Mickey Rivers, integral member of the famed Bronx Zoo Crew and two time World Series New York Yankees (’77, ’78), had an appearance to meet and greet fans for three hours at Shoprite of Greater Morristown this past Saturday. Rivers, smiling, recalled stories of his playing days, posed energetically for photos, and furiously signed autographs for his fans of all ages. For many, in addition to meeting Rivers, an up-close look at his World Series ring was also exciting. I was fortunate to be able to talk with “Mick the Quick” (as he explained to me: a “nickname given to him by his grandparents”) for a few minutes during the event.
With superstar Mark Teixeira and up-and-comers Greg Bird, Dustin Ackley, Brian Mitchell, and Jason Shreve on the shelf for an extended period of time, Rivers’ advice to the current Yankees is “play the small ball until your stars get healthy… You do the small stuff to win the games”. Furthermore, with Jacoby Ellsbury‘s defensive struggles, Rivers (a former centerfielder), explains that in playing a grueling schedule, “[Ellsbury] is trying to do too much”.
Rivers, on the roster for the 2016 Yankees Old Timer’s Day, is looking forward to the “good atmosphere” with the “guys that played with [him] and before [him]”. One of whom is the late Hall of Famer Yogi Berra, 13x World Series winning catcher and 18x All Star. Laughing, Rivers recounted a story to me of when he, as a young boy, was a starstruck extra on the set of Berra’s YooHoo commercial. “You could talk to him and touch him and he even coached me”. When I asked what advice Berra gave to him, Rivers answered: “I’ll tell you what: ‘Do your natural thing… don’t try to be like somebody else. Use [the] God-given talent that got you to the [Major Leagues]'”. Adding, “To me, he’s a legend”. As far as the Bronx Zoo Crew, Rivers does, in fact, keep up with former teammates such as Roy White and Chris Chambliss.
Rivers, on boxing legend and humanitarian Muhammad Ali’s recent passing remarked “He’s one great legend. There are many things he said for people to think about … and, like Yogi; a legend. They were the best guys in the world”.
Always known to have fun around the diamond and in the clubhouse, in discussing bat flips, Rivers cited the “generation gap” and “age brackets” between himself and today’s players. “A lot of things we did they can’t do [and vice versa]”. Without offering a steadfast positive or negative opinion on them, Rivers remarked that “you want to go with the times”.
Rivers is still active at Yankee Stadium’s career days, batting practices on the field, and children’s programs. The key to looking as fit as he does at 67 years is: “don’t do too much… eat [properly]… count your calories… and [do] a small, little workout”. Smiling, he added: “Every day is not given to you… the greatest thing is seeing the guys that you haven’t seen in a while”. Fans are surely anxious to take the annual stroll down memory lane at Old Timer’s Day on Sunday, June 12 to see Mickey Rivers play again in the House that Ruth built.
Rivers was greeting fans on behalf of Luvo, a proud partner and official frozen food of the New York Yankees since 2014. The priority Derek Jeter places on healthy lifestyle inspired him to join Luvo’s executive team as Partner, Brand Development Officer. He will be involved in product development,will help to enhance Luvo’s brand awareness, will help to create strategic partnerships and will offer counsel on other relationships that are developed in the sports and nutrition world. During the 2016 season, fans will be able to find fresh Luvo wraps in Yankee Stadium’s DKNY and Ketel One Lounges, as well as featured menu items during select games in the Legends Suite Club. (Luvo, Inc. fact sheet)