Mariano Rivera shared his thoughts regarding George Steinbrenner before tonight’s game with the Rays and one of the best stories he told was a bet he made with the Boss prior to the 2000 World Series against the Mets.
Steinbrenner asked Rivera if he was ready for the Series and Rivera said yes. Rivera was so confident; he offered a bet to Steinbrenner. If the Yankees won, Steinbrenner had to take Rivera and his family back home to Panama.
If the Yankees lost, Rivera would take Steinbrenner to dinner anywhere he wanted. Steinbrenner agreed. The Yankees defeated the Mets in five games to win the bet for the closer.
“I think the second day after we won he called to make sure I was ready for the trip to Panama with my family,” Rivera said. “His presence was something and I love that. He wanted to do everything for the players. He always gave us opportunities to win. He didn’t care how much money he spent. He was wonderful. I definitely miss him. It’s one of those hard days.”
Rivera also talked about how Steinbrenner would come in the clubhouse in the fourth inning of games and offer him a hamburger.
“I told him, ‘No Boss. I have to pitch,’ " Rivera said.
Rivera noted how Steinbrenner did a lot of things for other people and that he didn’t want recognition for it.
“He was great,” Rivera said. “The character he had was to make other people happy and help others. That always made him special. What he did for me is tremendous. Even though he wasn’t here all the time, he was a mentor. He gave me motivation. He wasn’t here, but I knew he was around. Now for sure we know we’re not going to see him. I think it will motivate us to do it one more time for him.”
More reaction from Andy Pettitte and Derek Jeter to come.