The New York Mets made Mariano Rivera's last Subway Series appearance at Citi Field one of his most memorable. That is unless you don't include his presumed appearance in this summer's All-Star Game where he will be feted by Major League Baseball inside the same Flushing ballpark.
The legendary New York Yankees closer announced he would be retiring following the 2013 season. So the Mets — never ones not to remind their fans of what they don't have — asked the future Hall of Famer a few hours before Tuesday night's game if Rivera would honor his crosstown rivals by throwing out the fist pitch. In an honor usually reserved for everyone from heroic soldiers and retired players down the list to Hooters girls, the Sandman accepted.
After a 91-minute rain delay. Mo tossed to the ball into the mitt of Mets' Hall of Famer John Franco before a riveting pitching duel between seasoned vet Hiroki Kuroda and young phenom Matt Harvey. It might have been the only pitch Rivera wishes he threw last night.
Rivera entered the game in the bottom of the ninth inning with the Yankees leading, 1-0. Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy led off the inning with an opposite-field, ground-rule double down the left-field line. David Wright followed with a line-drive single up the middle that scored Murphy while Wright took second on a play at the plate. Then, outfielder Lucas Duda lifted a single into right to drive in Wright with the winning run.
In a night that started pleasantly enough with a party for Rivera — including being presented with a fire hose nozzle for being the "ultimate fireman" — it ended with him watching with head down from the mound as the Mets celebrated a walk-off win.
As usual, Rivera took the 2-1 loss and his first blown save in 19 tries this season with a dose of humility and humor.
"What can I say?" he said afterwards. "It was a great game until I got into the game."
Just another reason rival teams don't mind honoring the all-time saves leader.