Thursday night I had the privilege of seeing the career of the great Mariano Rivera come to a close. I say privileged because Rivera is truly one of baseball’s great people. I was trying to write an article on how it was moving, epic, or amazing, but honestly words cannot even come close to describing the feeling I had seeing him go.
I’ve been watching baseball as long as I can remember. My first MLB memory is coming out of the tunnel and seeing the green grass of Yankee Stadium as a 6 year old kid. The first full season I can somewhat remember is 1995, which was Mariano’s first season; point being, I’ve grown up watching Mariano.
Yankee fans my age have been spoiled rotten. We’ve had a baseball-less October two times since 1994, seen five World Series wins, seven pennants, and countless AL East Division Titles. The Yankee way of considering a season to be a unsuccessful one if there’s no parade down the Canyon of Heroes is ingrained in our baseball DNA, and Rivera is a part of all of that.
There was a brief moment in his final game, when Mo took mound again to warm up before the ninth inning, where the crowd died down to a hushed tone. It was as if 50,000 people all had the same thought of “this is the last time Mariano will ever be on this mound.” It was the saddest feeling I’ve ever felt watching a baseball game. Even the feeling of seeing my last game in the old Yankee Stadium (I loved that place) pales in comparison to Mariano’s night.
Lucky. Honored. Privileged. All words I can use to describe watching Rivera work his craft for his entire career. We will never see another player like him.
I’m not going to try to sum up his career in a sentence, a paragraph, or even a novel. It can’t be done.
All I can say is:
Thanks for the memories Mo.