Exit Sandman

Baseball has afforded me the opportunity to watch many of it’s finest moments.  I will always remember watching Hank Aaron hit #714 and # 715 to tie and then break Babe Ruth’s home run record.  I will never forget seeing base hit #4192 land in the left-centerfield and watching as a tearful Pete Rose embraced his son at first base.  And who could forget Kirk Gibson limping around the bases after hitting the most remarkable home run of his career?

In spite of the steroids, scandals, and suspensions, this has been a wonderful generation of baseball filled with epic moments.  Last night, Major League Baseball added another chapter to it’s storybook of touching moments.  Mariano Rivera pitched for the final time in Yankee Stadium.  With 652 career saves, Number 42 came  into the game in the 8th inning and did what a Hall of Fame closer does.  He got batters out.

Rivera pitched in the 9th inning as well, but after recording two outs the Yankees made a pitching change that we never be forgotten.  Instead of manager Joe Girardi coming to the mound to pull Rivera, he sent long time teammates, Andy Pettitte and Derek Jeter to the hill.  When Pettitte took the ball from Rivera the two embraced and the flood of emotion that has been building in Rivera all season finally began to pour out.  In a rare display of raw human emotion, Mariano Rivera sobbed as he clung to his teammates in front of a roaring Yankee Stadium crowd who cheered for and wept with the “Sandman.”

As I watched yet another wonderful baseball memory being made I couldn’t help but think that this is what sports are all about.  This is the kind of story that I want my kids and grandkids to see.  I’m so tired of PED’s, DUI’s, and 50 game suspensions grabbing the highlights and headlines.  I want my kids and grandkids to have the baseball that I had as a kid.  I called my wife into the room and she and I, along with our son, watched this endearing moment unfold on television.  “Thank You” Mo, and “Thank You” baseball for showing us again just what makes you great.

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