The essence of Mariano Rivera

New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera waves to New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera waves to fans after the team beat the Seattle Mariners in a baseball game. (Sept. 13, 2011) Photo Credit: AP

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Mariano Rivera smiled pretty much throughout his five-minute postgame press conference after recording career save No. 600. He was happy, without question, but at the same time seemed utterly unimpressed with what he had done.

With the Yankees in a division race, this was not the time to reflect on becoming just the second player to record 600 saves. That, he said, can wait.

“Maybe later on after I retire,” Rivera said. “I’m not that type of guy. I’m a team player. I’ve told you guys many times and will continue to tell you the same thing because it doesn’t depend on myself, it’s my teammates who give me the opportunity to be able to pitch. Thank God that we won, that’s the most important thing. We won.”

His manager, who caught save No. 1 on May 17, 1996, against the Angels, and his teammates were far more enthusiastic.

"Simply remarkable," Joe Girardi said.

Among the first to greet Rivera on the mound after the save was Derek Jeter, who tagged out Ichiro trying to steal for the ninth's final out.

“He’s doing things that no one’s ever done,” Jeter said. “Probably won’t see it again…A lot of people have been spoiled. Yankee fans have been spoiled, baseball fans who have been watching him, us as teammates. We don’t take him granted but I think a lot of people may because he comes in they assume it’s over, and the only time you talk to him is when he doesn’t come through. So we’ve all been spoiled.”

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