Mariano Jr. commits to Quinnipiac

By on April 20, 2011

The Rivera name has a history with pinstripes. Now Quinnipiac will have a history with the Rivera name.

Mariano Rivera Jr., the son of New York Yankees famed closer Mariano Rivera, said in a phone interview Friday he will attend Quinnipiac University in the fall and will try out for the baseball team, attempting to walk on as a pitcher.

“My parents were supporting me 100 percent; they want me to go here,” Rivera said. “I have to prove to them that I’m ready for college and I’m on my own basically.”

When his Iona Preparatory School adviser told him about Quinnipiac, he visited with his mother and “fell in love with the campus.” He and his father toured the campus Dec. 8 – with a large crowd of people following them – and spoke with several Quinnipiac representatives, including President John Lahey and baseball coach Dan Gooley.

“My mind was already set then,” Rivera said. “I had to show (my father). He liked some of the stuff and he fell in love with it, from security to the people to the faculty. He liked it; he liked it a lot.”

There was mutual interest between Rivera and Gooley when they met in December.

“He contacted us and said he was interested, so then, of course, we did some follow-up information on him and tried to get some more background information on him,” Gooley said that day. “He decided he wanted to come up for a search. Every young guy who visits, we try and meet with them and talk to them.”

I see that my father and I are two different people. He is a pro and I'm hi son, but that doesn't mean I'm going to be just as good as him.

Rivera said Gooley was very interested in seeing him play.

“From the scouting report that he has he was very interested and very impressed, but he would like to see me play,” Rivera said.

Gooley could not comment due to NCAA recruiting rules and regulations.

Though he is the son of a five-time World Series champion, he wants to make it clear that he wants to create his own identity.

“I see that my father and I are two different people,” Rivera said. “He is a pro and I’m his son, but that doesn’t mean that I’m going to be just as good as him. I’m working on being the best that I can be, so we’ll see how far that takes me.”

But he said his father isn’t putting too much pressure on him.

“My dad just wants me to do the best I can and be the best I can be,” Rivera said. “He knows I can be good, but he just wants to push me to do better. If I don’t make it then he won’t be disappointed, that’s what he’s saying. I have high expectations for myself. I know that by working hard and doing the best I can, I’ll be good.

Though Rivera may not throw the exact same renowned cutter as his father – he has a fastball, slider, curveball and changeup in his arsenal – he says he has the same work ethic.

“I’m going to go there and put my best foot forward and play 100 percent no matter what,” Rivera said. “If I do bad one day I’m not going to let that put me down. I’ll work on that shortly after and just do the best I can to improve myself for the next game.

“I hope I can prove myself to them and improve myself on every aspect of every one of my pitches. I hope that I can impress the coaches and that they can see that I’m working hard, and hopefully it’ll pay off.”

Rivera will be playing for Diamond Buddies, an 18U team in New York, and Hank’s Yanks, a club baseball team owned by Yankees co-owner Hank Steinbrenner, this summer.

“I’m already working out every day and I’m training with my dad,” he said. “I’m going to work on my mechanics and get my speed up a little bit.”

Rivera has handled the spotlight once before playing amateur ball, pitching into the sixth inning with Team Mariano (Mariano Rivera’s Dominican Foundation team) against Hank’s Yanks last September at Yankee Stadium in the Boss’ Cup.

“I liked what I saw of him,” said Ray Negron, manager of Hank’s Yanks in a phone interview Monday. “He battled and he was shutting down a top-notch offensive team, and I was blown away.”

Though Hank’s Yanks won the game 3-2, Rivera allowed no earned runs and went toe-to-toe with Leonel Vinas, the opposing pitcher whom the Yankees signed to a minor league contract in December.

“He put it to us more than any pitcher had last year,” Negron said. “If he can do that to us, he’s going to do that to any Division I school, period.”

“He’s a class act. He’s a skilled pitcher, an intelligent pitcher. He pitches like he’s playing chess. When he’s on, no one is going to get to him.”

Negron also had high praise for Rivera’s slider and fastball – which he actually describes as more of a cutter because of its late movement.

“He has a real good slider and a very nice cutter,” Negron said. “He doesn’t have the velocity his father had at the same age yet, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not going to come.”

One of the biggest aspects at Quinnipiac for Rivera was the faculty’s individual attention with students.

“I liked the support that all the teachers had and all the help that Quinnipiac offers,” Rivera said. “They’ll always be there to help you out and make sure that you’re comfortable and make sure that you’re doing your best.”

Rivera plans to get involved in the legal studies program and major in English in order to possibly go to law school. He attended accepted students day in late March and talked with people from the Latino Cultural Society, among others.

He ultimately picked QU over Fairfield, High Point and South Florida. Aside from baseball, Rivera played right midfield for Iona Prep’s state champion soccer team in 2009.

He knows people are going to have high expectations of him, but in the end he wants to make a positive impression on the Quinnipiac community.

“People always have high expectations for me and when I don’t follow through I let them down,” Rivera said. “I know that I do my best so I’m improving on that end. Hopefully I can meet the expectations that people might have toward me.”

