lunatic ramblings of a Yankees fan spoiled by nearly two decades of watching MarianoRivera? Perhaps. Will the world keep turning, and the Yankees keep playing baseball in 2013? Almost certainly. But let me ask me this, fellow Yankees fans: if given the choice between witnessing the End of Days and watching Joe Girardi hand the ball off to Rafael Soriano in the ninth, which scenario would you find more terrifying?