Mariano Rivera- Mark the Perfect Man

Mariano Rivera, greatest all time Latin American pitcher.

We thought we would pause in our Chronicle to send hardy congratulations to our favorite all-time best pitcher from Latin America, Mariano Rivera as he not only achieved his record breaking 600th saved game but surpassed it to total 603 saved games two days ago.  He has been with the Yankees all of his professional life and we would say that Mariano is the best investment they ever made.

What really thrills us is that he embodies what an upright man can do when he places the Lord Jesus Christ before everything he does, always giving the Lord God the Glory.

In a recent article in one of the tabloids here in Panama, several people close to him were interviewed and asked if he has truly forgotten Puerto Caimito, the fishing village in Panama where he is from.  His pastor and close friend from childhood , Jacinto Gonzalez, candidly stated that “a prophet is not without honor, save in his own country, and in his own house.”  So, it seems, is the case with Mariano Rivera although he has more admirers than detractors.  His Pastor went on to comment:

Gonzalez:  I know Mariano since before he arrived in the Major Leagues since 1994 when he was in the Triple A.

Interviewer: Did you convert him to a servant of the Lord?

Gonzalez: Yes, he made his Act of Faith andi t became my responsibility to guide him and pray for him.

Interviewer:  Could you imagine Mariano having reached this moment?

Gonzalez:  We have always though that something great would happen for Mariano, and to see that this is unfolding fills us with joy, as his pastor and his personal friend.  We have a very close friendship and just three days ago we spoke and prayed about this together; we knew it would happen sooner or later and he expressed to me that he didn’t feel pressured by the challenge and that he would take it in the best way possible.

Interviewer:  You, who know him, how would you define Mariano?

Gonzalez: I would characterize him as a very uncomplicated person; even after having achieved such great landmarks in his life, he is still the same humble man he has always been.  As he confesses, he owes everything to God.  Of course there is human participation, but  the Lord has had much to do with this victory.  Mariano is a blessed person.  God has had pleasure in making him a man of renown.

Interviewer: There are many Panamanians who think that Mariano doesn’t love Panama. Why do you suppose this?

Gonzalez:  That mentality that Mariano doesn’t feel Panamanian is not correct. As long as I have known him he never comes to Panama to indulge in vices or share them with anyone; on the contrary, he arrives home and he goes from his house to his church.  He is not a man to be seen in parties and when he is here, in Panama, he is not known to be found in bad company portraying bad habits.  I can testify to the fact that Mariano has helped this town a great deal.

Interviewer:  To what would you attribute Mariano Rivera’s success?

Gonzalez:  There are many people the world over who pray for Mariano, and it is to this that I attribute his success.  Of the man who abides under the shadow of the Almighty it is said in scripture in the book of Deuteronomy, if we are diligent to follow the Word of God, we shall be blessed from wherever we come, whether in the field or in the city. God has been the principal promoter of Mariano and this is the key.

Interviewer: How true is it that Mariano has forgotten Puerto Caimito?

Gonzalez:  I am a witness to the fact that Mariano brings a great many toys to town and we distribute them to the children in the mountains, but this is never publicized  since he does not like to promote himself nor what he does; he simply goes about and does these things.

We unite, with one accord, with all those who pray for Mariano Rivera who has elevated Panama’s image in the world today and continues to behave as an upright man thereby thwarting the ways of those who would speak evil of good. (2Peter 2:2)

This story continues.

4 responses to “Mariano Rivera- Mark the Perfect Man

  1. Mariano Rivera is the greatest of all times. I admire his talent and natural humility. I agree with the pastor , Mariano and his wife do help poor children in Panama. I do not believe Mariano Rivera invites the media to record and make a fanfare when he is distributing goods to the poor children.
    Saludos…

  2. During the years 1988 – 1989 my two sons used to play juvenile baseball in Juan Demostenes Arosemena stadium. I was always there with them on weekends when I wasn’t at my job as a firefighter in the Panama Canal Commission Fire Department. There were always a lot of major league scouts in the area looking for young talents. I became acquainted with a few of them and learned a lot about what they look for in a player. I lived in La Chorrera at that time.

    In Puerto Caimito, there was a recreational adult league that could only play on weekends mainly because most of the players were fishermen and were at sea during the other five days of the week. One Sunday morning I decided to go over there and watch them play. In those days I had an old Volkswagen bug that had an embarrasing problem. It would not start, so I was always asking friends for a push. That day I parked the car on a small hill and walked to the field. Once there, I began to play “scout”, looking for strength, speed, alertness etc. Those things I learned from the experts. I noticed that the shortstop played a lively game and observed him closely. I knew him because I had seen him play in national juvenile championship. He played all the positions in those days and he excelled in all of them. On one occasion he was catching during an important game and the pitcher apparently became exhausted. This player whose name is Mariano Rivera, took off his catcher equipment and took over the mound. Many people do not know it but Rivera is a full fledged player.

