In tearful final game, Rivera bids goodbye to Yankees' pinstripes
By Ronald Blum ,APNEW YORK -- As the cheers and chants for a sobbing Mariano Rivera shook Yankee Stadium, his long-time teammate Derek Jeter walked to the pitcher's mound and delivered the message no one really wanted to hear.
September 28, 2013, 12:05 am TWN
“It's time to go,” the Yankees captain appeared to tell his old pal.
Baseball's most acclaimed relief pitcher made an emotional exit in his final appearance in the Yankees' home pinstripes when Jeter and Andy Pettitte came from the dugout to remove him with two outs in the ninth inning of a 4-0 loss to Tampa Bay on Thursday.
During four minutes of a thunderous ovation from the sellout crowd 48,675, an overcome Rivera bawled as he buried his head on the shoulder of Pettitte, who also is retiring when the season ends Sunday. Pettitte gave Rivera a 30-second bear hug, and Jeter followed with a 15-second embrace.
“I was bombarded with emotions and feeling that I couldn't describe,” he said after the game, flanked by his wife and three sons. “Everything hit at that time. I knew that was the last time. Period. I never felt like that before.”
It was one of those special Yankees scenes that will join Lou Gehrig's farewell speech, Babe Ruth's last ballpark appearance, Mickey Mantle Day, the first game after Thurman Munson's death and the finale at the old stadium across 161st Street as moments to cherish and remember.
There was hardly a dry eye in the ballpark. The Yankees and Rays stood in tribute while fans blinked back tears, honoring the closer who turns 44 in November.
His voice cracking after the game, Yankees manager Joe Girardi said he conceived the idea in the eighth inning of including Jeter and Pettitte.
“I've never seen a player pull another player, so I had to ask. And then one of them was on the DL,” he said.
Girardi conferred with plate umpire Laz Diaz before the ninth, and Diaz consulted with crew chief Mike Winters.