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Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Mariano Sr. on Mo; 602 by the numbers


Mariano Rivera Sr. sat in the 200 section of Yankee Stadium on Monday afternoon and watched his son make history.

Also on hand to watch the younger Mariano Rivera were his mother Delia, wife Clara, and sons, Mariano, 17; Jafet, 14: and Jaziel, 8. Rivera Sr. wore his son's 1996 World Series ring to commemorate the occasion.

"I never thought in my mind that my son is going to accomplish that because ... the closer never lasts so much time," Rivera Sr. said through a translator.

He later added: "One of the best memories I have is the five World Series. And this right now is the second one, the 602."

MO RELUCTANT TO TAKE IN CHEERS: Rivera had to be nudged by Jorge Posada and Alex Rodriguez to stay on the mound after the game and soak in cheers from the crowd.

Why?

"I'm not like that," Rivera said. "I'm a team player. And when things come like that ... I mean that's not me. I like to be under the radar and do my job. Definitely, I was getting uncomfortable."

Rivera said cryptically after the game that he was going to a celebration, but it wasn't in honor of his saves mark. Turns out the team went to NYY Steakhouse at Yankee Stadium to fete longtime trainer Gene Monahan, who is retiring after the season.

WHY NO FIST PUMP, MO? Rivera was asked after saving No. 602 why he never celebrating strikeouts or saves with a fist pump, like some closers. Or sport supposedly intimidating facial hair, like others.

His answer?

"I cannot fool any hitters there. I have no muscles, I have no beard. No hair, you know. So what can I do?" Rivera said to laughs in the interview room. "I just trust my God first and then I trust myself. I know that the tools that the Good Lord has given me, they are good enough to accomplish what I have accomplished. So I believe in them. Once I am there, I'm giving everything that I have and thank God it has been working."

MO BY THE NUMBERS: The Yankees have gone 633-41 in all games in which Rivera has had a save chance.... Rivera has 43 saves this season, ten more than last year. That's his biggest year-to-year increase since Rivera's jump between 2003 (40) and 2004 (53) .... Rivera has saved 15 of the Yanks' last 24 wins.... He's converted all 22 save opportunities at home, allowing just three earned runs in 21.1 innings pitched in the Bronx.