There is no 'I' in team-oriented Mo
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SEATTLE -- The word "win," or some form of it, came out of the mouth of Mariano Rivera no fewer than five times in his six-minute postgame meeting with reporters late Tuesday night.
"Team" popped out slightly less than that.
Terms such as "accomplishment" and "incredible" and "record" came from elsewhere, meaning from his teammates and reporters.
A sampling from the 41-year-old closer, who became the second to record 600 saves -- one behind career leader Trevor Hoffman -- in Tuesday night's 3-2 victory over the Mariners:
"The win," Rivera said. "That's the most important thing."
Or: "We need to win. We're in a pennant race and we need to finish this and hopefully get ready for the playoffs."
And simply: "We won."
Rivera did allow that setting the record would mean something to him. "The next one's the biggest," he said of 602, the save that would break the record.
But it's still hard to imagine his reaction after recording that historic save will differ much than what he gave after pulling within one of tying the record..
And, asked how the saves record might compare to any of the five rings he's won, Rivera needed no additional time in giving an answer.
"It's nothing compared to the World Series titles," said Rivera, who picked up his 41st save of the season Tuesday and lowered his ERA to 2.05. "Nothing compares. Definitely, you want to get that , but I like the World Series better."
Joe Girardi, who caught Rivera's first career save -- May 17, 1996 at the Stadium -- said before Wednesday night's's game he couldn't recall the pitcher ever speaking about anything relating to a personal accomplishment.
"I've never heard Mo talk about any individual achievements," Girardi said. "I think at some point when he's done, he'll sit back and reflect on it, but I would be surprised if you heard him talk much about it now."
Speaking fewer than 24 hours before, Rivera said as much.
"Maybe later on, after I retire," Rivera said of reflecting on his accomplishment. "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."
He, of course, added: "Thank God that we won, that's the most important thing. We won."
Instead of lining up as they usually would after a victory, players swarmed Rivera on the mound. Longtime teammate Derek Jeter, who tagged Ichiro Suzuki trying to steal to end the game, was among the first there.
"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 for granted, but I think a lot of people may because he comes in and 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."
Rivera, who plans to have his wife and three children in Toronto for a series that begins Friday, said his teammates' reaction made the night special.
"It was a great moment for my teammates to be there," he said. "They are family away from your family. It was great seeing them all come to the mound. Again, I've been blessed."