Rivera certainly looks as if he could do this until he is collecting Social Security -- he had 44 saves and a 2.15 ERA through Wednesday during his age-43 season -- but there were previously unseen dents in the armor this year. He blew a save without recording an out against the Mets on May 28 and suffered a career-high three consecutive blown saves from Aug. 7-11.
"I think everybody is limited," Rivera said after winning the MVP at the All-Star Game. "It's getting short (for me), too. I don't have anything left. I have no reason to say, you know, I should do this another year."
His absence will be felt next year and thereafter, by both the pitchers and the team he defined.
"When they talk about the greatest ever, he's going to be in every conversation," said San Francisco Giants pitching coach and former Yankees closer Dave Righetti. "What he's meant to this town and what he's meant to his teammates and all the Yankees fans -- he's just been a calming influence, sort of a pillar of strength for that organization since he started doing that job. So when he's gone, it'll be noticed."