And he accomplished it all, mostly, with one devastating pitch: his signature cut fastball. As third baseman Corey Koskie put it: "You knew what pitch [Rivera's] going to throw, a cutter. . . . You start to swing at the pitch and the next thing you know, the ball explodes your bat. I tried multiple things hoping to figure out a way get the barrel [of the bat] on one of his pitches. . . . Nothing worked."
Far from a conventional biography, Facing Mariano Rivera offers perspectives and testimonials from opponents and teammates alike, including Rivera's minor-league roommate and the final batter he faced in the major leagues. Some opponents had uncommon success against "The Sandman," and they share their secrets for hitting him. Most, however, echo the sentiments of five-time All-Star Mike Sweeney: "When you're at Yankee Stadium and Mariano Rivera is coming in the game, it feels like a horror movie . . . when you hear the music and you're scared to death, because you know what's going to happen."