TORONTO -- I can not recommend Ian O'Connor's story on Mariano Rivera highly enough. This is how it begins:
BOSTON -- A baseball cap tucked tight can strip years off a man's face, almost make a boy out of him, and so it is no surprise Mariano Rivera looks older without his.
The last of the 42s, age 43, has just pitched on three consecutive win-or-else nights in Baltimore, and he says he's been overwhelmed by requests for his time. If his weary brown eyes don't cry out for his pending retirement, they do betray his need for a restorative nap.
But suddenly Mo's expression changes as he absorbs a visitor's tales, lighting up and up in stages like a three-way bulb. Weeks and months after conducting his own town meetings in 18 ballparks in 17 cities, Rivera is being told stories about the strangers he inspired, the kids with cancer, the bombing victims, grieving family members, and the game's oft-ignored laborers and cheap-seat fans, all of them struck by his simple decency and messages of hope.