Mariano Rivera kneeled in his spring training clubhouse and stretched out flat on the floor, his white No. 42 - matching his age - pressed to the gray carpet. He stretched his right foot out and slowly drew it back over his left shoulder. He switched sides and then swung both legs over his head at the same time.
Writhing for about 10 minutes, he looked more like a contortionist than the greatest reliever in baseball history. After 18,718 career pitches for the New York Yankees - plus 2,015 more in the postseason and 106 in the All-Star game - that's what it takes to get his body ready before he even starts to warm up in the bullpen.
And yet Rivera is once again a big part of the Yankees' plan for 2012.
These days, baseball's oldest stars are some of its greatest.
Their 40-somethings' hair, at least what's left of it, has started to go gray. In some cases, the chiseled torsos of youth have added a few pounds. The skin seems to have lost some of that smoothness thanks to all those...