Earlier this week, we brought you the news of the Fox documentary Being: Mariano, which is premiering this Sunday on Fox (and re-airing Tuesday on Fox Sports 1). The documentary is quite frankly, a unique and unprecedented behind the scenes look at Rivera's final season with the Yankees, from his retirement announcement during Spring Training in March to his final appearance at Yankee Stadium, and everything in between.
Being has cameras with Rivera for every step of the way during his final season, and they capture some incredibly raw footage. In Kansas City, Rivera meets with a family who had just lost their son, offering words of encouragement and support. Also in Kansas City, Rivera revisits his torn ACL from 2012, detailing what was going on in his mind as it happened.
Rivera's family is also discussed in great detail, from his modest beginnings as a fisherman in Panama to a loving father and husband today. Rivera's family and his faith are talked about in great detail, and are continually talked about as the most important things in his life.
Rivera's final, emotional trip to Boston is also discussed, and during a lunch with David Ortiz of the Red Sox, Rivera admits that the grind is getting to him and that he's ready for his retirement tour to end. The words are pretty strong, but quite honest and not at all spiteful – the man just wants to spend time with his family.
There are numerous other moving scenes in the film, including Rivera chatting with a frail-looking Yogi Berra during Old-Timers Day at Yankee Stadium, Rivera being honored at Dodger Stadium and being incredibly enthused by the messages recorded for him by Vin Scully and Rachel Robinson (widow of Jackie), and the emotional ceremony to honor Rivera at Yankee Stadium, with Robinson present for the dedication of a new plaque honoring her late husband.
The only part of the documentary I wasn't a huge fan of was the seemingly manufactured narrative of the Yankees' chase for the Postseason. Standings were flashed on the screen at numerous points, and the voiceovers gave the impression that the team was in the thick of contention and was fighting tooth and nail to earn a playoff berth. Anyone who watched the season knows that the team was, at best, the third best team in the AL East at any point during the season, and that it would take a series of improbable events for the Yankees to reach the Postseason. But that's a minor quibble, one that the casual viewer likely wouldn't even notice.
In closing, Being: Mariano is about everything you could ask for from a retrospective of the final season of one of baseball's most beloved figures of the last 20 years. There isn't an abundance of narration, as the footage taken by Fox tells the story with segments of Rivera talking helping flesh out the background of each event. It's really quite a great 90 minutes of viewing, and should be required viewing for anyone with even a passing interest in Rivera's career.
Being: Mariano will air at 4:30 PM Sunday on Fox. In the New York market, it will air at 2:30 PM thanks to the 49ers-Titans game on Fox in the late afternoon window. If you can't tear yourself away from the NFL on Sunday, it will re-air at 8:30 PM on Fox Sports 1 on Tuesday.