Bottom of the ninth.
Yankees up by one run.
Mariano Rivera versus Paul Konerko.
Soak it in now, because time is winding down when you get to say those words.
Mariano Rivera has already announced his retirement, much to the displeasure of manager Joe Girardi. Girardi recently stated his desire for Rivera to return for one more season, though the star closer reassured fans that this would be his last year.
2013 has been a season of farewells for Mariano Rivera, who has taken all season to show his gratitude toward the fans and media that have made his career and legacy so meaningful. Many revere the 42-year old Panamanian as the best closer of all time, including Joe Torre and Bob Gibson.
With the departure of Mariano comes also the retirement of jersey No. 42. The iconic number was worn by Brooklyn Dodgers legend Jackie Robinson and was retired by all major league teams in 1997. Those players who were already wearing the number were allowed to keep it. Of those players, only Mariano Rivera remains in baseball.
Meanwhile, Konerko has already stated that he is entirely unsure about his future and will make a decision when the time comes.
Regardless of the futures of the two stars, the matchup of two respectable, classy players is quickly becoming a rare occurrence in Major League Baseball. In a time when the baseball world should be showing its gratitude toward the last player to wear No. 42, we instead turn our attention to the scandal and disgrace surrounding unlucky No. 13.
In an interview on Wednesday, Konerko, the White Sox's six-time All Star, told the media that he has no idea if he will return in 2014, but has a desire to. Konerko has had back injuries throughout his career, including a stint on the 15-day disabled list in 2013.
Wednesday's game was also the final matchup between the White Sox and Yankees in 2013, marking it the final time that Konerko and Rivera would face off.
Though there was no extraordinary fanfare surrounding the final at-bat of Wednesday's game, those who knew the game understood that it was the beginning of the end of an era.
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