Thursday, September 26, 2013

'Tears and perfection' as Mariano says goodbye to Yankee Stadium for the last time (VIDEO)

Mariano Rivera's last ever appearance on the mound at Yankee Stadium lived up to the emotional Exit Sandman hype it was built up to be Thursday night.  The beloved New York Yankees closer threw four outs of no hit ball before Derek Jeter and Andy Pettitte — the two other last remaining members of the famed Core Four — came out to make a pitching change with two outs in the ninth.

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.

Farewell Sandman.

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