To New York Yankees fans, Mariano Rivera is Fireman of the Year every year for his incredible ability to extinguish an opponent's rally in the bottom of the ninth.
Yesterday, it was announced that the Yankees reliever was chosen to be Man of the Year by the New York Board of Rabbis and will be given a tour of of Israel for giving back through his various charity work.
Rivera, a Pentecostal Christian, will be awarded the prestigious award for his philanthropic work after the "two holy seasons" — the 2013 baseball season and Jewish High Holidays —are over, when the Yankees pitching great will escorted on a 10-day tour of the Holy Land.
Through his church, Rivera does extensive relief work in his native Panama besides doing other charitable work in the New York area.
Rivera, speaking at a pre-Super Bowl charity dinner in New Rochelle, NY, told guests he is coming along just fine after tearing his ACL last season and missing all but nine games of the season.
"You bet I'm ready to go," said the 43-year-old pitcher.
On what lies ahead for the aging, rehabbing Yankees team for 2013, Rivera was spiritually optimistic.
"We need a lot of prayer, and I pray a lot," Rivera was overheard saying at the event. "Our biggest competition is ourselves ... You have to shed that ego at the door and all push for the same goal."
The righty with the famous cutter admitted the Yankees' bats have to pick it up this season.
"The hitting wasn't there," he said. "But pitching is the name of the game."
He went on to quip about how he misses the old Yankee Stadium — a less friendly hitter's park.
"We want our old stadium back," he joked. "The other stadium was better."
Spoken like a true pitcher.