Mariano Rivera pitched his final game at Yankees Stadium on Thursday night against Tampa Bay. The legendary closer, who walked to the mound to the sound of his theme song, "Enter Sandman," was called off by longtime teammates Andy Pettitte and Derek Jeter before returning to the dugout. He then came out to the field again for an emotional curtain call.
Rivera's number, 42, was retired on the 22nd, making him the first active Yankee to have the honor. The "greatest closer who ever lived" (652 saves) ended his final home game with a loss to Tampa Bay, but with the Yankees already out of the playoffs, the scoreboard seemed beside the point. Last night's game was his 1,114th.
The 13-time All Star told ESPN:
"I don't know how I got those last few guys out. I don't know what I was doing," Rivera admitted after the game, adding not even a trip to the trainer's room to compose himself between the eighth and ninth did the trick. "Everything started hitting -- all the flashbacks, everything that led to this moment ... I was just bombarded with emotions.
"I knew this was the last time. Period."