The margin is razor-thin for a closer. A freak shower in the desert during a game with an open retractable roof. A bunt. A baseball slickened from rolling through the wet grass. Ultimately, a game-ending bloop single, produced by another broken bat, no less.
Upon this tightrope Rivera has walked for 13 seasons, 12 of them with the added intensity and legacy-shaping consequences of the playoffs. He keeps his balance, gallantly, with one divine pitch everybody knows is coming. He is not sure how many more times it will happen. He is signed through 2010. "After that," he says, "only God knows."