New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera did not envision the end of his career hauled off on a stretcher at Kauffman Stadium Kansas City. It would be a closing completely unworthy of the greatest relief pitcher in baseball history.
The road back from rehabilitation will be arduous if Rivera is to toe the rubber again and resume his dominance in the American League. It would be understandable if the 42-year-old Rivera chose not to put his body and mind through the rigors of training. Maybe he is more justified in filling out the paperwork for his pension plan.
Few other champions who have dealt with age and injury have had the ability and desire to reinvent themselves merely to keep the sun from setting prematurely on their careers.
But this is Mariano Rivera, a special athlete whose unique talents defy conventional tactics or prognostications. The following slides are a depiction of why Rivera is a great bet to make his triumphant return in 2013.