If there's any Yankee I might actually be able to tolerate, it's Mariano Rivera. I'll admit part of the appeal is that he's helped the Yankees lose in three significant instances in recent memory, twice to us, but there's something else about him that appeals to me. He seems...small and quiet.
Tonight, with Vladimir Guerrerro at bat with two outs in the ninth, the strangest thing happened to Mariano Rivera's face. Where other pitchers might be dropping one in their drawers facing Guerrerro (and who can blame them), he seemed to relax immediately on seeing him step into the box.
"He's got him," I said to Steve, shaking my head as Vladdy fouled off tough pitches. "You can see in his face. He's got him."
You could. As soon as he saw Guerrerro, his face...he could see the finish line. He looked like he was looking right through Guerrerro toward...I'm not sure. But he looked like he was watching something nobody else could see.
If I were a bigger person, a better fan, maybe, ooh, that old bugaboo "classy"--I'd admit that the Yankees' victory over the Angels tonight was a beautiful game, tight as a drum, a lovely exhibition.
I'm not. But I'll say this: watching Mariano Rivera tonight, I can't say I know how we beat him.