News

Rivera overcome with emotion in Yankees farewell

Rivera overcome with emotion in Yankees farewell

Mariano Rivera bids farewell after 19 years in Major League Baseball. Photo: Reuters

By Julian Linden

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The emotion finally got to Mariano Rivera on Thursday.

After playing it super-cool during his 19 years in Major League Baseball, his final game at Yankee Stadium proved too much.

Baseball’s greatest closer was reduced to tears, sobbing uncontrollably on the mound as the enormity of the occasion hit him. And he was not alone.

His team mates and the Yankees manager Joe Girardi were also overcome with raw emotion, as they embraced him on the field then in the dugout.

In the stands, which were packed as the Yankees faithful came out to bid farewell to one of their greatest champions, more tears flowed.

The crowd rose to their feet, chanting Rivera’s nickname “Mo” as more than tens of thousands of camera flashes lit up the Bronx.

“It definitely was a magic moment,” said Rivera, who rose from poverty in his native Panama to be one of the most revered players in America’s favorite pasttime.

When the game was over, the 43-year-old returned to the pitcher’s mound for one last time, scooping up a handful of dirt which he put in his pocket as the memories of his spectacular career came flooding back.

“I was bombarded with emotions and feelings I couldn’t describe. Everything hit. I knew that was the last time, period,” he said.

Girardi, his eyes still welling with tears long after the game had finished, told reporters: “This is as good as it gets.

“It’s probably as special of a going-out for any player I’ve ever seen.”

The raw emotion of Rivera’s farewell added a touch of real poignancy to a game that had not gone as planned for the Yankees.

If the baseball gods had been kinder, Rivera might have been playing in another World Series, clinching the victory himself with a flawless final inning pitch.

But instead, there was nothing at stake for the Yankees because they had lost the previous day and were out of contention to make the playoffs.

Their opponents, the Tampa Bay Rays, were still fighting for a wildcard so could not afford to join in the sentiment, and thrashed the Yankees 4-0.

With the Yankees so far behind, Rivera did not have the chance to add to his record tally of 652 career saves.

Normally he would not have pitched at all, but this was a special occasion for the last MLB player allowed to wear No. 42, the same number as Jackie Robinson, the first black player to compete in the majors.

Girardi introduced Rivera into the game midway through the eighth inning. He entered the field, as he always does, as the strains of Metallica’s ‘Enter the Sandman’ – Rivera’s entrance song – blasted through the stadium’s sound system.

Suddenly, the result of the game did not seem to matter. It was almost as though time stood still as Rivera produced some of his old magic, pitching an inning and a third.

He gave up no hits and no runs. The Rays applauded him just as warmly and enthusiastically as the people in the stands.

When his time was called, it came in an unexpected fashion that tugged at the heart strings. Derek Jeter and Andy Pettitte, two of Rivera’s oldest friends, walked out on the mound together, to take him out of the game.

Pettitte and Jeter both hugged him and it was only then that Rivera, who has been on a seemingly endless farewell tour since announcing his retirement at the start of the year, finally lost control of his emotions.

“It was really cool and we’ve had some great moments here,” said Pettitte.

“He broke down and gave me a bear hug and I just bear hugged him back. He was really crying, he was really weeping.”

Recent Headlines

7 hours ago in Entertainment

Jim Beam fills 14 millionth bottle of bourbon

jimbeam807686855761

Jim Beam has filled and sealed its 14 millionth barrel of bourbon since the 1933 repeal of Prohibition, achieving a first in the bourbon industry.

7 hours ago in Music

Stone Temple Pilots shoot down Scott Stapp rumors

scottstapp

Stone Temple Pilots have denied reports suggesting the former Creed rocker is set to become their new lead vocalist.

7 hours ago in Entertainment, Viral Videos

‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ as told by emojis

11-overlay-2

If the blockbuster movie was told entirely by characters on your cell phone.

7 hours ago in Entertainment, Weird

‘Rock’ your clock

dwaynetherockjohnson690454149554

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson has an app to help you organize their day.

7 hours ago in Entertainment, Sports

Hulk Hogan seeks second slam of Gawker over racist comments leak

Terry Bollea, known as professional wrestler Hulk Hogan, listens while testifying in his case against the news website Gawker at the Pinellas County Courthouse, in St. Petersburg, Fla., Monday, March 7, 2016. Hogan is suing Gawker for $100 million for publishing a video of him having sex with his best friend's wife. (Boyzell Hosey/Tampa Bay Times via AP, Pool)

Hulk Hogan accused Gawker of leaking his racist remarks in a lawsuit filed in Florida on Monday involving a secretly-recorded sex tape of the wrestling celebrity, who recently won $140 million in damages against the media website in a related case.