On emotions, ceremonies, criticism and the end of an era

Derek Jeter, Mariano RiveraI’m usually a highly emotional person.

If you know me, you know what I feeling at any given moment. I also happen to have a very expressive face, one that unfortunately reveals everything I’m feeling. I can never lie. If I’m displeased or hurt by something or someone, you’ll know it. I’m also the type of person who likes to voice their feelings to anyone who will listen and I tend to wear my heart on my sleeve. With that said, I have no idea what I’m feeling right now.

I honestly don’t. I know I should be sad right now for many reasons but I’m not.

I should be sad because I watched Andy Pettitte start his final game at Yankee Stadium. I should be sad because unless I somehow get tickets to one of the three remaining home games against the Rays, I more than likely have seen Mariano Rivera jog out of the bullpen and to the mound for the last time in person which also means I’ve heard “Enter Sandman” at Yankee Stadium for the last time. I should be sad because yesterday’s loss virtually ended the Yankees’ chances of making the playoffs and I should be sad because it was an extremely disheartening loss.

But I woke up this morning feeling like it was just another day.

Maybe the finality of it all isn’t hitting me yet or maybe it’s because I was feeling so many different emotions yesterday afternoon and last night that I’m just spent right now. Who knows? Maybe it will hit me next week when the season is over. Maybe it will hit me when Spring Training starts and both Rivera and Pettitte are nowhere to be found.

Actually, there is an emotion that I’m feeling today but it’s not directed at the Yankees.

That emotion is anger.

I noticed after I got home from the game, when I signed into my social media accounts, that there was some criticism and cynicism in regards to what transpired yesterday.

Mariano  RiveraIt was mostly from fans of other teams who didn’t have a core group of guys to lead them to the promised land five times. They didn’t have the man most consider to be the greatest closer of all time on their team. Some of them root for teams who had closers who may have been dominant for a few seasons but then fizzled out, never to be heard from again. They also didn’t have that one starting pitcher who always seemed to step it up in the playoffs, who was the starter for every clinching game of a title run or the one who pitched and won every Game 2 another year when their team started every series 0-1 mainly because in some cases, the teams they root for haven’t made the playoffs since I was still in school (elementary and/or high school).

They criticized the gifts, they criticized the plaques, they criticized Metallica, they made fun of Yankee fans for buying into the nostalgia and they criticized the organization for having the ceremony in the first place. And why did they do this? Because they just don’t get it.

Maybe they’re bitter and angry that their teams never make the playoffs or if they do, they never win the World Series. Maybe they’re critical and cynical because they know their team will never have an era like the Yankees just had.

But Yankee fans get it.

We know this specific era in our team’s history is coming to a close and that we should be allowed to celebrate it however we damn well please and if that means having a 45-minute ceremony filled with former players holding up their cellphones to capture the moment and a plaque unveiling with a performance by Metallica thrown in for good measure, so be it.

Mariano Rivera deserves all that and more. He and Andy Pettitte also deserved to “go out” on a better note than they have this season but we can’t have everything. What we did have as fans of the New York Yankees was really special.

I’m pretty lucky that my entire adulthood – so far – has been spent which this group of men who played for my favorite baseball team. I’ve been lucky and honored to have been stressed out of my mind the last 17 out of 19 Octobers. How many other teams’ fans can say that?

Not many.

(Pictures courtesy of the AP)

Stacey is co-Editor-in-Chief of It's About The Money, co-host of the It's About The Money, Stupid podcast and is a monthly contributor to ESPN's SweetSpot Blog. She is a former contributor at Aerys Sports and High Heat Stats. She has contributed to group projects at Baseball: Past And Present and the Hall of Stats. Her work has appeared in USA Today's Sports Weekly and most recently, she wrote four pieces for Derek Jeter: Celebrating the Yankees' Captain Clutch, a magazine printed by i5 Publishing.