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Greetings from Panama! My name is Marina Ehrman and I have been a professional tour guide and promoter for Panama Tourism and Travel Company since 2005. I love what I do and am proud to share what my country has to offer. It is filled with endless leisure and commercial attractions, friendly happy people who open their doors to all visitors. Panama is a country of incomparable natural beauty with a variety of tourist attractions, beautiful beaches in the Pacific and Caribbean. The tropical climate year round with its diversified flora, fauna and indigenous groups make it one of the most important of Ecotourism in Latin America. I invite you to know our country’s history, culture and also enjoy the cuisine, folklore and traditions that only a place in the world can provide………Panama! Contact me and I’ll organize your visit and will be happy to welcome you in Panama. For more information on Panama, follow my Facebook page and my blog. Visit www.panamatourismtravel.com

Mariano Rivera


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New York Yankee closer Mariano Rivera’s save number 602 may well have been the most anticlimactic record breaking moment in major league baseball history. Everyone knew that barring some disaster or injury it was inevitable.

And Rivera did not need to break Trevor Hoffman’s record of 601 saves to prove that he is the greatest closer of all-time. He has already proven it time and again over the course of 17 seasons, 15 trips to the post season and seven World Series.
All Rivera did while breaking the record was reaffirm his greatness.

Baseball is full of record breaking moments. Usually when they happen baseball historians are quick to debate.

They ask who was better, the player who had the record or the one who broke it? Or how does the record compare to other records? Was it thought to be unbreakable or just a number for others to shoot for?
There was none of this with Rivera. Everyone knows that he is a better closer than Hoffman. And everyone knows that when he is done the record may very well last for a long time.
Looking back what other record breaking moments seemed anticlimactic?
Not many.
When San Francisco Giant Barry Bonds hit home run number 756 to break Henry Aaron’s record, it was met more with disdain than joy by many. The fans in San Francisco who saw it were thrilled, but many did not celebrate Bonds’ accomplishments because of the long shadow of performance enhancing drugs which dogged him.
When the 1976 Cincinnati Reds became the first team to sweep the league championship and World Series it was thought to be a great accomplishment, but the Reds were defending world champions and better that season than they were in 1975. Many predicted that they would go undefeated in the post season.
Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Orel Hershiser set the record for consecutive scoreless innings in 1988 with 59 breaking the record of 58 2/3 by former Dodger Don Drysdale in 1968. While Drysdale’s record was celebrated then and for the next 20 years, Hershiser’s was met with less excitement for two reasons.

First he set it on the west coast while most of America was asleep.
Second he had such a great post season in leading the Dodgers to a world’s championship that people remember him more for that.

On the day that Rickey Henderson set the all-time stolen base record in 1990 it was the lead story until pitcher Nolan Ryan threw his record setting seventh no hitter that night. Everyone knew that Henderson was going to set his record, but no one knew Ryan would throw another no hitter.

At the time that all of these records were set each was considered to be a great moment. And each begged the question of what was the players place in history and where did the record rank.
Not Mariano Rivera’s saves record. Mo already had his place in history.This made a great moment seem anticlimactic.

Biography

   
Lulling hitters into a false security with his fluid, effortless-looking delivery, Mariano Rivera's explosive fastball thrust him into a critical role on the 1996 World Champion Yankees with less than half a year of major-league experience. A year later, he established himself one of the league's top closers after reigning World Series MVP John Wetteland signed with the Texas Rangers.
The son of a fisherman, Rivera was born in 1969 in Panama City, Panama. He signed with the Yankees in February of 1990 and immediately opened some eyes by posting a 0.17 ERA in 52 innings for the Yankees' Single-A affiliate in Tampa.


In the minor leagues, Rivera rarely spent time in the bullpen. His major league debut in May 1995 came as a starter, facing All-Star lefthander Chuck Finley in Anaheim Stadium. Finley struck out 15 as the Angels pasted Rivera for five runs and eight hits in 3 1/3 innings. But Rivera picked up his first major league win five days later against the A's in a 4-1 win at the Oakland Coliseum.

In his first season with New York, Rivera appeared in nineteen games, starting ten, and although he finished with a 5.51 ERA he showed flashes of his burgeoning talent. His most impressive start of the season came against Chicago on July 4, when he struck out eleven White Sox (the most by a Yankee rookie since Al Leiter in 1988) in a two-hit shutout at Comiskey Park.
Rivera, who spent most of the month of June in Columbus, nursing a sore shoulder, had nearly been traded to the slumping Detroit Tigers for starter David Wells. "I didn't say yes, and I didn't say no," Yankee GM Gene Michael said of the Tigers' offer. "I'm glad I didn't have to." When Rivera's velocity hit 96 MPH in a rain-shortened, five-inning no-hitter in Triple-A, Michael's mind was made up. Rivera was staying.

