Dear Mariano Rivera,

Baseball can’t afford to lose you.  Not now.  Not at a time when athletes who are liars and cheats dominate the headlines in our national pastime.  Major League Baseball needs your class, honor, dignity, sportsmanship, and respect for the game — now more than ever.  The values you represent in such a professional manner are increasingly in short supply today in the world of pro sports in general, and Major League Baseball in particular.

Your sterling inning at the recent All-Star Game will be the takeaway memory from this year’s Midsummer Classic — not just because of your athletic performance (which was top-notch as usual), but because of the love and respect that your teammates, opponents, game announcers, and fans (even a great majority of the Mets’ fans!) showed you.  The reception you received upon entering the game was a beautiful tribute to a true baseball role model.

Mariano, you’re still on top of your game.  Yankee radio announcer John Sterling said this week that you are as good as you’ve ever been, if not better. But more than your outstanding performance on the field, America needs the active witness of your character — on and off the field.

You’ve always been the epitome of a “team player.”  But in this case, the team that needs you the most isn’t only the Yankees.  It’s America’s baseball fans.

You represent hope; hope that our baseball ideals aren’t lost forever in this era of performance-enhancing drugs and highly tainted baseball records.

One more year, Mo!  That’s all we ask.

Ralph Nader, Founder, League of Fans
Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans

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