Sunday, September 22, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Quite a Cere-Mo-ny
By Matt Ehalt
NEW YORK -- Mariano Rivera received a sendoff deserving of the greatest closer in baseball history.
The Yankees honored the retiring closer with a beautiful 50-minute ceremony before Sunday's game against the Giants. Rivera received a bevy of gifts, and Metallica played a live rendition of Rivera's entrance song, "Enter Sandman."
RETIRED NUMBER: Rivera's No. 42 has been officially retired across baseball since 1997, but the No. 42 in Monument Park had been in Dodger blue in honor of Jackie Robinson. Sunday, the Yankees changed the colors on the 42 to Yankees blue in honor of Rivera. Rivera is the last player in baseball to wear No. 42. Robinson's wife, Rachel, and his daughter, Sharon, were in attendance. The Yankees also added a new Robinson plaque to the wall in Monument Park.
METALLICA PERFORMS: It may not have been a well-kept secret, but Metallica rocked Yankee Stadium with a rendition of "Enter Sandman." Rivera walked to the mound from the bullpen as Metallica played in center field.
EVERYONE SHOWS UP: The Yankees brought back quite a few former Yankees to honor Rivera, including John Wetteland, Hideki Matsui, Jorge Posada and Bernie Williams, among others. Former Yankees manager Joe Torre also attended, as did former GM Gene Michael.
GIANTS CHIP IN: The Giants gave Rivera a water color painting showcasing him pitching in San Francisco, as well as a custom-made guitar they designed with help from Metallica. Rivera was presented the gifts by former Yankees, including former closer Dave Righetti and Hensley "Bam-Bam" Meulens.
MORE GIFTS: The Yankees presented Rivera with a rocking chair made of broken bats as well as a $100,000 check to his charity. He was also given a crystal replica of his glove.
YOUR DAY: New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg officially named Sunday "Mariano Rivera Day."
ON THE FIELD: The field had "42" painted into the grass in foul territory along the first- and third-base lines.
A SWITCH: Rivera, in a reversal of roles, caught the ceremonial first pitch from Posada.