By the end of the season, Rivera had shown manager Buck Showalter enough for the Yankee skipper to keep him on the team's post-season roster when New York clinched a wild-card berth. In the Yankees' harrowing five-game loss to Seattle in the Division Series, Rivera came of age. Pitching three times against a fearsome Mariners lineup, Rivera was the Yankees' most reliable arm in the series, hurling 5 1/3 scoreless innings while striking out eight, including a key whiff of Mike Blowers with the bases loaded in Game Five.
By the following season, the Yankees had concluded that Rivera wouldn't survive as a starter without another dependable pitch to complement his devastating fastball. When Rivera began mowing down American League hitters with regularity, shifting the slender right-hander to the bullpen looked like a stroke of genius. Although Rivera occasionally worked in a slider or changeup, he relied almost exclusively on a rising fastball that routinely topped 95 miles per hour. With little need to throw pitches out of the strike zone, Rivera simply dared batters to hit the fastball. Far more often than not, they couldn't.
As the setup man for closer John Wetteland, Rivera gave the Yankees an airtight bullpen tandem. Most often, if New York could keep a lead through six innings, the game was over. Rivera would pitch the seventh and eighth, and Wetteland closed the door in the ninth. Indeed, Rivera enjoyed such dominance in his new setup role that people began touting him as a Cy Young and MVP candidate.
His numbers for the year were eye-popping. His 130 strikeouts were the most ever for a Yankee reliever. In 107 2/3 innings Rivera allowed just 73 hits (right handed batters hit just .157 against him) and only one home run. While winning eight games and saving five against three defeats, Rivera posted a 2.09 ERA. From April 19 through May 21 he threw 26 consecutive scoreless innings, a stretch which included fifteen straight hitless innings. Only ten of 61 first batters he faced that season managed to reach base.
In the playoffs that season, Rivera was even better. He pitched 4 2/3 scoreless innings against Texas in the Divisional Series, and hung up four goose eggs against Baltimore in the League Championship Series (picking up the win with two innings in New York's Game One, Jeffrey Maier-aided triumph). "Reminded me of myself a long time ago," said teammate Dwight Gooden of Rivera's performance. In the World Series against the heavily favored Atlanta Braves, Rivera allowed just one run in 5 2/3 innings, pitching a scoreless eighth in the Yankees' 3-2 title-clinching win in Game Six.
Although 1997 wasn't the unqualified success the previous season had been, it was a crucial year in the course of Rivera's career. John Wetteland had signed with Texas in December 1996, leaving the Yankees' ninth-inning fortunes in Rivera's hands. At first, Rivera struggled with the pressure of his new role, blowing three of his first four save opportunities, including the home opener. But Rivera righted himself soon enough; his 27 saves at the midseason break earned him his first trip to the All-Star Game. By retiring Charles Johnson, Mark Grace, and Moises Alou, Rivera became the first Yankee to save a Midsummer Classic. For the season he ended up with 43 saves in 52 chances; although his ERA dropped to 1.88, opponents' batting average rose from .189 to .237 and his strikeout totals fell below one an inning.
Probably the worst moment of Rivera's young career came in Game Four of a Division Series dogfight against the Cleveland Indians at Jacobs Field. The Yankees led the Series two games to one, and were four outs away from advancing to the LCS when Torre called on Rivera to take over from Mike Stanton to preserve a one-run lead against the Tribe. Rivera promptly gave up an opposite-field home run to Sandy Alomar, Jr. that fell just beyond the reach of rightfielder Paul O'Neill, tying the game and reviving the Indians. Cleveland won the game in the bottom of the ninth and pulled out another close victory in Game Five to send the discouraged New Yorkers home for the winter.
Forged in the crucible of that bitter defeat, however, was the resolution that inspired an extraordinary 1998 season. Rivera, now fully acclimated to the closer's role, saved 36 games in 41 opportunities, allowing just 48 hits in 61 1/3 innings as the Yankees set an American League record with 114 wins. The playoffs seemed a mere formality, and the Yankees lost just two games en route to their 24th world championship. Rivera, whose first cousin Ruben sat in the opposing dugout for the NL Champion Padres, was at his dominating best, allowing no runs while saving three games.
1999 brought more of the same for the man now generally regarded as the top closer in baseball. He saved 45 games out of 49 opportunities, including his final 22 chances. By developing a cut fastball, Rivera became a more efficient pitcher, relying less on strikeouts and more on the aid of his defense. Winning his third world championship with the Yankees, Rivera was awarded World Series MVP for collecting two saves and one victory against the Atlanta Braves. After tossing 12 scoreless innings in the Yankees' playoff run, his career 0.38 post-season ERA (two runs in 47 1/3 innings) ranked as the lowest in baseball history.
A deeply religious man, Rivera financed the construction of a church in his native Panama City and can often be seen reading the Bible in the Yankees' clubhouse. At a church service honoring him in Panama after the 1999 season, he announced that he would spend four more years in baseball and then retire to become an evangelical minister.
Despite losing in arbitration to the Yankees in February 2000, Rivera's new $7.25 million contract was the most money ever awarded in an arbitration settlement. (AGL)

The Pollera from Panama


The Pollera the national costume of Panama and one of the most beautiful and most admired typical dresses of the world.

