Mariano Rivera said he will not take in Opening Day any longer than normal. He won’t be scooping up some dirt or making extra sure he gets the ball for the final out.
"Basically, the same," Rivera said the other day. "Nothing different."
But Monday has the chance to be special, for the right reasons, because of Mo. In a season that begins with lowered expectations. On a day the circus might come to the Bronx, with the media trying to talk with one Alexander Emmanuel Rodriguez. It could finish with an old familiar style and grace.
Since he arrived in 1995, Rivera has been the calming influence to sooth all ills for the Yankees. Now, at 43, he could add one more signature moment Monday.
If he enters in the ninth with the lead, it will be the first major league game he has pitched since April 30, 2012. If “Enter Sandman” blares over the Stadium loudspeakers Monday, it will be a moment that won’t ever be forgotten and then -- if Rivera does his usual act -- suddenly the horror of the spring will vanish and the hope of another Opening Day will return.