    Shortly after, I went to the hill where I had parked my bug, rolled it down, started and headed back to my house in La Chorrera. Once there, I used my home phone (no cell phone in those days) and called Carlos “chico Heron. I informed him that I had been observing Mariano Rivera in Puerto Caimito and from what I saw, I felt that he should check him out. Heron, who was then a look-out for Herbert Raybourne, asked me to go back and ask him if he was interested in profesional baseball and if he replied in the affirmative, to report to the Juan Demostenes Monday morning at nine. He also told me to ask him if he had fare money and if he didn’t, to give him five dollars and he would talk to me later. I returned and on my arrival noticed that the game was still going and my hill was no longer available. I waited until the game was over, approached Rivera what I had done. He was excited and replied that he would gladly play profesional. He had fare money so I did not have to give him anything. On Monday evening, Heron called me and told me that Mariano was very good but that during the tryout he noticed his throwing power and was going to recommend him as a pitcher. Since Herbert Raybourne was not due in Panama until after mid-year, Chico instructed him to workout and keep in shape until then.
    I remember telling my kids that if Mariano was signed, they could be sure that when he returned to Panama, he would bring real baseball caps for them because he knew my kids well.
    Well, my kids are now forty and thirtynine years old and those caps I thought Mariano would bring some day never arrived. One day I went to Puerto Caimito to buy fresh fish (use to do that a lot) and his father who gets along fine with me saw me and shouted, “Hey Long, el muchacho esta en la casa, pasa y saludalo” I told him that I would not do that because I felt that his son never showed any appreciation for what I had done, but he insisted, so I went. I arrived his house (he didn’t have the big mansion yet) and asked for him and he came out a short time later. I told him that I had not come for money but wanted to know why during all the interviews he has had, my name has never been mentioned. I do not know if he intended to answer me but right then a young man walked up behind me with a bible in his hand and Mariano asked me to excuse him because he had to attend to the pastor. As I left, I asked myself
    where was this pastor when I gave up my little hill to go home and call Mr. Heron and when I returned and had to park a long distance from the field and ask for a push after the game. I was a great baseball fan all over the republic. I would follow the Panama Oeste team anywhere they went to play and anyone in La Chorrera who likes baseball can cofirm that. I remember a few years ago, I was having lunch in a restaurant in the canal area and I heard someone mention my name and as I looked up, it was Mariano Rivera. I got up and started walking away and as I did so, people noticed him and started bringing out their cameras and were requesting pictures with him.

    I have heard many things about his becoming a major league player. Things like he was not signed the first time and then someone recommended him again, I even heard him during an interview one time as he said “a man had recommended me as a shortstop” No name, a man. Perhaps he did get signed later on, but in my opinion, if I had not done what I did that Sunday he would still be fishing out of Puerto Caimito. When I started seeing and hearing his name all over big league I thought that maybe someday I would receive an invitation to one of those world series he played in but that was an utopic idea.

    I must point out that even though there is resentment on my part, I do not share the negative things that are said about this player. For an athlete to be able to do all the things he has done, he must take very good care of himself. If someone wins ten thousand dollars in the lottery , he will soon find rejection within his own relatives, mainly because they want him to share all ten thousand dollars. If you earn ten million dollars a year, you are expected to arrive to your hometown with a convoy of beverages and party for a week. That is human nature and nothing is going to change that. I feel that being a millionaire must be stressfull.

    • Mr. Long,

      We thank you for your comment which turned out to be more of a separate article, really. We appreciate these types of accounts from the observations of a true insider. We hope that our humble blog, which is visited by thousands of people, will serve as a forum for people to get the full picture of history and people.

      About gratitude and Panamanians, however, it seems as though West Indian Panamanians have long been much overlooked in this department by their more fortunate athletic celebrities and even an ex-president of the Republic. That is the reason we started this blog to render appreciation where it is rightfully due even if the folks here in Panama do not recognize it. Their loss, I guess, is our gain as it goes to prove the pen indeed is mightier than the sword, ingratitude or disdain.

      This is also why we have been diligently lobbying Panama’s National Assembly for passage of our Law #348 which seeks to make the Silver Roll cemeteries of Corozal, Mount Hope and Gatun National Patrimony and therefore come under official protection to be targeted for development into National Heritage sites. This, we feel, would be a dignified tribute to the Westindian men and women who really built the Canal. This would also ultimately be a proper show of appreciation for all those lives sacrificed.

      Thank you for your wonderful comment.

  3. Thankfulness to my father who told me about this blog, this website is genuinely awesome.

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