09/22: Mariano Rivera Honored by Yankees with Gifts, Past Greats and Metallica

Posted by: Patrick
Today's game against the Giants is the beginning of Mariano Rivera's final regular season home stand as a ballplayer. The Yankees held a 50 minute long ceremony to honor the retiring closer, featuring gifts, former teammates of Rivera and a performance by rock band Metallica.

The ceremony began with Rivera at the newly unveiled "42" in Monument Park, in honor of his number being retired by the Yankees. Introduced onto the field were a selection of guests from Rivera's present and past. This included Gene Michael, Jeff Nelson, David Cone, John Wetteland, Paul O'Neil, Bernie Williams, Jorge Posada, Hideki Matsui, Gene Monahan and Joe Torre. Rivera's wife, Clara, and sons, Mariano, Jafet and Jaziel were escorted out by Derek Jeter. Jackie Robinson's wife, Rachel, and daughter, Sharon, were similarly escorted onto the field by Robinson Cano.

Once everyone was on the field, the Yankees played a video tribute to Rivera, featuring the man himself alongside teammates, coaches and his manager, Joe Girardi.

To introduce Rivera to the field, Metallica played "Enter Sandman" live. Their hit song has long been the introduction music for Rivera and this was no different. Decked out in Yankee jerseys with "Metallica" on the front in script, they dedicated the song to the closer. Instead of his usual jog, he walked the entire length of the field to the front of the infield where the presentation was taking place.

His current teammates stood in front of the home dugout while the visiting Giants stood on the other side. On behalf of San Francisco, four former Yankees on the Giants coaching staff - Dave Righetti, Hensley Meulens, Roberto Kelly and Joe Lefebvre - presented Rivera with a painting depicting his appearance in AT&T Park in 2007, a customized guitar and a $4,200 donation to his foundation.

Metallica came on the field, congratulating Rivera and giving him a customized amp with Yankee pinstripes.

The Yankees presented him with a $100,000 check for his foundation, a baseball bat rocking chair, a matted replica of the retired number circle in Monument Park and a Waterford Crystal replica of his glove, the last of which was from the Steinbrenner family, with Hank Steinbrenner, Hal Steinbrenner and Jennifer Steinbrenner-Swindal on hand.

When it was Rivera's time to speak, the team joined the others in the center of the field for his speech.

He thanked his family, his teammates, the organization and members of it, saying that he wished George Steinbrenner was still here and that he missed him. He thanked his home country of Panama, America for allowing him the opportunity to have this career and Yankees fans for being "the best" fans. Once the Yankees release video of the festivities, we'll have them.

Update: Watch video from the ceremony.

Meanwhile, Bryan Hoch reports that New York mayor Michael Bloomberg proclaimed today as "Mariano Rivera Day" in the City of New York. The first pitch was supposed to be thrown by Rivera to Posada, but Rivera decided that he wanted to catch for Posada and so they made the switch and Posada threw out the first pitch for the game.

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