 

Comments

About Matt Eisenberg

Senior Managing Editor
Email: editor@quchronicle.com
Twitter: @matteisenberg42
Year: 2014
Major: Print journalism

13 Comments

  1. Moises Young-Diaz

    April 20, 2011 at 11:49 am

    I am pretty sure that Marianito will make the team for that University. I saw him playing and he has wonderful skills to play baseball. same as soccer.

    I am sure that his father, Mariano Rivera, No. 42, the Panamanian Sensational, is going to be proud of his son and also, the Panamanian People, will be happy that Marianito will be playing in College.

    Moises from Panama

  2. HLS

    April 20, 2011 at 8:40 pm

    Every walk on to every team should make the news.
    Jr. doesn’t even play for his HS team, that’s sad. Why is there no info from Iona Prep baseball?
    Obviously, QU is trying to use this kid to make a name for their baseball program. QU is a good school, but they really need to get their priorities in order.

    Why was he not recruited to play? Jr. will make the team whether he deserves to or not, because QU wants the Rivera name attached to their baseball program and school. I am sure he was academically eligible to be accepted as well. Yeah right! The day he visited campus looked like a circus. I felt sorry for him!

  3. QUGrad

    April 20, 2011 at 11:01 pm

    Another wealthy under achiever for QU. QU also had a daughter of a famous entertainer who attended for 1 yr, but her famous dad paid for a major upgrade for the Mass Comm dept.
    You incorrectly reported that Jr. was a senior pitcher for Iona Prep in your first article. He doesn’t even play for his HS team, and wants to walk on a D1 team, really?? If he didn’t have a famous father would anyone care. What experience of his own does he bring to the field, Hanks Yanks? If he had any real talent, major D1 programs would have recruited him or the Yankees right out of HS.

    • Matt E

      April 20, 2011 at 11:22 pm

      He had previously pitched for Iona Prep in the past, not that he will be playing for the Gaels this year.

      • QUGrad

        April 22, 2011 at 9:29 am

        a senior pitcher at Iona Prep in New York. Is what you stated about him back in Dec.

  4. Mike F

    April 21, 2011 at 9:13 am

    There are many great baseball players who DON’T play for their respective H.S. teams. Politics runs rampant in H.S. Athletics, with baseball being the worst.

    Can a player who doesn’t play his senior year in H.S., walk onto a Division 1 diamond and compete? The answer is yes.

    Until H.S. Athletic Directors figure out that many sports suffer because of the Coaches, many athletes will choose to sit the H.S. season, in favor of a VERY competitive summer baseball season with an elite travel team.

    • QUGrad

      April 22, 2011 at 9:32 am

      I’m sure that Iona Prep baseball rolled out the red carpet for Jr. Any common player who tried to walk on to a D1 team without playing varsity ball would not be given the time of day.

  5. Lou V

    April 21, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    Keep your negative remarks to yourself. This is an exciting time in his life just as it was in yours and mine. Treat others as you would like to be treated and let the kid enjoy his college experience without your comments because quite frankly, no one cares.

  6. Jaime

    April 22, 2011 at 8:53 am

    There is no excuse why he doesn’t play Varsity ball. He obviously wants to play baseball, and I am sure they rolled out the red carpet for him at Iona as well. Travel teams are great, but they don’t replace the experiences you receive playing for your HS.

    • QU Alum

      April 27, 2011 at 12:34 am

      Actually, especially in baseball and softball, club teams are more instrumental in recruitment than your high school team. Many young athletes who are serious about playing in college play club and travel with that team and put less emphasis on playing for the high school team. They gain more exposure to college coaches through club, as I know I did and many do who play at the collegiate level. So, in this case, “travel” as you put it but more appropriately “club” IS more important for Mariano, Jr.

      Also – at this school, baseball is not the only sport that even if you are recruited to play you must try out. Gain some knowledge about the school you attend before you bash people behind your computer screens. And Lou could not be more correct – let him enjoy this time in his life as I’m sure you were entitled to enjoy this time in your life.

  7. QU10

    April 27, 2011 at 8:29 am

    It’s a perfect fit. Gooley can’t coach and the kid can’t pitch. He’ll make the team.

  8. NY4E

    May 6, 2011 at 7:32 am

    The main thing is the kid gets a good education and becomes a productive citzen. Clearly if he has to be a “walk on” means he didn’t inherit his father’s skills. I can’t believe that the son of Mariano Rivera has to “walk on” at any school if he was truly possessed a fraction of his father’s skill. This isn’t the first time this has happened. Michael Jordan’s first son had to walk on at Illinois (didn’t quite pan out) and his second son is playing at Central Florida (no where near an elite basketball powerhouse) so yes, there are times when the apple will fall far far away from the tree.

  9. Grace V.

    July 29, 2011 at 12:27 am

    You all need to shut your mouths. I know this kid. This not cocky. He NEVER acts like he thinks he’s entitled to special treatment. He is a very intelligent guy. How could you say he’s inadequate when you dont even know him!!! Have you seen his grades? Do you ever talk to him? Didn’t think so. So please stop judging him. Yeah, people are going to treat him differently, but that doesn’t make him any less of a person and it certainly doesn’t mean he doesn’t have an talent, skills, or brains. Mind your
    business being rude about others, doesnt make you any better.