All those stories about how the Yankees are about to go down in flames because of the injuries that have left their lineup looking like something out of a split-squad game are probably going to have to go on hold for a little bit.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post is reporting that Mariano Rivera is set to announce that 2013 will be his final season at a press conference Saturday morning, shortly before he makes his first game appearance of spring training. There's still a chance that Rivera can change his mind before Saturday, but he's reportedly already spoken to Hal and Hank Steinbrenner about his intentions.
There's no particular surprise here. Rivera was set to make last season his last one until the torn ACL suffered while shagging flies in Kansas City forced a change of plans.
Rivera's career accomplishments are well-known, but word of the potential beginning of the end led us to another look at them. Rivera has 608 saves (most in baseball history) over the last 18 seasons, numbers that don't tell the story of his career nearly as well as his 42 postseason saves and 0.70 postseason ERA.
You can expect to hear those numbers bandied about often in tributes to Rivera over the course of the season, from both Yankees and rivals alike. Unless he gets hurt again, it's a safe bet that he'll be at the All-Star Game where he can take one last bow on that stage in front of fans crowded into Citi Field.
Such is the stuff of tabloid dreams -- as is any way to spin Rivera's pending retirement into a motivational force for a Yankee team that could use a break from the dark clouds right now.
The injuries to Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson have sucked the power out of a lineup that was already short on offensive might and the lingering uncertainty over Derek Jeter's status isn't doing much for confidence.
The narrative was one of an old team breaking down before the grind of the season even got underway. Now it can shift to one of a team trying to keep the sun from setting on a glorious era a little bit longer by allowing Rivera to go out a winner.
There's a fair chance that the answer lies somewhere in the middle, but the nostalgic option is a more enjoyable one to consider.