In-depth look at Mariano Rivera's final season on new Fox 'Being' documentary
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There were points during the summer when some thought Mariano Rivera might rethink his decision to retire at the end of the season.
But that never was in the cards, one of the lessons from a new, behind-the-scenes documentary about his final year in pinstripes, "Being: Mariano Rivera," which premieres Sunday on Fox.
The most revealing sequence in the film features Rivera joining the Red Sox's David Ortiz and others for lunch in mid-September during the Yankees' final trip to Boston.
Rivera spoke to the group in Spanish. The English translation, in subtitles, read like this:
"You know what? I can't wait for the moment when this is over. I'm ready for it already, brother. I'm ready for it. Mentally and physically, I'm ready for it. There's no desire anymore.
"We keep doing this for what? Is it for boastfulness, or for the love of the game, or because we don't want to do anything else?"
Rivera goes on to say he is leaving baseball in large part to commit more time to his family, but the scene is bluntly candid about the toll the season took on him, a point he makes several times during the 90-minute program.
(During a late-season trip to Baltimore, he looks back on the tiring farewell tour and the demands for his attention and declares, "I am not a robot.")
"It's two grizzled warriors before their final battle, trading notes," Michael Bloom, Fox's senior vice president for original programming, said Tuesday of Rivera's lunch with Ortiz. "It reminds me of some of those scenes in 'Gladiator,' frankly . . . It's honest."
At times, the film lapses into hagiography, an occupational hazard when it comes to chronicling Rivera's final year in baseball. But if nothing else, the filmmakers' access to him and his family during key moments makes it well worth watching.
In addition to the lunch scene, we see Rivera on an in-season fishing trip with friends and family, including Andy Pettitte, who catches a big fish but misses a big moment in his son's life back home near Houston.
There also is footage of the talk Rivera gave to the American League team before the All-Star Game at Citi Field, and of a private meeting with Yogi Berra and Whitey Ford on Old-Timers' Day.
Bloom said Fox signed on, in partnership with MLB Productions -- which did the filming -- and Relativity Television when it learned of the access Rivera was willing to grant.
"We immediately jumped on it," he said, adding that is the goal of the "Being" series.
"That's what we endeavor to do. Anyone can chart someone's season, but it's more important for us to get to know the hero behind the uniform, inside the uniform."
Had the Yankees not missed the playoffs, shooting would have continued through the postseason and the program would have waited. Instead, we see Rivera already reconnecting with his family just last week.
Said Bloom: "I think it's a pretty deep film at times."