By Sweeny Murti
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Since it doesn’t seem like we will be able to get enough of Mariano Rivera this year, here’s a little more.
I wrote here earlier about how one of my favorite memories of Rivera was watching him hold court with all the younger Spanish-speaking players. On most mornings in spring training, they could be found circling his locker like kindergartners, sitting on the ground while Rivera sat in his chair, looking as if he was leading Mr. Rivera’s Story Hour.
When I think of Mo’s leadership, this is the image that strikes me. His presence is so great that the younger players are literally at his feet trying to soak up all the knowledge they can. And it’s not just with the Spanish-speaking players, although they do seem to look up to him in a different way than others. I’ve been told by everyone from Randy Choate to David Robertson what a great teacher Rivera is in the bullpen, talking about everything from mental preparation to game plan to execution.
The topic came up again on Tuesday morning as Rivera spoke to reporters about mentoring Ivan Nova through his struggles last year. When Rivera was asked who did things like that for him when he first came up, the answer was a bit surprising: Steve Howe.