Mariano Rivera is bringing a fantastic career to a close by bringing saves, strikeouts and pizzas to the masses.
The Wall Street Journal (via The Associated Press) reports that the star Yankees closer posed as a pizza deliveryman amid a farewell tour that is just as much about goodwill as it is about goodbyes.
The report states Rivera's recent stop at O.co Coliseum featured a hot pizza pie and a shocked Julie Vasconcellos, an employee who has worked for the Athletics for 25 years.
Per the Wall Street Journal report, Rivera's pizza delivery stunt is a byproduct of his outside-the-box thinking on how to show his thanks to employees who have meant so much to fans and colleagues. Because even the opposition deserve thanks, and Rivera is a classy man who understands that:
Oh, I love it, yes. I'm enjoying every minute. They all have their own personality. I decided before spring training that I wanted to do something different and make sure I said thanks to the fans — not just the regular fans, but also those behind the scenes, like Julie, who has been here (more than) 20 years. That's wonderful.
Rivera gave the employee a signed ball and posed for photos, offering, "This is my way to say thank you, thank you for what you do...Twenty-five years, Julie, that's great! You're special, Julie, that's what it is. People here love you."
For her part, Vasconcellos was extremely grateful for the small gesture of a hot pizza and a warm embrace from a closer who is having another strong season 19 years into his major league career:
Oh, my heart's going to town, oh my God. I'm shaking. ... Oh, this is too funny, thank you.
Whew, this is really something. In grammar school, we could only get the Yankees on our PA system. I grew up here, but there was no Oakland team yet.
Vasconcellos then stated that she hopes to retire soon, leaving in much the same way Rivera will: amid applause and well wishes from colleagues who appreciate their hard work and the enduring impression they leave.
Rivera is a remarkable pitcher who is having another great season. With one pizza, we're reminded at how much of a class act he truly is and how much we will miss him when he is gone.
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