Rivera smiled when he saw manager Joe Girardi summon both Jeter and Pettitte to make the walk over the infield grass and pull the closer from his familiar perch one last time in front of the sold-out crowd. He broke into tears when his longtime teammates hugged him as cheers and chants of MA-RI-AN-O MA-RI-AN-O filled the Bronx stadium.
As Jeter approached Rivera — after Mo's symbolic relief outing was through— he simply said to the 19-year veteran, "Time to go."
As YES announcer Michael Kay put it, "Tears and perfection."
Rivera then slowly walked to the dugout, tipped his cap to the adoring crowd and embraced his former battery-mate Girardi before walking through a gauntlet of hugs and heartfelt well-wishes from other teammates standing along the bench as the ovation continued.