Before the Yankees took the field on Opening Day, Mariano Rivera jogged to the mound to deliver a beautiful first pitch to kick off the new season. And with it, Rivera hopes to have kickstarted to the Yankees' next World Series title.
"It's been 10 years this year and it's time. We're due," Rivera told reporters at Yankee Stadium. "It's time to get No. 28."
The Yankees were close to making it to the World Series in 2017, falling just one game short in Houston. Last season, the Red Sox were just too hot a team for the Bombers as they were ousted in the ALDS in four games. Still, New York won 100 games last season.
Between that experience and more acquisitions to make this a better team, Rivera is confident the World Series aspirations swirling around the Bronx can be fulfilled.
"I believe in the team," Rivera said. "I see the guys playing and the talent that we have is enough to win. So the question is, are we hungry enough to win? I believe we are."
Rivera must be impressed by the strength of the Yankees' bullpen that is arguably the best in the MLB this season. Aroldis Chapman is the team's closer, but Adam Ottavino, Zack Britton, and Dellin Betances would also fill that role if need be. Chad Green, Jonathan Holder, and Tommy Kahnle are no pushovers either.
In fact, Rivera believes this arsenal in the pen was better than any he was a part of during the Yankees' World Series title run in the late '90s.
"The ones that we were part of, they're already proven," Rivera said. "I don't say these guys aren't proven -- they're better than us. They have such a great ballpark, with Chapman in the back.
"They're hungry. I can see it in their eyes."
With a power bullpen and power bats galore, this Yankees team has World Series written all over it. Rivera knows it, and now, it's up to this team to live up to the expectations.