Mariano Rivera is making a pitch again, but this one is more straightforward than his trademark cutter.
The Hall of Fame closer and former Yankee took to the airwaves Friday to encourage listeners, particularly millennials, to take precautions against the coronavirus more seriously.
“The best thing that you can do is stay home,” Rivera said on ESPN Radio’s “The Michael Kay Show,” calling in from his home in New York, where he is locked down with his family. “Stay home. We can help many people be safe.”
Pictures of spring breakers filling beaches in Florida this week have gone viral, but Rivera had a message for them.
“The millennials believe they’re invincible and at this moment, they need to be aware that they can transmit this serious virus to a lot of their families and friends, people they love,” Rivera said. “They have to take this thing serious because it is serious. There’s no time to be playing around. There’s no time for partying, there’s no time to be on the beach, there’s no time to have a good time. It’s time to reflect and pray and stay home and share with your family.
“We need to spread this message — we need to do more. We need to do whatever it takes to bring this message across that we cannot do things like that. That’s foolish. … Nothing positive [will come] out of that.”
Rivera often spent this month making final preparations for a baseball season in spring training, but now he is practicing what he preaches with regard to stopping the spread of a national pandemic. The 50-year-old said he is passing the time by praying, reading the bible and spending time with his family.
“We’re trying to get some quality family time and we’re doing it,” Rivera said.
Rivera has been in touch with family in his native Panama, which is also in a state of emergency because of the coronavirus. He made sure his parents have enough food, but told them to be careful and not to go out.
“We cannot be afraid,” Rivera said. “We have to take all the precautions and follow what the authorities are telling us and we’ll be OK. This is going to pass. This will pass, but we need to stay safe. The best thing we [can do] is wash your hands, do all these things and stay home.”
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