Mo' better: Vote for Rivera for top closer
Yanks' consistent closer up for DHL Delivery Man of the Year
NEW YORK -- In this season of sendoffs of Yankee Stadium, it figured that Mariano Rivera would receive many of the tributes and accolades.
Not only was Rivera tabbed to pitch the ninth inning for Sunday's finale by Joe Girardi, in one of the Yankees manager's easiest decisions to date, but the July 15 All-Star Game also became something of an acknowledgement of Rivera's terrific run of success as the club's closer.
"His consistency throughout the years is second to none," Derek Jeter said. "He deserves everything he gets. A lot of times, I think he goes unnoticed in terms of the attention because people take him for granted, but we definitely don't take him for granted. I'm happy that I've been here to see all of it."
The 38-year-old closer may have one more honor waiting around the bend. Rivera has been named as one of 10 candidates for the DHL Delivery Man of the Year award, to be voted on by the readers at MLB.com.
It is familiar territory for Rivera, who has won the DHL Delivery Man of the Year award twice before, bringing home honors in the first two seasons of the award's inception.
Everyone who votes will be entered into a sweepstakes for the chance to win a two-day, one-night trip for two to Game 4 of this year's World Series. The prize will include round-trip airfare, if needed, to the National League city of the Fall Classic, as well as accommodations and two tickets to the game.
To create the ballot, the editorial staff at MLB.com compiled a list of 15 relievers who have had outstanding regular seasons. The 10 finalists then were chosen from the list by a special Major League Baseball yellow-ribbon panel.
Rivera has reached the 30-save plateau for the sixth consecutive season and the 11th time in the last 12 years, falling short only in 2002. Rivera was at his best in save situations this year, converting 38 of 39 opportunities through Tuesday.
He posted a miniscule 0.64 ERA in those save opportunities, allowing just three runs in 42 innings (20 hits, three walks, 47 strikeouts, one home run). His biggest troubles came in tied games -- entering 15 such situations, Rivera was just 6-5 with a 3.44 ERA, allowing the go-ahead run to score eight times.
On Sept. 15, Rivera moved into second place all-time on the Major League saves list this season when he surpassed Lee Smith's mark of 478 -- only the Padres' Trevor Hoffman has more.
Girardi lauded Rivera's achievement, saying, "There's not a lot of guys that are up in this territory. It just tells you how great he's been, and it takes a long time to get 479 saves, and most closers don't have that shelf life.
"Mo's so consistent in what he does. A lot of times, people don't talk about Mo as an athlete when Mo's a great athlete, and that's why he's able to do what he does."
But in his typical understated fashion, Rivera would much rather trade records and awards for Yankees victories.
"With due respect to the game, it's OK to me, but to me, that isn't what it's about -- it's about winning," Rivera said. "I'm a team player, and I'm not really thinking about myself, and that's the way it's going to be."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.