The formal pollera, used for festive occasions and holidays, is made of fine white linen, cambric or voile. At least 12 yards of material is used to make a pollera. A traditional pollera has a pure white background so that the blended tints of embroidered designs will stand out. These designs traditionally are of flowers, birds, garlands, or other combinations of designs, preferably of native origin and feeling. Exquisite designs are made in cross-stitch or by the use of a more elegant needlework known as "talco en sombra," or applique which is characteristic of Panama. It consists of two pieces of material sewn together. A design is made on one piece of the fabric, the design is then carefully cut out and its edges turned under and sewn to the background with tiny invisible stitches.





The formal pollera consists of the blouse (wider than the montuna blouse), the skirt and the petticoat or petticoats, as one to as many as three are worn under the gown. The blouse of all three polleras is white and worn off the shoulder. For the formal dress, the blouse has a neck band at the top of the bodice made of the traditional "mundillo," a fine handmade bone lace made in the Interior of Panama, which is edged with a heavier lace. The band has openings in the front and in the back, where wool pompons are placed. The neck band is interwoven with wool, the same color as the pompons. Two ribbons, called "gallardetes," hang from the waist, one in front and one in the back, and match the color of the wool. The heelless shoes, soft slippers in velveteen or satin, are also the same color as the wool pompons. No stockings are worn

A beautifully embroidered ruffle of fine wide Valencian lace is attached to the mundillo band and falls to the middle of the bodice. Another ruffle is added under the first one and this falls to the waist, or to a little lower than the waist. Both of these ruffles are exquisitely embroidered or worked in applique. The blouse has push-up sleeves with an embroidered ruffle, also trimmed in lace.

The skirt of the formal pollera is always made of fine white material, fine enough for the handwork on the petticoats to show through. It is loose, full and long, reaching the ankles. The skirt is put together in two pieces; the upper section comes to the knees and is separated by an insertion of mundillo lace, with the material heavily gathered so it can be spread out and be admired. Twice as much fabric goes into the lower part of the skirt, making a circle. The edge of the skirt is trimmed with about 25 yards of lace, 4 or 5 inches wide. The magnificent skirt is gathered at the waist and tied by four narrow ribbons, two crossing in the front and two in the back, running through the button holes of two gold buttons at either side of the waist.

The petticoats are handmade of very fine white linen, as elaborate as the skirt, with laces, cutwork and embroidery.

The feet of the dressed up woman, are covered with shoes made from velvet, and don't have heels. This shoes, back in the times of the aristocracy, were adorned with gold clasps and it holds onto the feet with laces, and embroideries, making a contrast with the beauty and richness of the gold jewelry and the tipico dress.

The hairdress is an important part of the pollera. The hair is parted in the center and tightly pulled back behind the ears, forming two braids. The braids are covered with several pairs of tembleques
The woman’s head is decorated with curved combs, decorated in gold filigree; a main large tortoise shell comb decorated with repouss√© or engraved gold strips; and small decorative gold square temple patches (reminiscent of pain patches). Very elaborate gold earrings of a great variety are also worn. Around the combs on both sides and on the back of the head, natural white carnations are worn, or more commonly, delicate custom pearl bead flower, butterfly, or dragonfly shapes with gold or silver wire twists on pins cover the hair, resulting in a beautiful, elegant headdress.



About the jewelry that she carries, these are so attractive, of luxurious and expensive design, that anyone could say that the panamanian woman dressed with a pollera is one of riches, however, every piece, necklace, ring and peineta forms a part of her legacy that is kept and that will adorn the polleras of future generations.

Around the neck, a gold filigree choker with small flower shapes, a slightly longer black ribbon choker with a coin modal or a golden cross. The main necklace is the long, Flat Chain with flat intertwined links with beautiful pendants that hangs around mid-chest level. The Betwitching Chain, very similar to the flat chain necklace, despite being of a similar length, can be gathered in the palm of the hand. The Solomon chain, made of links in the shape of columns; the scapular and the rosary, all delicate and made of gold, also hang gracefully from the neck.