Last night, with two outs, nobody on base, and two strikes against the Red Sox, with a one-run lead, Rivera gave up a single and then, after a pinch-runner stole second and moved on to third on a throwing error, Mo gave up another single to allow Boston to tie the game.
It comes on the heels of other blown saves this season, including one against Detroit when he surrendered two homeruns in one inning.
But there is still no other reliever I would rather see on the mound to close out a game than the great Mariano. He is a top 10 all-time pitcher and the very best reliever ever to toe the rubber. What he has accomplished in the post-season is mind-boggling.
His stuff is still outstanding. In fact, when he gives up hits, they typically are like the game-tying single he gave up last night--off a broken bat. At 44, with 40 saves, he is every bit as good as he was ten years ago. Of course, at this age, the reflexes typically don't respond as quickly as they do a younger man, a dangerous fact of life when you are just 60 feet, 6 inches away from some very powerful hitters swinging from the heels. But Rivera doesn't have the reflexes of a 44 year old man, either. He still fields his position like a cat. This is why he need not retire at this point.
As for all the gifts and acknowledgments he has received from every city the Yankees have visited this year, no problem. Michael Jordan retired not once, but twice. Magic Johnson also returned after a brief retirement.
Rivera simply wouldn't be acknowledged in the same manner he was this year again next season. It's sort of like keeping wedding presents after getting divorced a week after the ceremony--you can't give them back.
I am all for going out on top. Jim Brown did it. So did Barry Sanders. But those were football players who put a value on being able to walk and think normally post-retirement. Rivera is a baseball player. And as long as he has those great reflexes of his, he should play as long as he is still the most reliable reliever in the history of the game.