It's been a trying season for the New York Yankees, as they have dealt with injuries and various distractions all season and will miss the playoffs for just the second time since 1994.
However, the real story of the year has been the farewell tour for legendary closer Mariano Rivera, who announced during spring training that he would retire at the end of the season.
Teams league-wide have honored him with gifts and tributes in his final go-around to the majority of all 30 major league stadiums. The Yankees even went all out to pay tribute to their all-world closer on September 22, complete with Metallica playing "Enter Sandman" live and the team retiring his number in Monument Park.
The festivities surrounding Rivera may not be over, though. The Yankees' home finale will take place on Thursday night against the Rays, followed by a series in Houston to close out the year. According to a video on ESPN from Buster Olney, there has been talk that Rivera could play the outfield at some point.
"Rivera, when he played under Joe Torre in the past, would always ask Torre for the opportunity to play the outfield. Especially in his heyday, in the late '90s, he was regarded by advanced scouts who watched him shag in the outfield as the best center fielder in the American League," said Olney in the video.
In addition, Yankees manager Joe Girardi hinted that it could be a distinct possibility, but not at Yankee Stadium (h/t to Wallace Matthews of ESPN New York):
Girardi said he was "absolutely" entertaining the idea of using Mo in CF, but not tonight: "these games are meaningful to Tampa"— wallace matthews (@ESPNNYYankees) September 26, 2013
The case of Astros second baseman Craig Biggio catching for the first time in 16 years in his second-to-last game before retiring jumps to mind as a somewhat comparable situation, at least as far as a retiring player getting to play out of position.
Should the Yankees let Mariano Rivera play the outfield before he retires?
However, this would be a far more drastic move, considering Rivera has never done anything but pitch throughout the course of his 24-year professional career.
That said, it's been a long and disappointing season for the Yankees. Since they are officially out of the hunt for a playoff spot, what would it really hurt to give Rivera a chance to live out a dream?
The fans would love it, Rivera would love it and it's precisely the sort of thing that makes baseball great. You can spend years watching the game and think you've seen everything, and then all of a sudden, the greatest closer in the history of baseball is playing in the outfield.
Make it happen, Yankees.