COMMENTARY | Mariano Rivera's man cave is fast approaching million-dollar status.
Here's my two cents for how I'd arrange the New York Yankees closer's 2013 swag:
This weekend, Mariano added a personalized amp used and signed by Metallica (estimated value: $10,000); a custom-built guitar signed by Willie Mays, courtesy of the San Francisco Giants (estimated value: $20,000); a crystal baseball glove and glove (estimated value $15,000); and a rocking chair made from baseball bats (estimated value: $5,000) to his man cave. All are worthy of a nice spot in the cave, although nothing stands out as a centerpiece.
Other new additions to Mariano's man cave from teams he's visited this season:
Los Angeles Angels: A 6-foot oil painting by noted artist Stephen Holland, who has painted portraits for the Los Angeles Kings, the Baltimore Ravens, and the U.S. Olympic Committee. (Estimated value: $20,000.) Perfect for behind the couch.
Minnesota Twins: The Chair of Broken Dreams -- a rocking chair made, in part, from broken bats of Twins players, including Joe Mauer and Kirby Puckett. Unlike the rocking chair that the Yankees presented to Rivera, the Twins' chair wasn't emblazoned with any official logos. It was classy, it was original, it was an homage to Mariano's cut fastball, and by far the best gift he's received during his retirement tour. (Estimated value: $10,000.) Man-cave centerpiece.
Texas Rangers: A 15-gallon cowboy hat and a pair of custom-made cowboy boots inscribed with the New York Yankees logo, Mariano's name, and No. 42. (Estimated value: $8,000.) Perfect bookends for the bookcase full of Yanklit -- memoirs of former Yankees and beat writers. Best example: Last Night of the Yankee Dynasty, by Buster Olney.
Oakland Athletics: Custom surfboard and a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley winemaker Groth Vineyards. (Estimated value: $5,000.) Surfboard destined for a spot between the foosball and pool tables. Wine by the bar.
Baltimore Orioles: Bronze sculpture of a ball breaking a baseball bat in two, crafted by Omri Amrany and his son, Itamar. The elder Amrany created the 16-foot sculpture of Michael Jordan that sits outside the United Center in Chicago and the giant Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Jerry West pieces outside Staples Center in Los Angeles. (Estimated value: $10,000.) Perfect for the cocktail table. Bronze sculpture of a bat being broken by a pitch, along with a plaque noting that Rivera's "numerous baseball records are surpassed only by his humility, respect and philanthropy."
Boston Red Sox: Forget the fact that Boston's presentation ceremony was self-aggrandizing and bordered on being more like a roast. In the end, Boston presented Mariano with a No. 42 from the Fenway Park manual scoreboard signed by all of the Red Sox ($10,000), a Fenway Park seat circa 1934 ($1,500), a pitching rubber from the visiting bullpen ($5,000), and an artist's portrait of Mariano being cheered in Boston on opening day 2005, just months after Boston's storied 2004 comeback in the American League Championship Series ($5,000). The chair goes next to the couch, the pitching rubber can serve as the foul line by the dart board, and the No. 42 gets a prominent wall spot. The artwork? Above the toilet.
San Diego Padres: Five Yankees-themed custom-made bikes. (Estimated value: $3,000.) Hopefully, the man cave is adjacent to the garage, where these "beach cruisers" are destined for.
Detroit Tigers: Mound dirt from Tiger Stadium and Comerica Park. More dirt? Mariano already has mound dirt from old Yankee Stadium, but at least the Tigers presented him with a nice shadow box that will look nice in the man cave bathroom. (Estimated value: $500.)
Chicago White Sox: A framed scorecard from Rivera's first appearance at Comiskey Park and a photo collage celebrating Rivera's save in Chicago on Sept. 19, 2001 -- the Yankees' second game back after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. (Estimated value: $250.) Nice personal touch from the White Sox, although nothing special. Wall art.
Cleveland Indians: A Metallica gold record can be yours for about $200 on eBay, but the one Mariano received from the Indians was personalized and included Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Indians logos. Good enough for behind the bar. (Estimated value: $500.)
New York Mets: The Yankees' penny-pinching crosstown rivals opted to give Mariano old New York Fire Department (NYFD) equipment, including a "call box" faceplate and a mounted fire hose nozzle from an NYFD truck to commemorate "the greatest fireman of all time." Perfect way to decorate the man cave's alarm system call box. (Estimated value: $1,000.)
Hopefully, Mariano's man cave has the room for these goodies, because it's already filled with trophies worth thousands of dollars.
If an Alex Rodriguez 2009 World Series ring can fetch more than $30,000 at auction and Benito Santiago's 2002 National League Championship Series MVP trophy can net almost $1,500, Mariano's hardware is worth at least $250,000.
To go along with his five World Series rings, Mariano added an All-Star Game MVP Award earlier this year to his trophy case, which already included 13 All-Star Game rings, the 1999 World Series MVP and 2003 American League Championship Series MVP Awards, and five American League Rolaids Relief Awards (1999, 2001, 2004, 2005, and 2009). Mariano also needs space for a sixth AL Rolaids Relief Award, as he's currently ahead of Baltimore Orioles reliever Jim Johnson for this year's award, which takes in account saves, wins, and blown saves.
Howard Z. Unger is a freelance journalist in Brooklyn, New York. For the past 15 years, he has written about sports, media, and popular culture. His work has appeared in The Village Voice, New York Post, and New York Times.
- Sports & Recreation
- Mariano Rivera
- New York Yankees
- San Francisco Giants
- rocking chair