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Taking a Paige from Rivera's book
Taking a Paige from Rivera's book
More than a half-century ago, Satchel Paige offered his "Rules for Staying Young" in an article in Collier's magazine. Mariano Rivera is 40 years old now, and as he heard those rules recited in the Yankees' clubhouse Friday, he laughed at Paige's unique list, and at Paige's wit.
Ol' Satch's Rules for Staying Young
Avoid fried meats which angry up the blood.
If your stomach disputes you, lie down and pacify it with cool thoughts.
Keep the juices flowing by jangling around gently as you move.
Go very light on the vices, such as carrying on in society -- the social ramble ain't restful.
Avoid running at all times.
And don't look back -- something might be gaining on you.
Rivera liked the list, and when asked, the reliever -- who has always been regimented in his preparation, from his early days as a professional -- offered up his own.
So here they are:
Ol' Mo's Rules for Staying Young
You have to get your rest. You have to get your eight hours of sleep. (Rivera says he tries to make sure he is asleep within two hours after a game.)
No alcohol, or light alcohol at most. (Rivera said he used to drink just a little when he was younger but now doesn't drink at all.)
Run all the time. (Editor's note: Sorry, Satch, but Ol' Mo disagrees with you here). Rivera does 10-12 sprints from line to line every day, along the outfield wall, and then shags fly balls aggressively before games. Power shagging. When Rivera was younger, some advance scouts who watched him run around center field during batting practice were convinced he was one of the best center fielders in the AL.
He avoids fried foods. "I know what Satch is saying there," he said. "I just don't feel good when I eat that stuff."
Stretch every day.
Respect others the way you want to be respected, and respect the game. And if you do that, everything will pretty much take care of itself.
Make time for others (He loves it when young players come up and ask for advice …).
He tries to pray every day. "I have a connection with the Big Man," said Rivera, and he wasn't talking about George Steinbrenner. Rivera does his praying in the morning most of the time, but he finds he has that conversation throughout the day.
He is the greatest reliever in baseball history, with the second-most saves in history, and there is some silver working its way into his hair. Ten years ago, he said, no young players really asked him any questions, but now, he said with a laugh, it's like they gather in a circle around him like kids.
You can't blame them; who wouldn't want to hear the Lord of the Bullpen, the Dalai Lama of the cut fastball, speak about pitching, about being a teammate, about living? "At the beginning, the [young players] won't approach me," Rivera said. "But once they know me, my personality -- once they approach me, they come to me with confidence. I want them to be able to come to me with any question. I love it. I don't like that -- I love it. That's how you can teach.
"If the teacher doesn't have the confidence of the students, how are you going to teach them?"
Rivera isn't sure how much longer he will play -- "I'll go year to year," he said -- but he knows this: He is having a great time. "I've got to stay healthy," he said. "But I love it. The minute that I don't love it, I will be gone."
As Rivera talked Friday morning, Yogi Berra poked his head into the Yankees' clubhouse. I mentioned to Rivera that I could envision him hanging around the team after he retires in the way Berra does, talking with the players, representing the team at some events. Rivera, who thinks he will continue living in New York after retiring, totally agreed with that premise, and that he will remain an active member of the organization after his playing days end.
He feels that when he retires, after drawing an extraordinary experience from baseball, he will be indebted to the sport, and he owes it to baseball to continue helping others in the sport. "I totally believe in that," he said. "It's not fair that you would get all this, as I have, and you don't give back. You have to give back."
MLB -- Buster Olney -- Mariano Rivera has no plans to fade away with the New York Yankees - ESPN
May the odds be ever in your favor.
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