Exclusive Q&A with Panama’s President, Ricardo Martinelli
July 29, 2013 – As part of our tribute to the legendary Mariano Rivera in the September Issue of Yankees Magazine, we will be publishing a Q&A with Panama’s president, Ricardo Martinelli.
On Saturday, Martinelli was at Yankee Stadium to visit with Rivera, who was born and raised in Panama. After visiting with Rivera for about an hour in the Yankees clubhouse, Martinelli sat down with me for an exclusive interview about the great Panamanian closer.
You’ll have wait until September to read the entire interview. But below are some of my favorite parts of the conversation.
YM: What are your thoughts on how the baseball community has celebrated Mariano this year in the United States?
RM: Every time I speak with President Obama, the first thing we discuss is Mariano Rivera and what he has done. I’m very grateful to the baseball teams and fans in the United States for recognizing him they way they have. It’s great patronage and a great honor to someone who truly deserves it.
YM: In a recent interview with Mariano, he mentioned that his great humility comes from his upbringing. Would you discuss the way he has carries himself?
RM: He’s always been a man with deep religious beliefs. He’s a man that’s done so much for humanity, and he’s made the world we live in a better place. Mariano’s dedication to his family shows the type of character he has. He’s a man of family, a man of hard work and a man who is dedicated to doing things the right way. Future generations will look up to Mariano.
YM: Would you discuss the sense of pride that Panamanians take in Mariano’s success?
RM: He’s one of us. When you talk about somebody who comes from your country and has done something remarkable, you immediately feel a huge sense of pride. Panamanians feel that because Mariano came from humble beginnings and went on to become a legendary baseball player, they too can succeed in whatever they put their minds to. Mariano learned the value of hard work from his father, and he has earned everything he has in life in an admirable way. We are very proud of him for that.
–Alfred Santasiere III