Rivera came into the game with one out in the eighth inning to help get the Yankees out of a jam with runners on first and second. It's a situation he had been in many times before, and he was happy to help out one more time.
The Rays were already up on the Yankees 4-0, but that didn't matter. It was about Rivera getting the Yankees out of one final jam in Yankee Stadium in front of New York fans.
Now that was AWEsome watching the Greatest reliever EVER, Mariano Rivera, enter with a jam in the 8th and diffuse the situation. #1stBallot— Reggie Miller (@ReggieMillerTNT) September 27, 2013
Rivera got a fly out and a ground out to end the inning, and he walked off to an ovation like none other.
Inning over. Not a soul at Yankee Stadium is sitting as Mariano Rivera walks off the mound in the 8th. #Icon— New York Yankees (@Yankees) September 27, 2013
Like multiple media outlets, fans took to Twitter to express their sentiments about the moment:
Even as a Red Sox fan, it's so disappointing to lose such a great legend like Mariano Rivera— Ian Speck (@IanSpeck9) September 27, 2013
I don't know what Yankees baseball is without Mariano Rivera. I've been growing up watching him play my whole life.— Justin Anderson (@j_anderson9) September 27, 2013
But those tweets came during the bottom of the eighth. Nobody could have expected Rivera to come out again. But that's exactly what he did in the ninth, giving the fans one more glimpse. This was the best managerial move by Joe Girardi all season.
Then, after getting two outs, another great moment happened:
Derek Jeter and Andy Pettitte came out of the dugout to get Rivera out of the game with two outs. It was a moment that brought tears to Rivera's eyes and provided the "feel-good" moment of the year.
It's that realization, especially for Yankees fans, that the end of an era is near. With Pettitte retiring after this year as well, that leaves Jeter as the last remaining member of the "Core Four."
Tears of joy from Mariano Rivera as Andy Pettitte & Derek Jeter meet him on the mound after his final pitch at Yankee Stadium. #ExitSandman— YES Network (@YESNetwork) September 27, 2013
This is a moment that will live in the memories of many baseball fans forever. Rivera goes down as the greatest relief pitcher in history. And I'm not sure anyone will ever take that title from him.