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

in Local Sports

Prep Football Scoreboard: Week 3

Updated
high school football scoreboard dl

All the scores from around the Northwest Conference

in Local Sports

4 homers propel Mariners over Astros 10-5

Seattle Mariners' Robinson Cano, right, follows the flight of his two-run single off Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher David Price during the third inning of a baseball game Monday, June 9, 2014, in St. Petersburg, Fla. Mariners' Willie Bloomquist, and John Buck scored on the hit. Catching for the Rays is Jose Molina.

Dustin Ackley hit two solo homers, and Mike Zunino and Kyle Seager each hit three-run shots in a seven-run fourth inning as the Seattle Mariners cruised to a 10-5 win over the Houston Astros.

in Sports

Florida State suspends Winston for entire game against Clemson

Florida State's Jameis Winston (5) warms up before the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship NCAA football game between Florida State and Duke in Charlotte, N.C., Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013.

Florida State interim President Garnett S. Stokes and athletics director Stan Wilcox have announced that quarterback Jameis Winston will be suspended for the entire game against Clemson on Saturday.

in Local Sports

WWU men’s golf leads at Saint Martin’s

western washington logo generic copy/wwu

Western Washington University holds a five-shot lead after 36 holes Friday at the Saint Martin's University Invitational Men's Golf Tournament.

in Sports

Goodell apologizes & plans to implement new policies following Ray Rice incident

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell pauses as he speaks during a news conference Friday, Sept. 19, 2014, in New York. Goodell says the NFL wants to implement new personal conduct policies by the Super Bowl. The league has faced increasing criticism that it has not acted quickly or emphatically enough concerning the domestic abuse cases. The commissioner reiterated that he botched the handling of the Ray Rice case.

At a news conference Friday, Goodell made his first public statements in more than a week about the rash of NFL players involved in domestic violence.