Well, this could get awkward. Mariano Rivera has been fawned over all season as he heads toward retirement. There have been all the gifts, the farewells at each visiting stadium, the All-Star Game moment, that special cap, the jet.
And now New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi is telling reporters he wants Rivera back for another season. Woah, Joe, you can't just go changing all the plans, man.
Girardi told ESPNNewYork.com that he'll ask Rivera, 43, to re-think retirement and that he thinks Mo could still be a great closer in 2014.
"I don't see any reason why he couldn't do it next year, I don't," Girardi said. "He's made it pretty clear that he doesn't want to [return], but I always say, you know, January rolls around and sometimes you have a different feel about what you want to do."
Rivera is baseball's all-time saves leader and he's third in MLB this season with 40 saves. If the Yankees get hot, there's a chance Mo reaches the 50-save threshold again. Something he's done twice in his 19-year career. It's obvious Rivera's decision to walk away isn't because his performance is diminishing. Rather, he made up his mind that it was time and announced as much during the spring. Asked again by reporters after Tuesday's game, Rivera said he's sticking to his retirement plan.
"I told you guys already. I don't know why we're talking about this. I've already made my decision."
For what it's worth: Girardi did say he thinks Rivera will retire. That tells us that either Rivera is a man who sticks to his word, or Girardi knows his own powers of persuasion aren't enough to change Mo's mind.
But pro sports, as Giradi aptly points out, have seen more than a few players say they're retiring, only to get the itch again the following season. Clemens, Favre, Jordan — it's happens to the best of 'em.
"I believe he's going to retire," Girardi said. "But as I've said, sometimes when you're a player in the midst of a season and you're grinding it out, your mind is one thing, but when you get away for a couple of months and your body feels pretty good, your mind is another thing."
Well, let's all agree to this, if Mo does come back, no more presents, OK? A man only needs one pair of cowboy boots with a Yankees logo on them.