Yankees pitcher Mariano Rivera, the greatest closer of all time, is retiring after this season and he's been embarking on a farewell tour, meeting with fans and employees of opposing teams during Yankees' road games. Yesterday, he met Mets' fans and staffers and, tonight, the Mets have asked him to throw out the game's first pitch. (The game is still on, so far...)
Mets COO Jeff Wilpon also told him, "I wish we could see you in the World Series, but I'm not sure that's going to happen."
The NY Times described Rivera's visit with Mets fans and employees—and how special it was:
For the past 27 seasons as a Mets season-ticket holder, 76-year-old Gloria Feit has watched her team routinely overshadowed by the hated Yankees. It has not always been for Feit to be a Mets fan, especially because her husband is a Yankees fan.
It was painful watching the 2000 World Series and seeing Mariano Rivera throw the final pitch that would break many Mets fans’ hearts. Few players better represent the Yankees’ dominance over their city rivals than Rivera, who has converted 20 of 22 save opportunities against the Mets. For many Mets fans, Rivera will always symbolize a period when the Yankees undoubtedly were the kings of New York.
Yet when the opportunity came for Feit to be a part of a small gathering of Mets fans and employees to meet with Rivera as part of his farewell tour, Feit did not hesitate to accept.
“He’s one of the best,” Feit said. “I don’t know how I’d feel if it were any other Yankee. He’s probably the exception.”
“Where’s the drummer?” Rivera asked.
He wanted to finally meet the man who has kept a steady sports beat in Cleveland for 40 years, the guy sitting at the top of the bleachers year after year pounding away to spark a rally.
“Right here,” John Adams said, raising one of his drum sticks so the New York legend could see him in the back of the room.
“Hey, you the man,” Rivera said. “Being loyal, being there day in and day out. I really respect that.”
Adams replied: “This is stress relief for me. And you’ve given me a lot of stress.”
Um, it's dusty in here.