Unless the Yankees mount a big late-season comeback to sneak into the playoffs, Mariano Rivera's Hall of Fame career will come to an end one week from today. The greatest reliever in baseball history is retiring after the season, and the Yankees celebrated their closer with a pregame ceremony on Sunday afternoon.
The entire ceremony lasted nearly a full hour and was broken down in several parts. First, the team re-retired No. 42 in honor of Jackie Robinson and retired it for Rivera as well. It's not often an active player has his number retired, but Rivera is not your typical active player. Here's the number retirement ceremony:
Next, the Yankees brought a number of Rivera's former teammates and close friends onto the field. Among them were Bernie Williams, Paul O'Neill, Jeff Nelson, Tino Martinez, Hideki Matsui, Jorge Posada and Joe Torre. Here are the introductions:
Metallica was on hand to play a live version of Enter Sandman -- Rivera's long-time warmup song -- as Rivera walked out of the bullpen and towards the infield for the ceremony. There's no video of that unfortunately, but trust me when I say it was pretty awesome.
The Yankees then gave Rivera a bevy of gifts, including a neat rocking chair and a $100,000 donation for his charity. The visiting Giants, who have a number of former Yankees on their coaching staff, gave Rivera a Metallica guitar autographed by Willie Mays. Can't imagine there are many of those out there. Here is the gift-giving portion of the ceremony:
And finally, here is Rivera saying thank you to the fans and many others:
What a marvelous ceremony. Fitting for an all-time great player and person.