Mariano Rivera Day a Success Despite Loss to Giants • Latino Sports

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Mariano Rivera Day a Success Despite Loss to Giants

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*Featured Image Credit: Daniel Budasoff

Yankee Stadium, the Bronx- There are ceremonies, and then there are ceremonies as those put on by the New York Yankees.

For 49 minutes prior to the Yankees 2-1 loss to the San Francisco Giants, fans across the baseball rooting spectrum were treated once more to the greatness of Mariano Rivera’s career on what New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg proclaimed as “Mariano Rivera Day” in the city of New York.

Playing in his final season, the Yankees chose the last home day game of the year to celebrate Rivera’s 650 plus saves [Rivera has 652 currently] and counting by showering the legendary closer to a smorgasbord of gifts with a reunion of some of his equally storied teammates to join in on the festivities.

Present at the celebration were former Yankee pitchers Jeff Nelson, David Cone, and John Wetteland, along with the outfield combination of: Bernie Williams, Hideki Matsui, and Paul O’Neill. Former first baseman Tino Martinez and longtime catcher Jorge Posada also stood alongside Rivera as Derek Jeter escorted the rest of Rivera family onto the field.

“The whole thing was special. I wasn’t expecting something like that,” said Rivera, on the ceremony. “Seeing my ex-teammates and the whole stadium packed with a lot of flags and fellow Panamanians. [There were] a lot of emotions. It was more than what I was thinking.”

Rivera would have the honor of the ceremonial first pitch, which Posada caught just as had countless times in career as the backstop to four of Rivera’s five Yankees World Series championships.

Should this not have been enough for one of the most beloved members ever to wear Pinstripes, the Yankees also had the band Metallica play Rivera’s entrance song of “Enter Sandman” live instead of from the usual recording heard blaring from the speakers as Rivera made his way onto the field from the bullpen.

Exit light
Enter night
Take my hand
We’re off to never never-land

That verse above is usually the last one heard before a batter steps up to the plate to face Rivera, four lines of lyrics that tell a batter that his chance of success has greatly diminished.

For his accomplishments, Rivera received an ESP LTD Kirk Hammett KH-330 Guitar that the Giants worked with Metallica to design in recognition of Mariano’s entrance song. This guitar is the same one that Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett uses for almost every song during Metallica’s live shows and was hand painted with the Yankees interlocking NY logo, No. 42, the Giants interlocking SF logo and an image of the Golden Gate bridge, autographed by Giants’ great Willie Mays.

Rivera also had a plaque signifying him being the last current player to wear Jackie Robinson’s 42, a number retied throughout baseball in 1997. The plaque read” ‘Mo’ is the greatest closer in baseball history. He spent his entire career in Pinstripes from 1995-2013 and became the franchise leader in games pitched. Thriving under pressure, he amassed the most saves in postseason history. A 13-time All-Star, he retired as Baseball’s All-Time saves leader.”

“It is a great honor for me to be the last baseball player to ever wear No. 42,” Rivera said.

Rivera ended up pitching on his special day, entering with one out in the eighth inning with the Yankees trailing 2-1. Rivera tossed 1.2 scoreless innings giving up one hit while striking out one batter.

“The numbers speak for themselves. But the way he’s went about his business is something you wish that everyone could do,” said Yankees’ skipper Joe Girardi, who played with Rivera as his catcher from 1996-1999. “I would tell my son or my kids is this is an example of how you’re supposed to go about your work.”

Yankees’ starer Andy Pettitte made his last regular season home start of his career, and allowed two earned runs off two hits in seven innings pitched with one strikeout. Pettitte picked up the loss [10-11] despite pitching a perfect game through the first 4.2 innings until issuing a walk to Pablo Sandoval in the fifth inning.

San Francisco’s Ehire Adrianza hit his first career home run in the sixth inning off Pettitte that tied the game at 1-1.

The Yankees scored the first run of the game when Mark Reynolds belted his 20th homer of the season off Giants’ starter Yusmeiro Petit in the top of the third inning for an early 1-0 lead.

The Giants took the game in the top of the eighth inning when Tony Abreu provided the game-winning, RBI-double off Yankees’ reliever David Robertson scoring pinch-runner Nick Noonan from third base.

Abreu entered the at-bat hitting just .152 in his previous 33 attempts at the plate.

The Yankees had a chance to tie the game in the bottom of the eighth inning, but both Zoilo Almonte, and Robinson Cano were thrown out at home plate for the second and third outs of the inning.

Sergio Romo picked up his 36th save of the season with a perfect ninth inning, retiring all three batters that he faced. Romo now needs four more saves to become just the fourth Giant to record 40 saves in a season alongside: Rod Beck, Robb Nenn, and Brian Wilson.

About Oren Vourman

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