It’s Mariano Rivera Day at Yankee Stadium and the pregame tribute to the retiring Hall of Fame-bound closer could not have been cooler. Where to start?
Rivera got a big batch of gifts from the Yankees and the visiting San Francisco Giants, including another rocking chair made of bats, a crystal replica of his glove, a custom-designed guitar signed by Giants legend Willie Mays and a $100,000 check for the Mariano Rivera Foundation. Metallica played a live rendition of Mo’s walk-in song “Enter Sandman” and then gifted him a custom amp with his number on it.
Rivera also helped Rachel Robinson, the wife of Jackie Robinson, and her daughter Sharon, unveil a massive new No. 42 plaque at Monument Park.
No major leaguer will ever wear that number again once Mo throws the final pitch of his career.
“Thank you for 19 years of support,” Rivera told the emotional sold-out crowd at Yankee Stadium in a short-but-sweet speech. “It has been a great run, guys. You guys have been amazing. And you always have been here, for me and for the organization. And I will never forget that. You guys will have a part of my heart here in New York. And you have taken me in like one of you guys. And I do appreciate that.”
Jorge Posada, Bernie Williams, Paul O’Neill, Tino Martinez, Hideki Matsui, David Cone, John Wetteland and Jeff Nelson were among the baseball luminaries on hand. Joe Torre was also on-field for the ceremony.
Here’s a great photo of Mo walking in to the live playing of “Enter Sandman” from MLB Productions:
Free agent outfielder/slugger J.D. Martinez is reportedly seeking an outfield gig, says Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. According to Silverman’s sources, Martinez’s suitors have been informed that the veteran slugger would give preference to teams that can offer a corner outfield spot, rather than a DH-only role.
That could spell trouble for the Red Sox, who appear to be Martinez’s biggest suitors so far this offseason. Outfielders Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi are firmly established at the corners, and prior reports from club president Dave Dombrowski suggest that center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is not going anywhere anytime soon (thereby eliminating the possibility of reshuffling the outfield). The DH spot is still wide open for Martinez, who doesn’t seem to be totally closed off to the idea, but any full-time or part-time role on the field is likely off the table at this point.
Of course, the Red Sox aren’t the only ones pursuing Martinez’s services this winter. The 30-year-old slugger has been linked to both the Diamondbacks and Giants in weeks past, and while they have the roster flexibility to accommodate his preferences, they’ll need to clear another massive hurdle: the seven-year, $250 million contract he’s said to be seeking. Both clubs will need to get creative to make such a deal work. The Diamondbacks are rumored to be shopping right-hander Zack Greinke in an attempt to free up some room on their payroll for Martinez, while the Giants appear more inclined to scour the trade market for outfield help than shell out cash for another hefty contract in free agency.