Mariano Rivera Tearfully Says Goodbye To Yankees Fans; A-Rod Quietly Slithers Way

Last night, in front of a capacity crowd, Mariano Rivera walked off the mound for the final time at Yankee Stadium. The 43-year-old closer, and sure-fire Hall of Famer, was lifted with two outs in the ninth inning. Instead of manager Joe Girardi taking him out of the game, teammates Derek Jeter and Andy Pettitte came out to embrace their longtime friend to a standing ovation. Rivera tearfully walked off the mound and tipped his cap to the appreciative fans in attendance.

Girardi decided that evening that he’d like for Jeter and Pettitte to go out and pull Rivera from the game. However, he’d never seen it done before, and Jeter is actually not on the active roster as he’s currently on the DL and out for the season. The Yankees skipper conferred with the umpires, who said that they were ok with it. Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon also had no issues with the plan. The resulting moment that occurred will go down as one of the more emotional and touching moments in baseball history, as Rivera was unable to control his emotions and broke down while hugging Pettitte. Pettite, Jeter and Rivera all came up together with the Yankees in 1995.

Last night, in front of a capacity crowd, Mariano Rivera walked off the mound for the final time at Yankee Stadium. The 43-year-old closer, and sure-fire Hall of Famer, was lifted with two outs in the ninth inning. Instead of manager Joe Girardi taking him out of the game, teammates Derek Jeter and Andy Pettitte came out to embrace their longtime friend to a standing ovation. Rivera tearfully walked off the mound and tipped his cap to the appreciative fans in attendance.

Girardi decided that evening that he’d like for Jeter and Pettitte to go out and pull Rivera from the game. However, he’d never seen it done before, and Jeter is actually not on the active roster as he’s currently on the DL and out for the season. The Yankees skipper conferred with the umpires, who said that they were ok with it. Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon also had no issues with the plan. The resulting moment that occurred will go down as one of the more emotional and touching moments in baseball history, as Rivera was unable to control his emotions and broke down while hugging Pettitte. Pettite, Jeter and Rivera all came up together with the Yankees in 1995.

While Rivera went out as a hero, to the love and appreciation of the fans, another longtime Yankee and all-time great slithered away quietly. While the Yankees would love for Rivera to come back and pitch another season or two, as he’s still highly effective despite his age (2.11 ERA, 1.047 WHiP, 44 saves), another highly-paid player finds himself nowhere near as loved and wanted. Alex Rodriguez reportedly asked the team if he can bow out of the last series with Houston so he can prepare for his arbitration hearing of his 211-game suspension. Arbitration proceedings start on Monday. A-Rod did not play last night, so his last appearance was Wednesday, when he went 0-3 with 2 strikeouts.

Much has been written about A-Rod’s suspension and upcoming arbitration, so I will not rehash it here. However, knowing that he’d be able to play the rest of the regular season, A-Rod wanted to come in and be the savior of the team. He wanted to lift up the struggling Yankees, get them to the postseason, and make the switch from despised villain to beloved savior. In the end, it didn’t turn out that way. While Rodriguez did play well for a short stretch, and the Yankees made a run at the Wild Card for a while, it all came down with a thud the past couple of weeks.

A-Rod made his season debut with the Yanks on August 5th. By September 10th, his batting line was .301/.388/.496 with 5 HRs in 30 games. The Yankees record stood at 77-68 and they were thick in the Wild Card race. Since then, A-Rod has gone 4 for 43 (.093) with 2 HRs and 15 strikeouts in 13 games. The Yankees record is now 82-77 and they are officially eliminated from playoff contention. For the season, A-Rod is hitting .244/.348/.423 with 7 HRs and 19 RBI in 44 games. When it is all said and done, Rodriguez didn’t do anything to help the Yankees this season. He was just another overpaid disappointment.

Now, he gets to go restart the drama that was omnipresent earlier this year. During October and November, we are going to get more of A-Rod and his lawyers grabbing the media spotlight. We will see more of Joe Tacopina discussing how A-Rod is being railroaded by MLB and the Yankees. We’ll hear more conspiracy theories. Once again, Rodriguez will become everyone’s least favorite athlete. He tried to become the hero this past month, and it didn’t work. Back to being the villain.

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